Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Tips for Coping With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you’ve been through a traumatic experience, a normal side-effect of this is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 


PTSD is often associated with war veterans, which is a common occurrence, but it can affect anyone who experiences something awful. An excellent illustration of this is the fact that more than 39% of car accident victims develop PTSD


Being in an accident can cause a driver to avoid or fear driving. Should they get behind the wheel, it will impact their judgment and can lead to hesitation.  


This speaks to just a small portion of how frustrating it can be to deal with PTSD. Fortunately, many effective strategies can improve your quality of life and help you cope with the symptoms of PTSD. 


We’ll take a look at a few excellent techniques for managing PTSD below. 

Regain Purpose 

A great starting point is to regain purpose in your life.  


After experiencing a traumatic event, you may lose your sense of reality. Before the incident, you may have had things you were working toward and an idea of who you wanted to be. 


A highly traumatic event that causes PTSD can dramatically shift this. It will rock your world and make you question everything else in life. You may have no desire or interest in working toward your previous aspirations. 


PTSD can take away your purpose in life. This is extremely challenging because a purpose gives you a reason to wake up and something to make progress on and feel accomplishment from.  


That said, you can find a new purpose. It can be the same purpose as before, but it may be easier to focus on something new with no ill feelings attached to it.  


Consider helping out others, creating artwork, pursuing a hobby, or trying something new. If you feel more excited about life, you’ll have something positive to focus on and this can greatly reduce the symptoms of PTSD. 

Practice Mindfulness 

Next, you should practice mindfulness to better understand yourself 


Mindfulness entails being aware and understanding what is happening without making judgments. The key focus of mindfulness is the present moment. 


This is helpful for those with PTSD because PTSD involves trauma from the past. When you’re experiencing a flashback or suffering from anxiety, it’s usually because of previous trauma. Something in the present moment may trigger you, but it isn’t the root cause of your feelings. 


Mindfulness can help redirect your attention to this fact. When you tune into what’s going on in the moment without attaching judgments or emotions, you can better process the situation. 


With a clarified understanding of what’s going on, you can realize that you aren’t in danger and calm yourself down.  


Practicing mindfulness entails shutting off your thoughts and simply focusing on observation. Start with slowing your breathing and looking at your surroundings. Force thoughts out of your head and just be present in the moment.  

Prioritize Physical Wellbeing 

Another vital tip is to prioritize your physical wellbeing.  


While PTSD is primarily a mental struggle, your physical condition can make a difference. As your mind and body are interconnected, the health of one impacts the other. 


When your body is in good shape, it provides a solid foundation to put your mind in high spirits. Neglecting your physical health only further worsens your mental state and makes it harder to take action, although it can be very difficult to act. 


Despite this, you must give your best effort to be as healthy as possible. This primarily entails eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding intoxicating substances, and regular exercise. 


A good diet is essential for providing your body with energy and nutrients. Sleep does the same while also healing wounds. Exercise promotes good blood flow, meaning that your body gets better access to oxygen and nutrients.  


Intoxicating substances are particularly important to avoid for PTSD victims because they are often used as a coping mechanism. While they can distract you from the pain, they cause more harm than good and do not fix the situation. 


Better distractions include engaging and stimulating activities like video games, movies, playing sports, and artwork. 


Putting this all together, your physical health impacts your ability to mentally preserve through the symptoms of PTSD. Improving your physical health will make your days easier. 

Seek Support 

A final suggestion is to seek the support of others.  


One of the most complicated problems with PTSD victims is their tendency to isolate. Often, it is not because you want to be alone, but rather that you fear how others will react or how you will behave toward others. 


Facing the struggles of PTSD paired with being alone can be too much for anyone. Your challenges are a lot to manage, but you do not need to do it alone.  


You’re much better off with a dependable support group around you. The right people will be understanding and sympathetic to your suffering. This reminds you that there is good in the world and people genuinely care about you. 


Look to close friends, family members, and other PTSD victims. The more connected you are, the more motivation you’ll have to push through your struggles. 

Closing Thoughts 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complicated condition that affects survivors of trauma. Any type of trauma can cause PTSD and everyone is affected a little differently. 


While PTSD is not the same for everyone, a few coping mechanisms can help anyone that is suffering from it. This includes regaining purpose in your life, practicing mindfulness, prioritizing your physical wellbeing, and seeking the support of others. 


As defeating as PTSD may feel, you can get through it. Use the resources around you and remember that you can do whatever you send your mind to. 

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

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