Post-traumatic stress disorder is hard for anyone who suffers a traumatic, shocking event; it can develop into a condition to live with for years. Some symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks. These symptoms can affect your life, more so if you do not learn proactive, effective coping strategies. Seek the guidance of a professional counsellor to develop healthy ways of living with the trauma.
Some coping strategies for PTSD:
- Learn about the condition – Find as much authoritative information as you can. Learning about PTSD symptoms prepares you for possible effects and can help you avoid triggers. Monitor your symptoms; by understanding when you have negative thoughts or reactions, you can identify ways to handle them in the future. A trained PTSD counsellor can assist you with this.
- Relaxation methods – Effective relaxation techniques can relieve the physical and emotional effects of PTSD. There are different methods available (e.g. breathing exercises, meditation, listening to music, yoga) to help you stay in control. Find out what works for you; ask a professional for recommendations.
- Physical activity – Taking care of your health is an essential part of staying relaxed and in control. Participating in a sport you enjoy can be a positive activity that relieves stress. Sports may give you a redirected focus and a concrete goal toward which you can strive. Remember to get plenty of sleep and eat healthfully to prevent PTSD’s physical side effects.
- Communicate – PTSD might make you feel disconnected and detached from others. Communicate with and build relationships with those you trust; having people you can count on helps. Join a support group, if possible; hearing from others with similar experiences can validate your own feelings and provide comfort. Fellow sufferers can also share how they handle their trauma.
- Distract yourself – Find positive, distracting healthy activities to help you return to a regular routine. Read, write, watch a movie, paint: find a hobby that expresses your feelings in a healthy way. Art therapy, for example, is an effective method of externalizing feelings.
Coping mechanisms, counselling, and therapy can help you deal with the aftermath of a traumatic event. Speaking with a professional is a first step toward healing. Many therapists specialize in treating patients with PTSD; speak with one and learn how to manage your symptoms.
At York Region Psychological Services, we offer assessment and treatment options for psychological disorders that limit patients’ quality of life. Qualified counsellors can help you develop strategies to handle problems and regain control over your life. Contact us (416) 602-3230 to make an appointment; we want to help you get back on track.