How to Overcome PTSD
People with PTSD often experience distressing memories of the event, nightmares related to the event, and intense physiological distress. And to avoid experiencing traumatic symptoms of the event all over again, they tend to avoid the situations that trigger them. This avoidance behavior, though carried out in defense, often adds fuel to the fire and makes the situation worse. Trauma can shatter you emotionally and induce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to overcome the feelings associated with trauma and PTSD.
Physiology of the Fight or Flight Syndrome:When you face a stressful or dangerous situation, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. The body also activates other physiological changes such as increased heart rate and blood flow, dilated pupils, etc. to trigger the fight, flight, or freeze response. This response is activated by your central nervous system when it interprets the situation as threatening. The Amygdala is also activated which results in you forming emotional memories of the threats that you experience. As a result of these physiological responses, your body becomes prepared to either fight the danger or flee to safety. Once the danger passes, your body begins to relax and returns to its normal state. However, when someone experiences PTSD, their body tends to remain in a constant sate of alert. The fight or flight response becomes an almost constant experience. Over time, this begins to take an enormous physical and emotional toll.
Effective Ways to Overcome PTSD:
- Learn to Use Meditation:
At the start, practice meditation for at least 5 minutes a day, then increase the duration with time.
For meditation, sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. As you inhale or exhale, focus on your breath. Notice any thought that arises, then bring your attention back to the breath. This will calm your body and mind.
Mindfulness meditation helps you by keeping you in the present moment. One of the mindfulness practices is the body scan. This technique requires you to focus on each body part and notice the sensation within that body part. As you breathe deeply, notice as the sensation comes and goes. This process will help you learn to be aware of your bodily sensations. Then, when you experience a fast heart rate, sweating, or the heart palpitations that come with anxiety you can be proactive in intervening. Instead of letting the anxiety build, you use your awareness of early body signals to calm your body through deep breathing.
- Shake It Off:
Yoga can get your energy flowing and unblock the areas where your body is carrying the stress. Similarly, exercise can be a great stress reliever and can help you release endorphins in the brain which will enhance your mood. Activities like swimming, jogging, dancing, or rock climbing can also help bring you back into the moment which is a great way of minimizing the worries and anxiety that come with PTSD.
- Use Grounding:
- Coping Through Art:
- Indulge in Self-care:
- Connect Socially:
Social connections can also be made in the form of joining a PTSD support group. Such groups help you overcome self-defeating thoughts or feelings that you are alone. Members of support groups share their experiences and strategies they use to deal with the trauma. Support groups can help you learn new tools and can be an important step in your road to recovery.
- Create A Healthy Routine:
Include healthy foods in your routine. A lack of nutrients can cause anxiety, depression, and other health concerns. Choose unprocessed whole foods with vegetables and fruits. Limit processed foods, carbonated drinks, refined starch, fried food, etc. Avoid alcohol and drugs since these substances can aggravate the symptoms of PTSD.
Make a to-do list each day and try to complete as many tasks as possible. This will give you a structure to follow through the day, keeping you away from playing painful scenarios in your mind. Creating a routine will also help you to be productive. It will enable you to carry on your daily activities.
When to Seek Professional HelpIf you find that your symptoms of PTSD are not improving, seek professional help. The sooner you consult a qualified professional, the better. Because if left unchecked, symptoms of PTSD can get worse.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you are struggling with PTSD, New Dimensions can help. Our Online Intensive Outpatient Programs are available to anyone who resides within the State of Texas, including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Beaumont, Houston, Laredo, and Lubbock. We also have in-person Intensive Outpatient Programs for adults and adolescents in Katy, The Woodlands, and Houston, Texas. To learn more about our programs visit our website at www.nddtreatment.com or call us at 1-800-685-9796.
06 April, 2021