The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be far-reaching and debilitating. The symptoms of PTSD can have a detrimental impact on your mental health, physical health, work, and relationships. You may feel isolated, have trouble maintaining a job, be unable to trust other people, and have difficulty controlling or expressing their emotions. Even though you may feel as if you have fallen into a dark hole of depression, anger, and frustrations.
“’ People with PTSD are six times as likely as someone without PTSD to attempt suicide. High rates of deliberate self-harm have also been found among people with PTSD.”Matthew Tull, PHD;Coping With PTSD; VeryWellMind.com;2019
By Learning healthy strategies for coping with PTSD is possible and can offer a sense of renewal, hope and control over your life.
We will be going over 5 individual coping skills that follow under emotional and physical and social coping skills.
Emotional and Physical Coping Strategies
1. Practice Mindfulness
Just beginning with one or two minutes per day of quiet mindfulness can feel like a victory. The goal of that time is to stay focused on the present without any threat of fear or judgment. Gradually add more time as you go, offering yourself moments to experience a sense of calm and learn how to balance yourself if you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Research has shown that physical exercise can help our brains better cope with stress.4
In fact, psychologists suggest that just a 10-minute walk per day can offer benefit to our mood and help to relieve anxiety and depression. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get started.Matthew Tull, PHD;Coping With PTSD; VeryWellMind.com;2019
- Find an activity you enjoy
- Set small goals
- Be consistent
- Listen to music or podcasts while you exercise
- Ask a friend to join you
- Be patient with yourself
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Make sure to dress for the weather
3. Participate in Counseling
Having a trained person available to offer support and guidance in your recovery is a key element to long-term success. Find someone you feel comfortable with, that you find trustworthy and knowledgeable, and be consistent in attending your sessions.
Social Coping Strategies
4. Spending Time With Others
Spending time with supportive friends and family can make a significant difference in your mood and outlook.
It can be helpful for all parties—both you and your loved ones—to have time to spend together. Some ways to spend time with others can include things like:
- Going for a walk
- Have morning coffee
- Play a card game
- Talk on the phone
- Share funny stories
If you don’t feel ready to talk yet, you can also sit quietly in the same room to read a book or the newspaper. Simply sharing the same space quietly can feel comforting.
5. Educate Yourself and Others
Educating yourself on the symptoms and treatment, it is important to seek out safe people to connect with who can support you in your recovery journey. By learning about the condition, you can have the words to more clearly explain to others what is happening for you and ask for what you need.