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How to increase confidence in the PTSD recovery process is one of the most difficult and most important aspects of healing. Naturally, coping with symptoms of PTSD lowers self-esteem, which plummets belief in yourself, which can just about kill all hope — which can become an event that permanently stalls healing or even prevents its success. With such a clear domino effect the hard facts become crystal clear:
Boosting confidence in how you heal symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder is imperative if you want to feel better.
Like all PTSD recovery processes how to increase your confidence in PTSD recovery happens gradually over time and through a consistent focus on working the steps of change. Rather than dive into this transformation with the attitude of a sprinter think of yourself as a long-distance runner: You’re going to practice in increasing increments until you can endure the full run.
You can get started learning how to increase self-confidence by exploring three foundational components specifically applicable to healing PTSD:
Emphasize your strengths: What comes easily in life is what you’re naturally good at. The same holds true for PTSD recovery. What you find easy to do (i.e. write out your trauma story, recall facts, share feelings — whatever the strengths are for you) are places to center your attention in the healing process. The more you allow yourself to heal in ways that feel natural (even if that just means less bad) the more you will develop confidence, control and a sense of direction.
Downplay your weaknesses: Being forced into a recovery process that makes you feel bad about yourself is a recipe for disaster. The more you engage in things that make you feel bad about yourself (i.e. retelling the story over and over, forcing yourself to recall details, engaging in modalities that consistently deplete your energy) the less you will heal. PTSD is all about feeling powerless and weak. Creating a recovery strategy (through modalities, unsupportive professionals or other means) that mirrors and exacerbates those feelings is the worst possible thing you can do.
Focus on what you can do today: Every day in PTSD recovery is different. You’re more tired or awake; anxious or calm; willing or unwilling, etc. Fighting against yourself in any day only brings on more feelings of failure. In each day check in with yourself. Notice where you feel strong and weak, where you feel you can concentrate and not (even if that’s just the tiniest amount), and then engage in a recovery process aligned with who and where you are in that moment.
Each of the components listed above is based on one salient PTSD recovery fact: Progress happens when you 1) make choices, and 2) take actions. Without these two elements happening consistently healing can’t happen at all. so developing an ability to do this is critical.
Of course, knowing how to cobble together a consistent choose/act strategy, can seem like just another wall to climb over. With insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, panic, mood swings, hypervigilance and other symptoms of PTSD it’s hard to think, plan, engage, follow through and concentrate.
In those moments, I think of healing PTSD the way I think of yoga: I know all the moves and poses, but I don’t always feel focused enough to create a good class for myself. Instead, I like to go to a yoga class and have an instructor do the thinking, planning and strategizing for me. With my only job being to follow the prompts I can focus on doing the work I need to do on the mat.
It’s based on that idea — of small prompts and tightly focused work — that I wrote my new book, Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies that Work. Chunked down recovery choices and actions laid out in small portions create a personalized healing strategy uniquely attuned to what feels good to you–and also what doesn’t. With zero stories, over 200 strategies, plus easy-to-understand language the choose-your-own adventure style of the book allows you to dip into it according to what you need in any given day. Covering five essential areas, including how to access resilience, create change and bust through blocks, Heal Your PTSD offers the opportunity to do something small and manageable at any moment so that you feel more confident in your PTSD recovery approach and have more success in achieving it.
The main goal in healing PTSD is making the shift from powerless to powerful. You can transform from helpless to hopeful and beyond by increasing your confidence in small ways that lead to small successes that add up to big healing gains. You have to start somewhere, but once you do, you gain gain momentum more fluidly than ever seemed possible.
Advance praise has been terrific!
“This is a cheerleading, you-can-do-it kind of book, with step-by-step lifestyle modifications.” —Nancy Szokan, The Washington Post
“This is an ideal work-book for the trauma survivor to use in their journey to emotional health.” —Robert Scaer, MD, author of The Trauma Spectrum
“Recovery from PTSD is finally possible. Heal Your PTSD is not just a book to help you get past your trauma, it will also help you fully heal from it and get over it.” —Mark Goulston, MD, author of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummiesand Just Listen
For more information about the book/audiobook, or to read a sample and see the reviews of Heal Your PTSD, click here.
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