Recovering after a traumatic event takes time. Enacting positive coping strategies can help you recover quicker and reduce the risk of developing worsening PTSD or depression. 

Here, we’ll highlight ten positive coping strategies to help you gain confidence, reduce anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing. 

woman doing yoga to cope with PTSD

#1 Engage in Mindfulness Relaxation 

Mindfulness is the art of remaining present in the moment. It allows you to focus on what is instead of what could be. It involves directing your attention to your breath, bodily sensations, or an object for a specified amount of time. By staying present in the moment, you can quiet ruminating and intrusive thoughts and reduce anxiety.

#2 Repeat Mantras 

Mantra meditation involves closing the eyes and repeating a phrase or word several times. According to the International Journal of Yoga, Mantra meditation reduces stress and blood pressure. There’s also empirical evidence that Mantra meditation improves symptoms of anxiety and depression.

#3 Take a Deep Breath 

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, deep breathing allows your body to naturally reset to a calmer state. PTSD symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and panic respond positively to deep breathing exercises.

The following is a simple deep breathing exercise that you can perform any time of the day to help relieve your symptoms:

  • Sit in a comfortable location.
  • Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose and feel your abdomen expand.
  • Do this for a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
  • Repeat the entire sequence from start to finish ten times.

#4 Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves inhaling the aroma of essential oils. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, aromatherapy is often used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and pain. A study published by the American Journal of Qualitative Research found that Bergamot oil could help reduce PTSD symptoms. 

To reap the benefits of aromatherapy:

  • Boil a pot of water.
  • Apply six to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice.
  • Pour the water into a bowl and inhale the steam through your nose.

#5 Write Your Feelings Down

According to the VA, therapeutic journaling – the process of writing down how you feel about a situation – can help you reflect on it and develop a different perspective. It helps relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, all symptoms that play a role in PTSD.

To get started, follow this four-day approach:

  • Choose a quiet location to write in.
  • Choose a subject to write about.
  • Write about this subject on day one.
  • On day two, choose a different subject and begin writing about it.
  • On day three, choose another subject and begin writing about it.
  • On day four, write about the traumatic experience, including how you felt about it and how you currently feel about it.
  • Underline any negative thoughts or sweeping conclusions that you’ve made in your writing.
  • Challenge those thoughts by writing down positive alternatives.

#6 Join a Peer Support Group

Young people during group therapy for ptsd

Peer groups provide a safe space for individuals with PTSD to discuss their experiences and learn ways to heal past them. Peer groups can help you understand your feelings so you don’t feel alone or misunderstood. Talking in a group setting also provides an opportunity to improve your communication and interpersonal skills, helping you to open up and explore different ways of viewing your trauma.

Peer groups are available in person and online, and some are catered to specific populations, such as victims of domestic violence or military veterans.

#7 Practice Reframing Your Thoughts

Begin reframing the way you view your trauma by changing the words you use when referring to it.

Instead of saying, “My car accident,” say, “I was in a car accident.” By removing “my,” you take ownership away from the trauma. Using the word “was” places the trauma in the past. Changing the trauma narrative in this way allows you to move past the situation and begin the healing process.

#8 Workout 

Working out is a great way to improve your overall mood, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem. For people with PTSD, exercise can also provide a healthy alternative to maladaptive coping mechanisms. 

According to the Journal of Military Medicine, physical exercise can be an effective addition to PTSD treatment in Florida, no matter the type of exercise. However, a combination of resistance training, strength training, aerobics, and yoga provides the greatest symptomatic relief.

#9 Engage in Positive Self Talk

Positive self-talk can change the way you view yourself and the trauma you’ve experienced. By countering negative thoughts with positive self-talk, you can reduce anxiety attacks, PTSD triggers, and depressive episodes.

Examples of positive self-talk include:

  • “I forgive myself and let go.”
  • “I am safe.”
  • “I am in control.”
  • “I have overcome this before and I will again.”
  • “I love and accept myself.”
  • “I am a good person.”
  • “I did not deserve what happened to me.”
  • “I am a strong person.”
  • “I feel better today.” 

#10 Explore the Outdoors

Getting out in nature provides more than a quick boost of vitamin D. Research published by UC Davis Health found that nature exposure positively affects the human body. This includes reducing stress hormones, muscle tension, and cardiovascular stress. For people with PTSD, it also helps to improve negative emotions such as irritability and loneliness.

To reap these benefits, participate in one of the following activities:

  • Camping
  • Nature walks
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing

outdoor therapy for ptsd

Healing Is Possible With Transformations Mending Fences

These coping strategies can help you with bouts of anxiety, negative thought patterns, and poor concentration. However, PTSD is a condition that requires evidence-based therapy to treat it. This includes behavioral or exposure therapy, inpatient treatment, and/or medication. 

If you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event – we’re here to help. Transformations Mending Fences is a fully accredited treatment center that treats PTSD and addiction, substance use disorders, and co-occurring mental health issues. We have years of experience helping people just like you heal from their trauma and go on to live normal lives. 

Contact us (888) 995-6013 today to learn more about our PTSD treatment programs and other treatment services.