This is a guest blog by Jane Moore, a writer and someone who suffers depression. Her passion for writing led her to want to blog her ideas on how to help Veterans who are struggling with PTSD.
While there are many ways a person can work to improve their Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms, you should keep in mind that these are not meant to replace professional treatment. Beneficial habits and activities are great ways to help cope and supplement your ongoing treatment but not to replace it altogether. Be sure your counselor knows about any at-home treatment options you will be testing. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can help improve the symptoms of PTS at home.
Meditation Can Help
Studies have shown that regular meditation is one of the best ways to help regulate negative thoughts. It is particularly helpful for anxiety and depression. With the risk of social isolation in people with PTS, meditation classes can be a great way to tackle two issues at once. Teaching yourself to take deep breaths and retreat into the meditative mindset is a very positive way to handle flashbacks and nightmares associated with PTS.
Exercise Has Benefits
Studies that have been conducted on the relationship between PTS and exercise have shown that exercise decreases many negative symptoms of PTS. People with PTS who exercised regularly showed decreased anxiety as well as improved mood. Exercise also tends to get people out of the house, helping avoid social isolation as well as keeping the body physically healthy.
Yoga is an Ideal Medium Between Exercise and Meditation
With meditation and exercise being so beneficial for PTS sufferers, yoga is the natural activity you should gravitate toward. Yoga is a low impact, inclusive form of exercise that also utilizes meditative thought. It can also be performed at home or in a classroom setting, depending on the preference of the person.
Learning a New Hobby or Skill Focuses the Mind
Learning how to do or make something new is one of the best ways to redirect the mind. When negative thoughts begin to take over, picking up a crochet hook or a video game controller can be a great way to halt them. Hobbies can also become a positive coping mechanism for episodes of panic or depression.
Adopting a Dog Can Change Your Life
Dogs may represent a significant financial responsibility, but their benefits make it all worth it. Dogs provide affection and enthusiasm, helping to alleviate depression. They also encourage exercise by playing and begging for a walk around the block. Walking your dog will get you out of the house and may help strike up conversations which will help prevent social isolation. So, if you are in a stable enough situation to do so, take a trip to a local shelter and give a loving dog a new lease on life. If you’re not convinced, take a look at this Rover article on how dogs can help with anxiety and depression.
Living with PTS is a readjustment. You must relearn how to interact with the world and figure out what does and does not help you cope. A counselor is a hugely beneficial person to have during this process, but a counselor cannot be there for you at all hours of the day. For times where you must manage on your own, it is best to know a few ways to feel better and cope in a positive way.
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