Techniques to manage distress and traumatic experiences (PTSD).

Recurring to techniques can be very useful when we feel really distressed, particularly when the distress comes regularly and makes us feel overwhelmed and seised.

When we are going through Post-traumatic Stress Disorders and after being exposed to extreme trauma such as sexual abuse, physical assault, or specific wartime experiences. People experience symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares and hypervigilance.

Prolonged exposure to trauma in which there was no possibility to escape can lead to a related disorder called Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

The brain manages any trauma we have by flashbacks (recurrent and abnormally vivid recollection of a traumatic experience, as a battle, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations).  So the experience can be suffused away as part of memory.  In this way, you can heal helping flashback to occur in our brain rather than resisting or fighting them. 

Using practical techniques, we will keep our mind in the present far from past traumas.  Anxiety, depression and other negative feelings can make us feel disconnected, unemotional and lost.  Using techniques of healing help to bring us back to the awareness of here and now.

Techniques of healing that help us to be in the present moment, rather than in our past traumatic experiences or any current distress.
Finding out what works best for you - using a convenient strategy such as mental or physical.  For example, you could repeat to yourself that you are safe now and here; doing some yoga while reciting your positive phrase.

Your focus of attention must be far from the past or current distress, and into the here and now of reality and safety.

When you experience a flashback or anxiety attack tell yourself that you will be ok and this is normal to heal.

The worst is over - it happened in the past, now I am safe.

Tell yourself that event has finished and you are at another level now. 

Look for the light and colour - in the place you are, notice the colours coming from views, see the shapes of things. There are real.

Listen and notice - the traffic, the music, voices, birds, etc.

Feel your body - touch your skin, feel the contact of your clothes on your skin, feel the air shaking your hair. Feel the tact of your sofa supporting you, how your shoes feel on your feet. Squeeze your arm and feel the pressure - that feeling means you are alive, here and now and the thought and negative feelings happened in the past.

Bare your feet - and walk in the grass, over stones and feel it. Jump, dance, clap your hands, and sing; remind yourself where you are right now. 

Practice the 5,4,3,2,1 technique - look around and visualise 5 things, 4 sounds you can hear, 3 objects you can touch, 2 things you can smell, then take 1 soft, deep breath.


You will notice that you feel different and distressed.

With your hand on your belly, breathe deeply and slowly and feel how your hand goes up and down as you blow. When you feel the panic, this breathing technique will bring you calm.

Write a diary - describe your thoughts and how they make you feel. It will give you another point of view and will be easy for you to identify their precedence.

When feeling scared or panicking try thinking about different subjects - try counting backwards in 8s from 100, visualise 5 different animals, 5 blue objects, identify one animal for 5 letters of the alphabet, recite the alphabet back.

Carry a healing object for you - Some people believe in the power of stones and carry them like jewellery or another small object. You could use the one which makes you feel more comfortable.

Seek help when you consider it. Sharing with confident people your flashbacks and anxiety attacks can make them alert in the case you need them. Otherwise, you could find support online or any helping organisation.

Take Care of your well-being - All those feelings can drag you down and drain your energy. Look after yourself and your mental well-being with relaxing bath, walks, sleep and a warm drink, listening classic or therapeutic music or merely taking time off for yourself will bring you up again. 

One positive way to heal yourself used in humanistic therapy sessions is questioning yourself to bring awareness to the present. You could write down or speak aloud. 

Where am I, right now? 

In what day and year I am? 

What colour has the sky today?

Why I am thinking like this? 

Is that a positive or negative thought?

Is that a real thought? 

Can I change this thought?

Recitate positive coping phrases and make them your dogmas. You could set a range of coping affirmations such as: "I am..., I feel safe here and now and this is just a recall of my past experiences - that was then, and this is now. Today is... This shall pass".