1. Taking the medications as prescribed.
Take the medications as prescribed because it allows you to dip your toes back into the pool of life, and it helps to lift the fog that had been hanging over you. You can start by looking for a different, more sustainable path to healing. Medication provided a bridge and helped me begin to feel better, but in order to fully overcome PTSD, you need to take an integrative approach that addresses your mind, body, and spirit. When we care for all parts of ourselves, our healing can be holistic and transformative. So by detoxifying the mind and body through meditation, yoga, and nutrition, you're able to find a long-term solution to deal with trauma.
2. Calming the mind with meditation.
Meditation aids to prioritize oneself, and a consistent meditation practice can have life-changing effects that alter the way we react to unavoidable negative events. Instead of panicking and retreating, you can go to a place of calm, acceptance, and gratitude that allows you to make healthy decisions and deal with obstacles—instead of freaking out. Meditation helps to cleanse ones mind of fear, self-bashing thoughts, and dread.
include as many more natural, whole foods in your meals as you can. You’ll soon notice a difference in the way you feel and that will motivate you to make more and more healthy changes in the way you eat and live.
3. Phasing out processed and inflammatory foods.
Nutrition is a key component in any healing regimen, but it’s especially important when we’re trying to help our bodies deal with stress and trauma. Make incremental changes, including less-processed foods, fewer toxins, and no hormones (check all labels in the grocery store). I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet that boosts immunity, because reducing inflammation in the body actually helps to reduce stress on your brain. If a radical change in your diet seems like too much right now, start small by cutting back on foods that don’t support healing, and include as many more natural, whole foods in your meals as you can. You’ll soon notice a difference in the way you feel and that will motivate you to make more and more healthy changes in the way you eat and live.
4. Moving the body in whatever way felt good.
Eating well and meditating regularly can make a huge difference, but our bodies also crave exercise. We were designed to move, and when we don’t, we can’t fully heal. Any kind of exercise helps; do what you most love, whether it’s swimming, working out at the gym, or simply walking in your neighborhood, but incorporate yoga into your weekly routine as well.
5. Starting a yoga practice, no matter level of your flexibility.
Many people think they can’t do yoga because they aren’t flexible, or they feel like it’s too complicated, and they feel self-conscious, but the magic of yoga is in its adaptability. You get to make your yoga practice suit you. There are no prerequisites to yoga. Anyone can do it. Start small, do exactly what you can each day and no more than that. Yoga is more than just exercise. It’s a moving meditation that was designed thousands of years ago to both heal the body, and to retrain the brain, putting your mind, body, and spirit back into balance. The benefits of a consistent yoga practice to all areas of life are numerous and dramatic.
6. Making time for quiet.
One of the most important things you can do when you have PTSD is disconnect from stimulation. Make quiet time for yourself a major priority, even if it’s just five minutes a day at first.
7. Focusing on breathwork.
When you’re on fire, they say to stop, drop, and roll, but with PTSD and anxiety disorders, it’s like your brain is on fire, so you have to stop, drop, and breathe! Our breath is a built-in stress reliever. Take long, slow breaths to bring yourself out of fight-or-flight mode and bring your nervous system back into balance.
8. Developing a gratitude practice.
In a journal, write five specific things that you are grateful for today. What did you see, smell, hear, experience? Work on creating a gratitude mindset. Appreciation for the many blessings in your life will give you a sense of peace.
9. Helping others to cultivate a sense of purpose.
Helping others is a proven way to feel better, and there are so many ways to help. You can donate time, money, or skills. Volunteer for an event or a charity that means something to you and gives you a sense of purpose. You could start an enjoyable part-time job, give tours at a museum, or even adopt a rescue pet. Maybe gardening or beach cleanups make you feel good, or it could be something as simple as bringing a meal to a sick friend or cleaning house for a new mom. Any way that you can help anyone (or anything) will do wonders for your overall well-being.
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