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When You Have PTSD, Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga can Help

Updated: Aug 12, 2023



When you have PTSD, Anxiety or Depression like I do, practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness can help you feel grounded and centered.


These practices all help you to calm your body and mind, so they are a big help with mental health issues.


When you are calm and centered, it helps to regulate your nervous system. The more you practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness, it lowers your baseline level of stress. This can do wonders for your mental health.


Meditation


Every night before I go to bed, I practice meditation to help calm my mind down before I go to sleep. It helps me go to sleep more quickly, and stay asleep more deeply. I also feel less anxious when I wake up in the morning.


According to Headspace,

Indeed, a number of studies have suggested that meditation can reduce the symptoms of PTSD, particularly in war veterans. These studies show that meditation reduces stress hormones by calming the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our ‘fight-or-flight’ responses to danger.

However, some people with PTSD have trouble meditating, because they say that it brings on flashbacks or additional anxiety. If this is the case for you, you can practice yoga or mindfulness instead, as they have many of the same benefits.


I have PTSD and I practice all three of these, and it has been extremely helpful for me. Calming my mind and body helps me to have a lower stress level, and to be triggered less easily.


You can easily practice yoga, meditation or mindfulness in the comforts of your own home (where you feel safe!) in just a few minutes a day. There are tutorials and guided meditations and yoga classes on YouTube that you can watch for free to guide you through the practices.


Mindfulness


Mindfulness is the easiest to practice of these three. You take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Then, you focus on the environment around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? You may hear birds chirping, feel the breeze on your face or smell some fresh flowers.


It helps to practice mindfulness outside, so that there is a calming and natural environment. I love to sit on the porch in the morning with my coffee and have a mindful moment. It is just being present fully in the moment.


The second element of mindfulness is non-judgement. This means, if you start thinking about something else, don't judge the thoughts as good or bad. Just notice them and release them. Then, return to focusing on your breath and your environment.


When you do this, it helps to put your mind and body into a calm state. You are completely focused on the moment, and you can release your anxious thoughts.


Yoga


Similarly with yoga, you can reduce anxious, racing thoughts. You connect your mind and body through your breath. You move in rhythm with your breath and just let your body flow through the movements. It is like a moving meditation, with the added benefits of exercise.


According to PTSD UK,

People with PTSD and C-PTSD often experience alexithymia, a technical term for not being able to identify what is going on in your body. Yoga is a vital practice that can help those with PTSD or C-PTSD reconnect their mind and brain to their body, and regain a sense of themselves in the world.

Yoga can help you learn to regulate your nervous system and calm yourself down when you are feeling stressed. It also helps you to feel grounded in your body, and present in the moment.


If you have either PTSD, anxiety or depression, I would highly recommend trying these practices to see what they can do for you!


To learn more about mindfulness, meditation and yoga, and how they can help you in your daily life, check out my ebook:





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