Inoculate Yourself Against PTSD this Inaugural Season
Yep. There is something that immunizes our psychology against post-traumatic stress. That thing is pre-traumatic coping skills.
Many of you have already been practicing yoga, meditation, prayer, creativity, or some other form of spiritual pursuit. If it has been a connected, deep experience, anticipate being balanced again soon. (You may have different beliefs or priorities, but you will feel yourself again.)
Whether you have some kind of established practice or not, start something simple today to ensure that how you feel about this does not turn into a festering sore like other painful experiences may have: Feel what’s inside. Perceiving what is happening in our bodies, breath and minds helps prevent traumatic impacts. (Doubt? Experiment like a scientist. See for yourself.)
I know feelings are icky and scary. I can run from emotions like nobody’s business. If they can’t catch me, they can’t kill me. Because if I felt them…I am pretty sure they would kill me. Actually, I’ve been a scientist with that theory since 2001 and, as it turns out, they haven’t killed me yet. If they all came up at once, they probably would but instead they march in like wee hellions and torment the stuffing out of me for days or years at a time. The good news is, when they’re gone (felt/acknowledged/processed/understood), those particular ones are gone forever and all that’s left is, well, the truth. Peace.
Laugh your face off.
Whatever is real for you – perceive it. See yourself and your genuine inner experience.
You don’t have to judge it or change it or categorize it or even act on it. Just notice.
Some ways to do this might be:
Ask: What is this for me? Why am I behaving this way? What is the purpose of what I am saying right now?
[Bonus Points for questions like: What are my options? Is this who I wish to be? What’s the opposing virtue? What happens when I _______ ?]
Recite slowly: Breathing in, I experience _________. Breathing out, I experience _________.
Preferred neutral version: Breathing in, there is ____________. Breathing out, there is ____________.
Move, draw, nap, write, cartoon, whistle, sing, dream, meditate, sculpt, cry, imagine, bathe, cook, garden, clean…
I suppose I could list ideas of how to practice “feeling”, or “Distress Tolerance”, all day. The point is “feel and acknowledge your feelings”.
Reach out to others who care about you and share safe touch, smiles, a walk, or just quietly watch a movie together. I recommend a plank contest then seeing how many people you can fit on the couch to watch Dan In Real Life or The Station Agent.
I shall post another time about what to do if these or other external events trigger traumatic feelings/beliefs. I’m also really excited to talk about what comes once we’re left with the truth (after the feelings clear), yet it’s best to stay focused.
For now, let’s witness.
If the witness brings nonharming inspiration, great! Act! Otherwise, just give yourself space to process. Rest, feel, and know that’s okay…even though it doesn’t seem okay. It’s okay. When we allow ourselves to see/hear/feel/express what is actually happening in our own hearts, minds and guts, trauma is far less-likely weasel its way in.