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What is the most helpful aspect of life for anyone with PTSD?
The most helpful aspect of life is to be able to live your life to the fullest so that the past, including the situation over which your PTSD was diagnosed, remains in the past.
It’s fundamental that this decision be made and that it be firmly and irrevocably imprinted in your mind.
The very fact that you’re reading this already indicates that you would like to make this decision and it’s that desire to make this decision that will give you the strength to achieve it’s benefits, as well.
This is where all great things begin: within your mind and your choice to choose its point of focus.
This decision and choice will assist you greatly in your journey to overcome PTSD and live a joyful, purposeful and mindful life.
This decision will also help you to prioritize and distinguish which activities to which you give your attention and which activities you don’t.
First, let me begin by stating that most people struggle with the two greatest thieves of all time.
While thinking of yesterday, we tend to relive whatever yesterday gave us and while thinking of tomorrow, we tend to cast our curiosity, doubts and fears upon what tomorrow will look like.
Neither offers us the healthiest of ways to look at life.
How many times have you been driving, taking a shower or cooking while your mind was totally far off in a distant land? I’ve done this many times, myself and it’s the perfect example of how easy it is to “let go” of the innate control we all have over our minds.
Yet, when I’m angry or frustrated about something, it seems impossible to “let go” and get it out of my mind. Do you see where I’m going with this?
It’s as if I unconsciously choose to hold on to what I think I need in order to resolve problems and difficulties when my emotions are involved, yet when performing a routine task where my emotions are calm, I unconsciously choose to let go of thoughts about what I’m doing and willfully entertain whichever thoughts wander into my mind.
Maybe this has happened with you too. With your decision to “live in the moment” you’re going to want to begin to notice these situations. Noticing when and where these patterns occur is the first step to gain control over how these patterns occur.
Just like noticing when your yesterday and tomorrow are robbing you of today, it’s important to notice when you let your mind go and wander on its own. Then notice the contrast of moments where you might have a more stubborn determination to keep the thought in your mind until you the problem it’s focused on, is fixed.
These states of mind are strongly tied to our beginning core decision to “live in the moment”.
Next, we’ll go into more detail of how you can achieve this state of mind of living in the moment through more consciously aware choices.
PTSD many times leaves people feeling hopeless and helpless, but by easing your mind into staying focused only on the present moment, you can learn to accept the joy that’s within that moment.
To embrace and activate your power to control your mind and have greater hope and joy, it’s necessary that you give yourself time and tenderness.
It will also take practice and attention which is why it’s good to begin with the exercise of simply noticing when and where your mind may tend to go astray.
Once you have a set situation of examples that you know you want to change, you will then see where it’s good for you to start “reprogramming your mind” to carry out those actions without the habitual thoughts you had before.
1. You know that driving to a certain destination always brings melancholy thoughts. It’s an habitual action that you carry out while letting your mind wander.
Now let’s try bringing something uplifting, new and positive to that situation:
2. You find your mind wandering while cooking because it’s a meal you could cook while blindfolded.
To bring in the new input, try these tips:
The point is to do the routine things that you usually do, but with a different attitude, perspective and focus.
By bringing new stimulus (choose what works for you) into the mundane routines, you keep your mind from wandering to the things that you don’t want to focus on and it helps you to keep negativity at bay because you focus on the new input you’ve brought to the situation.
These are wonderful ways to keep tomorrow and yesterday away in stay in today.
Make this is a good way to start practicing old habits with your new energy and focus.
You will find that this helps you to believe in yourself, which is really important when we go after the more challenging situations such as the ones where your emotions are more involved.
By practicing the decision to focus your mind on joyful moments in the light moments, it will be much easier to use the same “mind muscle” in reference to the not so light moments.
I have a family member who used these very same skills in her life. With time and practice, she became so much stronger that she found the strength and courage to apply these same techniques to the actual situation of her PTSD. This not only helped her conquer her fear surrounding the situation of her PTSD, but it helped her to overcome fear of many other things in life, as well!
In Part 2, we will go deeper into the ways you can reprogram your mind and some physical actions that you can take to keep you in today, which is your greatest power of focus.
You can overcome PTSD and live a fulfilling, satisfying life with joy!
The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.
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