Self-help tips for mitigating mid-range PTSD disorder
Living with PTSD may involve a constant state of hyperarousal, feeling edgy and anxious, and being irritable without knowing why. Flashbacks, panic attacks, and/or trouble sleeping may also be involved, resulting in feeling overwhelmed. But PTSD can respond very well to treatment and you can try to manage your condition by trying some of the self-help techniques outlined below:
Exercise: Exercise can benefit PTSD. When exercising, the body releases endorphins that create a sense of well-being.
Distracting yourself: Distraction doesn’t necessarily mean you’re avoiding a problem. Rather, distraction techniques can be a powerful tool for living with PTSD. Anything enjoyable that keeps your mind occupied, from reading to cooking, to playing games, can be beneficial.
Deep breathing: Many people are shallow breathers — it’s part of the human fight, flight, or freeze response, which may be elevated in PTSD. Deep breathing can help reduce your levels of the stress, which in turn reduces anxiety and tension. The 4-7-8 method involves breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds, and then breathing out through your mouth for 8 seconds – repeat multiple times.
Build a support system: PTSD can involve social withdrawal so it follows that social support can decrease symptom severity. A support system doesn’t have to be large, even one or two people you can trust may be all it needs. It could include your partner, family members, friends, or anyone else you trust. There are also many online support groups that can include people who may relate to some of what you’re experiencing. Sharing your story with people who understand what you’re going through, and hearing how they deal with it, can make all the difference.
Live in the Present: Those with PTSD may feel torn between the present and the past. Traumatic memories can interrupt the present and using some sort of “go-to” can help keep you in the present. It could be a small physical object you carry with you that you touch when intrusive memories start to show up. It could also be a thought or phrase you repeat in your head or out loud. For example:
1. describing your environment;
2. thinking of an object for each alphabet letter; or
3. looking at objects of a single color
Consider a service animal: Animals can help reduce anxiety and research suggests that a dedicated service animal may lessen distress and helping ease everyday life. This decision should not be taken litely as adopting an animal carries a big commitment. If you go this route you should consider an animal specifically trained to help with PTSD.