Mindfulness for PTSD is an ideal tool when it comes to coping with post-traumatic stress. This tactic has been used for ages to treat mental and physical health issues. Mental health professionals have realized that mindfulness has numerous benefits for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety.
People who have PTSD often feel like they have a challenging time distancing themselves from unpleasant memories and thoughts. As a result, most of them are preoccupied and distracted by these thoughts that they find it hard to focus on what matters the most in their lives.
Practicing mindfulness for PTSD will help you get back in touch with the incredible present moment. In turn, that reduces the extent to which you feel controlled by negative thoughts.
1. Creating a Safe Space
Having survived a trauma, you might need your safe sanctuary where you can practice mindfulness for PTSD. This provides some sense of safety, making the practice feel natural. You can look for a room that makes you feel at ease.
You can dim or turn off the lights to shift your focus from external stimuli. Focus on noticing the room’s environment: having some soft neutral music play in the background will help ease the tension.
Notice the feelings that you get from that environment. It is vital to create a space that feels safe so that when the trauma is triggered during the mindful practice, you can bring yourself back to the present moment.
2. Trauma-Informed Mindful Meditation
The sole objective of mindfulness for PTSD meditation technique is to calm your mind and body by focusing on your breath and clearing unwanted thoughts. However, one of the common symptoms of post-traumatic stress is hyperarousal, which causes shallow breathing.
When someone struggles to breathe deeply during meditation due to hyperarousal, it can feel like a failure but don’t quit. In other instances, shutting out external stimuli to maintain an internal focus can make one feel unsafe. Fortunately, there are useful methods to reduce the pitfalls and make mindful meditation accessible. Below are some of the things that you should remember:
- Move at your own pace – mindfulness is not a race
- It is okay to take breaks when needed.
- It is okay to quit if it feels uncomfortable for you.
During mindfulness for PTSD meditation, it is normal to experience body sensations. You can take note of the sensations but don’t feel the need to change them or focus on them. If you have a challenging time meditating by yourself, you should feel free to explore guided meditation. Some people use natural products known to calm the body and mind to enhance their meditation. If you are a vapor, for instance, you can look for CBD vape juice that works.
3. Art is Another Vehicle for Practicing Mindfulness for PTSD
Art therapy is one effective form of treatment when it comes to addressing PTSD. When done under a professional counselor’s supervision, it’s known to manage post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and other emotional challenges.
Art allows one to express him/herself creatively. Subsequently, this will help lessen depression, stress, blood pressure and install a sense of purpose and meaning. Thus, art creation goes beyond distracting oneself from negative thoughts to a myriad of tangible benefits.
4. Processing The Trauma With Mindfulness
We might have discussed this lightly, but it’s definitely worth a second mention. Trauma is best addressed with the guidance of a professional mental health counselor. While the mindfulness for PTSD practices we have discussed are helpful with addressing the underlying issues of the trauma, they can’t replace professional help entirely.
Research states that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective approach to treating PTSD. This is because this formal therapy integrates the mindfulness element. There are numerous forms of mindfulness-based treatments, CBT is one of them. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are other effective formal mindfulness-based therapies that can help treat PTSD. However, these treatment programs require the help of trained therapists.
5. Being in Tune with The Present Moment
Mindfulness for PTSD practices entails being in tune with the generous present moment. The idea is to detach from your past thoughts (rumination) or those of your future (worry and anxiety). To master this skill, you will need to actively participate in your everyday experiences instead of being stuck in auto-pilot or just going through the motions. That way, you will block thoughts that trigger your traumas, resulting in a calm, relaxed self.
6. Embracing the Beginner’s Mind
Part of mindfulness for PTSD is opening up to new possibilities. This means observing things as they truly are. Most people are stuck in their perception of how things are supposed to be. Did you know that walking into a situation with a preconceived notion of how the experience will color your experience?
Failed expectations can often trigger old traumas or create new ones. To avoid these pitfalls, it is recommended that you embrace the beginner’s mind, which is open to new possibilities.
Whether guided or not, mindfulness therapy is a great way to deal with post-traumatic stress disorders. If you or your loved one is a trauma survivor, embracing some of the mindfulness for PTSD tips will help ease anxiety and depression.