Mindfulness Course

A lot of us have experienced some type of trauma in our lifetime. Some of us are able to move forward without carrying any symptoms or effects. But many of us have captured that experience inside, making us repeat that same feeling over and over again through our everyday life, causing isolation, being overwhelmed, helplessness, and shock, having difficulty processing the experience, or even having physical symptoms.

This is what we call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a treatable disorder that causes a psychological reaction, which can manifest itself after a traumatic event. A person who develops PTSD will present three types of symptoms:

  • A continual reliving of the traumatic event (daily and/or nightly).
  • Avoidance of any trauma-related reminders.
  • Hyperarousal (irritability, risky behavior, hypervigilance, etc) in the absence of any genuinely imminent risk.

Now, which typical events cause trauma?
Some research estimates that 60–75% of people in North America have experienced a traumatic event at some point. The charity Mind in the United Kingdom lists the following as potential causes of trauma:

  • bullying
  • harassment
  • physical, psychological, or sexual abuse
  • sexual assault
  • traffic collisions
  • childbirth
  • life-threatening illnesses
  • sudden loss of a loved one
  • being attacked
  • being kidnapped
  • acts of terrorism
  • natural disasters
  • war

But this doesn’t mean that only those events can cause it, a person can also experience trauma after witnessing something traumatic happening to someone else. It’s also important to know that people have different reactions to traumatic events. For example, those who live through the same natural disaster can respond very differently despite experiencing the same event.

If you think that you might be suffering from PTSD, there are options to treat it. The first essential step you must follow is an evaluation with a mental health professional (Psychiatrist, psychologist, etc) who can best lead you through understanding your triggers and assigning you to the right treatment that can manage your symptoms. At the same time, you can continue helping yourself with mindfulness and regular activities, like exercising.

One of the ways that mindfulness can support people experiencing PTSD is by teaching them skills to regulate their emotions and calm their nervous system. Two common mindfulness techniques that can be helpful for PTSD are grounding and body scan:

Grounding is a way of anchoring yourself in the here and now, rather than being overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts or memories. Grounding can help you feel more stable and safe when you are triggered or dissociated. On the other side, a body scan is a way of scanning your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations, feelings, or emotions that arise. Body scan can help you reconnect with your body and release any stored trauma or stress.

If you know someone close to you, who might suffer from PTSD, the key to help them is through support and acceptance. Empathy is also crucial in the recovery, let them know that you understand what they are suffering and motivate them to get an evaluation and treatment in order to manage the symptoms and improve a better life.

To know more about PTSD, please visit our resource section for more information

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