Health & Fitness
Self-Care Steps for Individuals Living with PTSD
PTSD affects the individual’s ability to cope in a healthy way to manage daily life. Thus, it is beneficial to prioritize self-care to enhance their health and functioning.
The self-care steps that are proven effective in managing the symptoms and becoming proactive are:
- Deep Breathing: The hallucinations and flashbacks related to the traumatic event can cause an increase in heartbeats. The person must gain control of the physiological response to the fear associated with the traumatic experience. Thus, deep breathing is essential to manage anxiety and stress. Inhale and exhale through the nose for thirty seconds unless the patient is able to deal with the present situation.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness refers to being actively aware of the present. Flashbacks and memories linked to the traumatic event can cause detachment from the present situation. Thus, people must focus on the present and use positive affirmations to cope with anxiety. Positive affirmations ensure the individual that the experience is in the past and cannot affect the present.
- Prioritize Peace: Everyone has a different way of responding to trauma. The person should take time to process their feelings and then talk to a friend or family member. It is important to comfort yourself by understanding the situation and ways to effectively deal with them.
- Grounding Techniques: Practicing grounding techniques enables the individual to remain conscious of the present. The person knowingly and consciously focuses on the present. For example, as soon as the individual has flashbacks, they should divert their attention and focus on the colors of the room.
- Understand the Triggers: The flashbacks and memories of the traumatic events are associated with something in the present situation. The colors, smell, voices, or dates can trigger flashbacks. Hence, individuals should identify the triggers. It is better to avoid the triggers; however, if they are in a situation in which they fail/struggle to deal with the situation, it is better to try a relaxation technique. It helps reduce the severity and manage the physiological response to the stress-inducing stimulus.
- Talk to a Friend: Empathetic people help in healing. Individuals should talk to a close friend or family member that makes them feel comfortable and safe. Acknowledgment helps the person cope with their symptoms better.
- Join Support Groups: People who feel uncomfortable sharing their experiences and feelings with friends and family members should opt to join support groups. People with similar experiences can help the person open up and talk about their mental state.
- Take Steps to Avoid Alcohol Dependence: Alcohol helps the individual deal with PTSD symptoms. However, it can affect physical and mental health. The individual should make a conscious effort to avoid alcohol.
- Engage in Physical Activities: Engaging in physical activities, such as walking, yoga, and Zumba, allows the person to reduce stress. It releases happy hormones and reduces anxiety. Also, it helps divert attention from past experiences causing discomfort.
- Seek Professional Help: Individuals who struggle to deal with the symptom should consult a competent specialist for guidance regarding effective treatment for PTSD.