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Mind Over PTSD

    PTSD effects your mind and well-being. Exercising your mind and body are great ways to reduce stress & the effects of PTSD.

    Learning to use mental grounding techniques , Self-Hypnosis, & other practices can eliminate problems like Road Rage & Anger Issues

     In this section we will deal with the mind.

The Health & Exercise Section  of this site will work on your body.

     We will give you some great mental exercises that will help you ratchet down anger & road rage issues as they are happening!

    

Grounding Techniques

    Some techniques are to be used in an emergency when you feel your anger is flaring out of control. Other techniques can be used as you might use Self Hypnosis to train your mind to deal calmly with stressfull situations.

     Grounding Techniques are very effective. Develop ones that work for you from the examples that we give you here. Use them over and over as they work better with repetition. It may take weeks or even months to have them become automatic but achieving this will give you back control of your life..

     You will be surprised at how easy it is to get over things like road rage with just a little practice. You will laugh when you see other people doing the same dumb things that you used to do.

     Road rage is Extremely Dangerous. Learning how to avoid it could save your life and the lives of the people you care about.

              Use the same techniques when you feel stress in your relationships, whether it is at home or at work. Your friends, family & coworkers will notice the difference and will react in positive ways

     Grounding Techniques are easy to learn and easy to do. You don't really need any special training, just a basic understanding of the purpose of grounding and a few ideas on how to kick them into action if you feel anxious or stressed.

    

What is the Purpose of Grounding Techniques?

     The purpose is to get back in touch with yourself in the present moment, to feel safe in your surroundings and calm and in control of your breath and your body.

People dealing with PTSD Issues tend to allow their anger to fly off the handle and lose their focus. That is why grounding techniques are so effective  with PTSD conditions.

 

Grounding while driving:

 Note:This is an example of an emergency situation!

     Find a picture or an object that has meaning to you. A photo of your kids or family that makes you happy works well. Tape it to your dashboard or other place that is easy to see. If someone does something that upsets you while driving take a quick glance at the photo before you start honking and yelling. Thinking of your kids, etc. should ratchet down your anger in a hurry

     Once you start controlling your road rage you will have made an important step toward dealing with one of the negative effects of PTSD. This will carry over to other types of anger issues. Winning the battle against road rage will spill over into other areas of your life.

Remember the more that you do this the easier it becomes

 

     Grounding techniques have gained a reputation among those coping with PTSD and

Panic Attacks as an effective way to get back in control when dealing with Triggers.

     Though they shine in times of intense panic as a practical way to calm down, anyone can use Grounding Techniques to calm down and stop the drip, drip, drip of stress building to an uncomfortable roar.

      Having a family picture or an object like a Worry Stone does help. However you don't need anything but a sense of personal awareness. By practicing awareness of your posture and breath in certain situations you can quickly master the art of stopping anxiety before it spikes by using a simple grounding technique of your choice.

 

The example below is a good way to get started.

Step 1:

     Look up. When we are feeling stressed and anxious we tend to look down, this puts us in an internally focused state where any stress or negative feelings are easily built up and can quickly snowball.     So the first key step in any situation of uncertainty, overwhelm, or anxiety is to look up. Move your eyes up toward the sky and take a deep breath in.

 

Step 2:

     Feel your connection with the earth. When we are ungrounded we feel disconnected and "spaced out". To feel grounded again you need to focus on your connection with the ground. Think of the feeling of pushing your toes down into sand at the beach.

     Feel your feet on the floor, move them about and feel the sensation of the ground against your feet. Start walking about or stamp them against the floor and really focus on the solid feel of the earth beneath you. Imagine that you are rooted to it like a tree.

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Step 3:

     Feel your frame. Bend your knees slightly and push your hands down onto your thighs - feel how solid your frame is. Pat up and down your arms and legs - this opens the meridian channels and reminds you of your solid physical self.

 

Here are a few other very simple, yet very powerful grounding techniques. Many grounding techniques have things in common. You can incorporate any of them into your own favorite process.

     You can do them anytime during your day.  No need to set aside special time.  You can do them when you have some time to fill, or are riding on the bus or at work. The first few times you try, you may find that having some space alone makes it easier and allows you a fuller experience. This first technique is better done on your own, but many of the others are suited to doing in other situations.

     To start with, take your shoes off, stand and bend your knees slightly.  While you are standing, gently flex your knees, and bring your awareness to what it is like to be in your body, right now.  Scan from your head down to your feet and make little mental notes as to how parts of your body feel.   Take a slow breath or two with your attention assessing your overall level of comfort.  Feel for any areas that may be in pain or tense, as you breathe.

     Now feel your feet on the floor, and notice the texture of the surface you are standing on. Do your feet perceive it as rough or smooth, soft or hard or some other sensation?  How is your weight distributed between your feet?  Take a moment to bring awareness to this.  One foot may feel like it has more pressure or feel different than the other.  Maybe you are leaning more into your toes, or your heels, or maybe there is some pain in one place or another.  All the sensations that you are feeling are OK

     Grounding isn’t any particular way that we feel.  The powerful healing and transformative quality is solely in becoming aware of how we feel, in any particular moment.  There is nothing more to do; nothing in how you feel is in any way wrong or needs to be changed.  The beauty of this technique is that there is nothing to be concerned about or fixed.  It is the awareness, only the awareness that you are looking for.  Awareness is truth and it is the truth that brings us into reality and sets us free.  So it is the awareness that is transformational.

There is nothing more to do.  We are standing, gently flexing our knees, breathing and becoming aware of our connection to the ground and our bodies.  Each new sense of awareness allows us to see ourselves and the world, more and more, without the distortions that cause conflict and pain in our lives.  Each new awareness brings us more and more into harmony with the abundance of reality.

     Here are a few other grounding techniques. No need to do more than one at a time.  Take a few moments whenever you feel that you are not fully present to the moment, or would like to feel more present in a moment.  It is important only to breathe a bit slower and deeper than normal and to see if you can allow your awareness to open fully to your experience of your body and your world.

More Grounding Techniques

     With bare feet, curl your toes up and stretch them out a few times.  Sense what this feels like.  Then work your feet kindly down into the ground and see if you can become aware of what it is like to have your feet firmly planted in the earth’s soil.

     Rub the bottom, sides, and top of your feet gently on the floor, carpet or the ground.  Then place them flat and sense how this feels in your feet and in your whole body.

     Open your eyes and calmly look around you, as you breathe slowly in and out. See if you can open your awareness to the experience in your body of reality in your midst.

     Move around a bit. Feel what it is like to be in your body, in this moment. Stretch out your arms, hands, and fingers as you take some slow breaths.

     Peel an orange or a lemon. Breathe in deeply and notice the smell. Take a bite.  Roll the fruit gently around in your mouth as you focus on the full experience of the texture, taste, smell and other senses.

     Take some time to be with a pet.  As you breathe, see if you are aware of any changes in the way your body feels when you are with them.  Can you draw any part of their essence right up into you, with your breath?

     Take an unhurried shower or a bath.  Move a little and sense how you are, being in connection with the water.

     Go for a walk, dig in the dirt in your garden, or play some of your favorite music, while you breathe and calmly sense yourself and the world around you.

      While all of these techniques are simple, safe, gentle and comfortable to do, the experience of allowing our selves to fully take in the reality of what is actually happening now, while we do these simple movements, can be truly transforming.  We encourage you to try one or all of them out. 

Self Hypnosis:

Self-Hypnosis is an excellent Mind Aerobics technique

     Self-Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of mind which can be defined as a heightened state of focused concentration (trance), with the willingness to follow instructions (suggestibility).

Self-Hypnosis Exercise:

     Go to a quiet room and sit in any comfortable chair or couch. Although some people prefer to lie down, you are more susceptible to sleep than when sitting up. Whether you sit or lie, ensure you do not cross your legs or any part of your body. You may be in this position for a while and this could end up being uncomfortable.

Make sure you are not going to be disturbed for at least half an hour.

     Close your eyes and work to rid your mind of any feelings of fear, stress, or anxiety. When you begin, you might find it difficult not to think. You may find that thoughts keep intruding. When this happens, don't try to force the thoughts out. Observe them impartially, and then let them slip away. 

     Recognize the tension in your body. Beginning with your toes, imagine the tension slowly falling away from your body and vanishing. Imagine it freeing each body part one at a time starting with your toes and working its way up your body. Visualize each part of your body becoming lighter and lighter as the tension is removed. relax your toes, then your feet. Continue with your calves, thighs, hips, stomach and so on, until you've relaxed each portion, including your face and head. Using imagery techniques of something you find comforting or soothing, such as water (feel the water rushing over your feet and ankles, cleansing them of tension) can be effective as well.

     Take slow, deep breaths. When you exhale, see the tension and negativity leaving in a dark cloud. As you inhale, see the air returning as a bright force filled with life and energy.

     Appreciate the fact that you are now extremely relaxed. Imagine you are at the top of a flight of 10 stairs which at the fifth step start to submerge into water. Picture every detail of this scene from the top to the bottom. Tell yourself that you are going to descend the stairs, counting each step down, starting at 10. Picture each number in your mind. Imagine that each number you count is further down and one step closer to the bottom. After each number, you will feel yourself drifting further and further into deep relaxation. As you take each step, imagine the feel of the step under your feet. Once you are at the fifth step imagine and truly feel the refreshing coolness of the water and tell yourself that you are stepping into an oasis of purity and cleanliness. As you begin to descend the last five steps, start to feel the water getting higher and higher up your body. You should now start to feel somewhat numb and your heart will start to race a bit, but notice it and let any qualms about the situation just drift away into the water.

     At this point at the bottom of the water you shouldn't really feel anything just a floating sensation you may even feel like you're spinning. Once you have achieved this state you should proceed to address your problems and decide upon what it is you want from where you are. (Note: if you do not feel as stated above, try again, slower with a will to grasp what is happening.) Now start to narrate what you are doing, speak in the present and future tense quietly to yourself, or as if you are reading it from a page. Start to picture three boxes under the water that you have to swim to get to. Once you have found the boxes open them slowly one at a time and narrate to yourself what is happening when you open the box. For example 'As I open the box I feel a radiant light engulf me, I feel it becoming a part of me, this light is my new found confidence that I can never lose as it is now apart of me' and then proceed on to the next box. You should avoid using statements with negative connotation such as "I don't want to be tired and irritable." Instead, say, "I am becoming calm and relaxed." Examples of positive statements "I am strong and slender," "I am successful and positive," and, if you have pain, "My back is beginning to feel wonderful." (See Warning on pain.)

Repeat your statement(s) to yourself as many times as you wish. 2 or 3 times should be enough

     Once you are satisfied with what you have done and embraced, swim back to the stairs and feel with each step you take the water becoming lower and lower until you have once again reached that fifth step. Once you are out of the water and are on the sixth step you may start to feel heavy or as if there is a weight on your chest. Merely wait on the step until this passes, constantly repeating your aforementioned statements. Once it passes continue up the stairs visualizing each step by its number, feeling the steps under neath you, will yourself to carry on up the stairs.

     Once you have ascended, give yourself a few moments before opening your eyes. You may want to visualise yourself opening a door to the outside world, do this slowly and imagine the light that pours in through the door way, this should make your eyes open. Take your time getting up. Then out loud tell yourself "Wide awake, Wide awake" or something maybe that your mother used to say when she woke you up in the morning as a child. This will put your mind back in the conscious state.

Mind Aerobics Strategies:

1.  Exercise regularly
Aerobic activity—walking, dancing, biking, for at least 20 minutes three times a week—increases blood flow and the delivery of oxygen, sugar (as glucose) and nutrients to the brain. In 2003 researchers from Wayne State University and the University of Illinois, Urbana, showed that aerobic fitness may reduce the loss of brain tissue common in aging.

2. Stick to a healthy diet
Avoid sugar and saturated fat. And eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, spinach and beets. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported in December that the magnesium found in dark green, leafy vegetables appears to help maintain memory.

3. Learn something new
Mastering activities you’ve never done before, such as playing the piano or learning a foreign language, stimulates neuron activity. For best results, remember this: People exposed to positive reinforcement before completing memory exercises scored well above others exposed to negative reinforcement in a study led by Thomas Hess, a North Carolina State University psychologist.

4. Get enough sleep
Too little sleep impairs concentration. Anecdotal evidence shows a good night’s sleep appears to boost memory after learning something new.

5. Devise memory strategies
Make notes or underline key passages to help you remember what you’ve read. Invent mnemonics—formulas to help you remember things. An example in Fogler’s book: a man’s two cars—one tan, one black—had gas tank doors on opposite sides. To remember which was which, he associated the lighter-color car with the word "left," the side the gas cap was on.

6. Socialize
Conversation, especially positive, meaningful interaction, helps maintain brain function.

7. Get organized
Designate a place for important items such as keys and checkbooks. Keep checklists for things like daily medications or items to pack when you travel.

8. Turn off the tube
Some experts say too much TV watching weakens brain power.

9. Jot down new information
Writing helps transfer items from short- to long-term memory.

10. Solve brainteasers
Crossword puzzles, card games and board games like Scrabble improve your memory. Other games are good for remembering numbers (Concentration), spatial concepts (pinball, pool) and strategizing (chess, checkers).

 

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