Mindfulness for PTSD: The First Steps to Finding Peace
With the proper guidance, practicing mindfulness can help relieve symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
Your body knows what it needs before you do; it tells you when you are hungry or tired when you need to use the bathroom, hot or cold when you are in love, and scared or happy.
Anxiety is the result of your body telling you there is too much going on. It happens to everyone, and a little bit can help us live healthy lifestyles, but it can become a problem if the feeling never turns off. Practicing mindfulness can help you know why you are feeling this way, how you got to where you are, and how to proceed to get better.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder that results after a traumatic event or series of events. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it affects nearly 7.7 million Americans.
Potential symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Obsessive thoughts
- Avoidance of triggers such as people, places, or events
- Loss of interest in hobbies and passions
- Lost memory
- Severe anxiety
These symptoms can develop immediately or years later.
The first steps to finding peace
Reducing the symptoms of PTSD starts with mindfulness. In this guide, you will find the resources needed to get started in your journey to finding peace. This guide is not a treatment plan; it is simply a collection of practices that can help you on your way to recovery.
Explore your breath and get out of your head
Mindfulness and meditation go hand-in-hand when relieving anxiety symptoms. It connects you with your anxiety and enables you to respond with a calm head and heart. Studies have shown that just 15 minutes of meditation a day can have long-term benefits on emotional health, brain health, and physical health. There are several kinds of meditation, so explore your options to find the one that’s right for you.
In an interview with Erik Leslie, CEO and Lead Trainer of SatiMind, he provided insight into how meditation can be a tool to cope with symptoms of PTSD, like an abundance of stress and anxiety.
Numerous studies suggest meditation can reduce symptoms of PTSDS, but particularly in war vets. These studies provide information that meditation reduces stress hormones by calming the body’s “fight or flight” response, which occurs in the sympathetic nervous system.
It’s not as easy as it may sound, or for most, mediation after a traumatic event doesn’t come easy. He explained that some people attempt meditation but will find out that the quiet of their mind will craft an invitation for flashbacks from their trauma. It’s essential to find a guide, counselor, or therapist that understands both trama and meditations.
SatiMind offers meditation tools to help you cope with stress, reduce anxiety, and prevent burnout. They offer access to coaching, training, and group courses to discover your meditation style and reduce tension in your day-to-day life. They work to reduce the frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms, like flashbacks and panic attacks. With the hope that meditation can be a sound, calming practice, many of their patience allows them to start the much-needed healing process.
Here are a few things I learned from Erik about meditation:
Practice Meditation Where You Feel Safe
Where do you feel safe? Where can you open your heart and mind without interruption or hesitation? Find this place. It’s important to feel comfortable, settled when you meditate. You should avoid meditating in areas where triggers may occur. For many, meditating at home in their living room is a good place.
Be Mindful Elsewhere
You don’t always have to practice meditation to become mindful. It’s possible to reap the benefits while avoiding the difficulties that come hand-in-hand with meditation and trauma. Distractions work great! Consider taking up a hobby to keep your mind and body distracted – wash dishes, go for a walk or cut the grass. It’s not so much what you are doing but how you shift thoughts to the activity at hand. When you’re thinking about the chore, you’re not trying to meditate, but it happens to occur anyways.
Be kind to yourself when you are feeling anxious.
The way you treat yourself when suffering from the symptoms of PTSD can have a significant impact on how those symptoms evolve. The next time you are feeling anxious, remember that your feelings are valid.
Here are Five Ways To Focus On Self-Love and treat yourself with kindness in your everyday life.
Your experience with PTSD is unique to you. Everyone is different, yet you may be surprised at all you have in common. Your wellbeing is worth the effort to start practicing mindfulness today.
This tool does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you read on our site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Thank you, Erik, for allowing me to interview you. You’ve opened our minds to researching more about mindfulness. We hope that you continue on your journey to helping others!
There are local, state, and national resources available for survivors of PTSD. If you think you experience these symptoms, you must reach out to someone for help.
Luckily, Williamson County offers many resources for those who need it most, especially when suffering from PTSD. They can help you seek treatment and take the necessary steps to a healthier, happier life one day at a time. They can also recommend peer support and community programs.
Heroes Night Out
1150 S. Bell Blvd, Cedar Park
Heroes Night Out offers services for veterans living with PTSD. At their resource center, you can find counseling, support groups, and home loan specialist consultations. Veterans searching for employment can find aid from the Texas Workforce Commission once a week at Heroes to Hire Wednesdays.
Rock Springs Hospital
700 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
People of all ages living with mental illnesses or addictions can find aid at Rock Springs Hospital. Therapy is offered for military people in the Resilient Warrior program, which is accessible 24/7.
Texas Vet. Org
Texas Vet. Org offers a collection of resources for all Texas veterans. Find aid through peer support, counseling, caregivers, support animals, and help to transition out of military life.
Austin Dog Alliance
1321 W. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park
Veterans living with PTSD can find psychiatric service dogs through the Hounds for Heroes program. If you can’t adopt, consider Volunteering at the Pet Adoption Center.
If you are living with PTSD, there is always help. Reach out to an organization or trusted friend or family, and start recovery today. Remember, life is meant to be enjoyed.