6 Ways to Cope with PTSD

6 ways to cope with PTSD

Nue Life is dedicated to helping you improve your most important relationship- the one you have with yourself. With that in mind, we want to explore a condition that negatively affects that same relationship.

PTSD, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects a large part of the population. It affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and it is estimated that one in every 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. It is most well-known to impact war veterans or those who have been in violent situations, but that’s not all who it affects.

a few facts about PTSD:

• PTSD is more common in women than men
• PTSD can occur with other mental health disorders
• Long-term prognosis is hopeful because specific treatments for it can help reduce or eliminating symptoms

In the following article, we’ll discuss a further in-depth analysis of PTSD, how it can negatively impact everyday functions, as well as coping mechanisms for how to best help with PTSD.

what is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in many individuals who have experienced or even witnessed a traumatic event. For example, sudden angry outbursts or reminders of the event that could be related to PTSD are rape, sexual assault, violence, war/combat, a natural disaster, car accidents, serious injuries, and much more.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is most well-known for being caused by wartime and impacting war veterans. An example of the physical manifestation of PTSD is a war veteran hearing gunshots and being brought back to a particular moment from the war that could trigger them.

Those who experience PTSD tend to have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings of emotions or sensations related to their experience. This includes experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, and feeling the same way they felt in the moment of the traumatic event.

Though Post-traumatic stress disorder is well-known among war veterans, many others deal with it as well, and it is not limited to just war scenarios. A diagnosis of PTSD only requires experiencing or just exposure to a traumatic event or situation.

Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD, and U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians are disproportionately affected with higher rates of PTSD than other ethnic groups.

PTSD does not have to primarily happen to someone for them to qualify as someone with the disorder. This disorder can also be suffered by those who indirectly interact with a traumatic event but are still significantly impacted by it. An example of this could be learning the details of a death of a loved one, among many other things.

Many symptoms of trauma are important to know so that you can better take care of yourself or your loved ones. PTSD symptoms are notably grouped into four different groups:

intrusive memories

• Recurrent and disturbing memories of the said traumatic event
• Flashbacks that manifest by feeling as if you are reliving the traumatic event as if it were occurring again
• Nightmares related to the traumatic event
• Emotional distress or physical reactions to anything that might remind you of the traumatic event

avoidance

• Altogether avoiding places, scenarios, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
• Avoiding thinking or discussing subjects related to the traumatic event

negative changes in thoughts and mood

• Difficulty maintaining close relationships
• Emotional numbness
• Hopelessness about the future
• Negative thoughts about yourself or others
• Lack of interest in things that once interested you
• Feeling detached from loved ones

changes in physical and emotional reactions

• Irritability coupled with aggressive behavior
• Being easily startled or scared
• Self-destructive behavior, intentionally putting yourself in harm’s way
• An overwhelming sense of guilt or shame

As you can see, these symptoms would cripple anyone in their everyday life. Suffering from PTSD can be incredibly difficult and damaging to your mental health, as well as the relationships around you.

Though Post-traumatic stress disorder can seem unbearable, there are ways to cope with it and work through it on the road to recovery.

why is it important to develop coping tricks?

Coping tricks or skills are an essential tool to develop in yourself to handle not only PTSD but the trials and hardships of life. Learning how to develop coping mechanisms in your life will help with emotional distress and further help your future self if they find themselves in another stressful situation.

Those who struggle with coping skills tend to view adverse events in life as being their fault. This is usually due to a lack of self-worth. Of course, this is easier said than done, but learning to implement some coping tools in your everyday life can prove to be very beneficial.

what are some ways to cope with PTSD?

So what are a few techniques that you can implement to help you cope with PTSD? We’re glad you’ve asked! We have six different tools you can utilize in your everyday life.

breathing exercises

Using breathing exercises to calm your central nervous system down is key during a stressful or triggering situation. Controlling your breath by doing exercises is very important. An example of a breathing exercise is the following:

The 4, 7, 8 Inhale through the nose for a count of four. Then, hold your breath for a count of seven. And finally, exhale through the mouth for a count of eight. Do this as many times as needed until breathing is under control.

7/11 Inhale through the nose for 7 seven seconds and exhale through the mouth for 11 seconds.

mindfulness practices

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is about being in touch with and fully present in the moment you are currently in. This is an incredible practice because most symptoms of PTSD occur through looking back or remembering what happened in the past. Instead, by grounding yourself to the present, becoming aware of the moment you are in, and only that moment, you will be able to calm down gradually. With relaxation techniques like yoga, you can release the feelings of guilt and helplessness and live in the present moment. Focus on positive emotions and seek ways to create healthy daily routines.

Practicing mindfulness is difficult, especially in our world now, with our phones always glued to our hands. However, technology isn’t all bad in this accord.

developing community

Isolation and loneliness is a bad place to be in when you have PTSD. You already feel alone and trapped in your head as it is, and without a means to talk through it, it can be crippling.

Finding a community of people who will support you and love you through recovery is one of the most important things you can do. Taking out all of the thoughts you may be having in your head is a proven way to settle stress and tension and ultimately find healing.

This could look like many things, such as joining a book club, religious affiliation, or a support group for people who have been through similar circumstances. Whatever it is, it’s good to be around good people.

spending time in nature

Getting outside with the beautiful trees, endless blue sky, and a nice breeze is a great coping skill to implement when you are overwhelmed. Research shows that exposing your lungs to fresh air can help relieve stress. Oxygen affects the levels of serotonin released in the body and can help with promoting feelings of happiness.

Whether it is taking a walk through your favorite hike, laying on a blanket in a field of grass, reading a book, or just sitting on your porch — being outside surrounded by beauty is a great way to receive relaxation.

journaling

Having a journal where you write everything out is a helpful coping skill to have. Our thoughts tend to stick in our heads and get stuck there, so thinking through your thoughts and putting them on paper helps organize and collect your thoughts.

The best part about journaling? No one has to see it. So you can write whatever weird, angry, or whatever other thoughts you may be feeling in the moment, and no one has to know.

psychedelic therapy

This might seem random, but psychedelic therapy is a proven means of helping with PTSD, particularly ketamine.

Ketamine has been used in the past as an anesthetic, treating those in the hospital for discomfort. Now, it can be taken orally with Nue Life.

Ketamine works by helping to restore the connections in the brain that mental disorders have wreaked havoc on. Ketamine binds to the NMDA receptor and releases a glutamate surge; this then releases growth hormones which helps to make new synaptic connections in the brain and create healthier thought patterns in the brain!

Nue Life offers an alternative to expensive IV ketamine infusion therapy with their clinical at-home oral program. They create a personalized and sustainable plan for you, and you have direct access to their incredible team of doctors and advisors.

For more information on ketamine and how it can help with PTSD, visit Nue Life and learn if this could be an excellent option for you.

can you fully recover from PTSD?

Though it may seem daunting, recovering from PTSD is possible. Though there is technically no “cure” for it because of how unique it is to each person, there are ways to help treat it and work through it so that your quality of life can return.

Nue life

conclusion

Developing coping tools to handle PTSD is an essential first step to recovery and reducing symptoms. Though PTSD can be complicated to live with, don’t lose hope. There are options out there for you.

Every Nue Life program provides compassionate support with dedicated mental wellness experts. If you’re struggling with mental health problems, don’t hesitate to contact your mental health professionals and seek out the best methods of therapy. Whether it is through deep breathing and meditation or cognitive-behavioral therapy, your healthcare provider should be able to help guide you in the right direction.

Speak with your doctor if these coping tools do not seem to be helping so that you can be further assisted and get your life back.


How To Optimize Your Sleep

how to optimize your sleep

“Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain.”

Matthew Walker, MD, sleep scientist,
author of Why We Sleep

You’ve probably experienced that when you’ve slept well, you have more energy, clarity and patience. Sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, cognitive decline and more. In addition, suboptimal sleep impairs our ability to concentrate, problem solve and manage stress while diminishing our capacity for empathy, kindness and creativity. It also ages us prematurely and shortens our lifespan. To be your best, it’s vital to get proper sleep.

make sleep a priority

It’s important to note that if you don’t allow enough time for sleep, nothing is likely to change. The amount of sleep that is required varies from person to person, but research shows that on average we need seven to nine hours per night. Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942–no wonder we’re feeling so stressed out.

To begin, start with allowing eight hours of sleep every night. Remember, sleep is not like the bank. We can’t accumulate debt and then try and pay it off at a later point in time. The brain has no capacity to get back that lost sleep we accumulate during the week in terms of debt.

It’s also important to prioritize regularity. So, ​​wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s a weekday, the weekend, whether you’ve had a good night of sleep or a bad night of sleep. Similarly, go to bed at the same time every night. Count back 8.5 hours from wake-up time—that’s when you need to get in bed, put away your electronics and relax.

be intentional about your exposure to light

Light is the primary determinant of our circadian rhythm or sleep cycle, so managing our exposure to light is a powerful way to regulate sleep.

The first step is getting exposure to bright light first thing in the morning and sunlight throughout the day:
Open your blinds as soon as you wake up.
Take a short walk when you wake up in the morning.
Get outside during the day. Can you walk to work, go outside during lunch or schedule walking meetings?
In the winter months, talk to your doctor about trying bright light therapy.

You’ll also want to focus on reducing your exposure to light in the evening and experiencing darkness at night to avoid melatonin suppression. Remember, the body takes its cues to get ready for sleep from sunset and the gradual shift in natural light’s color-temperature.

Avoid or minimize the use of screens three hours before bedtime. Use programs like F.lux and Nightshift to reduce the blue light emitted from your devices.

Dim the lights in your home starting around sunset and consider wearing orange glasses to reduce exposure to blue spectrum light.

Get your phone and electronics out of the bedroom. If needed, set up your charger in another room.

Use blackout shades and/or eye masks to make your bedroom as dark as possible.

move your body

It’s important to get adequate amounts of physical exercise for proper sleep. Make sure to pay special attention not only to exercise, but also to reduce the time that is usually spent being sedentary. Try a standing or treadmill desk, take the stairs, walk more or put on your favorite music and dance!

cut caffeine and alcohol

These two items can have a profound effect on sleep, so they’re best avoided (or at least reduced) if you wish for a good sleep.

For optimal sleep at night, reduce overall caffeine consumption and stop caffeine by 12pm. If you suffer from sleep issues, you owe it to yourself to do a month-long trial 100% off caffeine and track your progress. Remember that if you are currently drinking a lot of coffee, it’s best to wean yourself off rather than cutting it out and going cold turkey.

Consider that a nightcap may put you to sleep faster but it also disrupts sleep architecture.

Alcohol is a sedative drug that can remove consciousness quickly from the brain but won’t put you into naturalistic, restorative sleep. It both fragments your sleep causing restless sleep and blocks your REM sleep (or your “dream sleep”), which is critical for aspects of mental health, emotional restitution, and memory consolidation.

Monitor your sleep quality when you consume alcohol. If you find that you toss and turn on the nights when you drink, or wake up tired the next day, reduce or eliminate alcohol, especially closer to bedtime. Better yet, consider taking weeknights off from drinking completely.

optimize your sleep nutrition

Make sure your diet isn’t too low carb or low fat, as these diets can lead to trouble sleeping. In general, it’s best to go to bed neither overly full nor hungry. Some people do well eating a smaller dinner, especially those with digestive issues, while others do better with a bedtime snack, such as those who tend toward low blood sugar.

The standard American diet promotes a blood sugar roller-coaster. Blood sugar fluctuations disrupt sleep, causing middle of the night awakenings, therefore it’s vital to maintain stable blood sugar to promote optimal sleep.

manage your stress

There should be no surprises here: It’s paramount to manage your stress effectively when trying for good sleep. The biochemistry of stress is simply incompatible with restorative sleep, thus It’s incredibly important to manage your stress effectively when trying for good sleep. Make sure to calm your system by implementing stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, tai chi, spending time in nature or engaging in a creative activity. Also, consider creating a calming evening ritual to set yourself up for the best possible sleep.

create a relaxing sleep environment

Creating a bedroom that makes you relaxed and ready for bedtime is very helpful when it comes to achieving quality sleep.

• Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only—avoid using electronics (or working!) in the bedroom.

• Control the temperature of the room—most people sleep best in a slightly cool room,

• Get a comfortable mattress and bed sheets, made from natural fibers—your sleep isn’t going to be great if you find your bed uncomfortable.

• Consider a weighted blanket. (Its deep touch pressure stimulation assists in the production of sleep-promoting biochemicals.)

• Reduce the noise level—if there’s a lot of noise outside your bedroom, use earplugs or a noise machine to block it out.

• Let some fresh air in (we get better quality sleep when fresh air circulates in the bedroom) and consider houseplants!