2014 is not only an opportunity to change but importantly it is a year for fun and enjoyment in yours or your loved ones lives. ‘Change’ is a daunting word, it is for everyone including people who seemingly have the world at their feet, even they struggle to make it to the gym! But we are not talking about a routine revolution here, we are suggesting some constructive and fun adjustments. Many people coping with PTSD simply don’t have the energy for making wholesale changes but the following suggestions don’t require major jolts to a routine, they are just a few fun things which can make a difference. Try to do them with a loved one as well.
Here are some suggestions:
1) Listen to different music. If you are rock and roll fan try listening to Jamie Cullum (he is great ‘live’ by the way).
2) If you like dancing to Hip Hop – try a Waltz
3) If you like to drive out for a Sunday walk, try a different route. A more scenic route perhaps?
4) Try to go somewhere you have never been before. If you normally like to go to the pub to watch the football, try the zoo. I love sports myself but the zoo is something different and often rewarding.
5) If you like reading Stephen King, try John Grisham. Or perhaps some short stories: http://americanliterature.com/100-great-short-stories
‘PTSD has you stuck in place. You need to shake up your world, at least enough to get things moving again.
Do something out of order. Eat dessert first. Take your usual midday walk after dark. Shower in the morning instead of at night. Put your left shoe on first, instead of your right. Anything that alters your routine jogs your brain a little. By making your brain pay attention, instead of drifting through the day on auto-pilot, you can short circuit the obsessive thought that often come with PTSD.’
– Suzanne Grosser, heal-post-traumatic-stress.com
Even these small changes in routine will require effort so it is important to have some relaxation techniques at the ready:
Breathing techniques are a good starting point although more advanced techniques such as meditation and yoga can be used. Practice breathing by sitting on your own in a comfortable position.
‘An alternate nostril breathing exercise is a good technique to start with because it brings balance to both sides of the brain and control the body’s reaction to stress:’ – www.realwarriors.net
ñClose off your right nostril by placing the thumb of your right hand on your right nostril
ñInhale through your left nostril
ñClose off your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand
ñRemove the thumb and exhale through your right nostril
ñInhale through your right nostril
ñClose off your right nostril with your thumb
ñExhale through your left nostril
ñInhale through your left nostril
ñContinue alternating five to 10 times
Progress that is made should be rewarded and by writing down all of your achievements and looking back at them you can now see the changes.
ñ Write down how often you use relaxation techniques and make a note of how you feel about them.
ñ If you have been out to see a friend or any social occasion make a note of that too.
ñ It is important to set out goals for the week or month so that there is a target.
ñ Practice makes perfect – even if you have achieved a single goal, try to repeat it to prove to yourself that the change can taken shape. That in itself is progress.
Are you Stuck? By Suzanne Grosser
Anxiety BC. Resources Results. Relief