How to Cope with PTSD Anxiety: 5 Healthy Strategies to Try
People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, obsessive thoughts, and severe anxiety. This health condition impacts a person’s overall quality of life, which forces them to rely on unhealthy coping methods. It’s not uncommon for people with PTSD to turn to drug abuse or alcohol use to make their symptoms manageable.
If you are in the same situation, you are not alone. Instead of depending on unhealthy coping mechanisms, there are alternative methods to help you cope with your health condition. Here are five healthy strategies that may reduce the intensity or your anxiety or lessen the frequency of your traumatic episodes:
1. Turn to Expressive Writing
Anxiety can lead you to think obsessively about a traumatic event or a stressful situation. One way to stop doing this is to practice expressive writing through journaling. This method effectively helps you cope with anxiety, encourage post-traumatic growth, and reduce PTSD symptoms. As you pen down your thoughts and feelings, you improve your physical and psychological health.
2. Perform Deep Breathing
Proper breathing requires the belly to expand when you breathe in, while your stomach should fall when you breathe out. Surprisingly, many people do not do this. Unfortunately, breathing using the chest and shoulders causes shortness and shallowness of breath, increasing stress and anxiety.
Breathing correctly could make a significant improvement in your lifestyle. Because of this, it’s essential to take a few moments every day to practice deep breathing exercises. Besides regulating your breathing, it can also help relax your mind and body, reduce stress, improve sleep, and relieve anxiety.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Antagonistic people in your life, a demanding job, and social media expectations force you to always be available and overly reactive. This can lead you to be overwhelmed and get caught up in the worries of daily life. This can also cause your PTSD-related anxiety to get worse.
Sometimes, it may feel like life is swiftly passing you by, and this is often because you are not fully aware of where you are and what you are doing. To start learning to be fully present at the moment, practice mindfulness. Tuning off from negative noise externally and internally can have a considerable positive impact on your mind and body.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation method that alternates between tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. Tensing your muscles is a typical symptom of anxiety. This is why immediately relaxing them can effectively reduce your stress and anxiety since this may eventually become a signal for your body to relax.
5. Social Support
You may have already heard that no man is an island, and this is also applicable for dealing with the negative effects of PTSD. Since humans are social creatures, you can benefit from finding support from friends, family members, and an anxiety therapist. Having a trustworthy person to talk to or being in a supportive relationship can be beneficial in managing your anxiety or working through stressful situations.
Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event has lasting effects you often have no control over. Its symptoms like anxiety and depression can impact different aspects of your life. Managing these symptoms can be challenging, but it can be done with these healthy coping mechanisms. If you think you need professional help and undergo anxiety therapy, find a therapist near you today.
At the Thriving Center of Psychology, we understand how PTSD symptoms can interfere with your daily life. This is why we offer PTSD therapy. To make our services accessible, we have offices in Midtown Manhattan and SoHo in New York, Los Angeles, California, and Miami, Florida. Contact us to schedule an in-person or online PTSD evaluation.