If you experience post-traumatic stress disorder, you are not alone. Thousands suffer from the impacts of this mental condition. A key component to managing PTSD comes down to understanding personal triggers. Both internal and external factors can play a role, including certain smells, noises, visual images, and even the weather. PTSD reactions can be difficult to experience, but there are ways to respond that can make the situation less traumatic.
Take Deep Breaths
When figuring out how to deal with PTSD triggers, one top recommendation is to take deep breaths. The best part is that you can do deep breathing anywhere, and it costs nothing. Follow a consistent rhythm. For example, inhale for four counts, hold for two and exhale for six to eight counts. This helps your nervous system calm itself and returns your mind to the present moment.
Validate Your Emotions and Experience
Emotions have a lot to do with your experience. What you feel is real for you. Feeling things does not mean anything is wrong with you. When dealing with PTSD, it can be common for others to invalidate your experience, but do not allow this to happen. One of the best ways you can do this is by reminding yourself that what you are going through is your truth and that you are doing the best you can.
Write It Out
Another healthy avenue for dealing with PTSD is through expressive writing techniques. By regularly journaling about your life experiences, you process feelings, thoughts, emotions and memories in another way that allows you to step back and self-reflect. It also helps you “talk things out” in a way that remains safe and private.
Focus On Your Five Senses (5-4-3-2-1)
When PTSD causes anxiety, you can calm yourself by counting down and focusing on your five senses. For example, start with five things you see, four things you hear, three things you feel with your skin, two things you taste and one thing you smell. Then, take a moment to pay close attention to each of these things and find something to appreciate about them. It will bring you into the present moment before you know it.
If you tend to experience a lot of negative thoughts throughout the day, it can bring you down. According to health researchers, effortful positive thinking can have numerous benefits. Instead of dwelling on what is not going right at the present moment, try to turn your thinking around to express gratitude about things that are going well. Doing so can relieve stress and improve coping abilities.
Find Ways To Laugh
How much time do you spend laughing? According to recent research laughter really is medicine in terms of the therapeutic effects it can have on a person's spirit and mind. Not only can laughter reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also support your immune system. In turn, these factors can entirely rewire your brain for a better quality of life and overall health condition. Be sure to find ways to laugh more whenever you can.
Dealing with PTSD is not easy, but there are ways to manage the condition so that it does not take over your life. Knowing about tips such as these can help you the next time that you experience a trigger.