Coping with Anxiety: Self-Regulation for PTSD Symptoms

I am ever conscious of how many people cross our paths each week who have panic attacks, anxiety attacks and typical PTSD symptoms. My compassion goes out to these individuals as they are attempting to live and work, to participate in their families and communities, only to find that much of the time they feel just awful. They often spend their entire day either preparing for, or coping with, extreme anxiety attacks or other symptoms. To them, it feels like emotional torture, and they can get very little relief from contemporary treatments.

Brain-based interventions help with PTSD and anxiety

It is encouraging that due to brain-based research we are able to help these individuals (children, too) cope with multiple symptoms of anxiety and PTSD. With brain-based interventions involving very simple body movements, these symptoms can be alleviated.

Following is an article from the book Healing from Trauma and the Trauma Healing Resource Book Blog. You can use the step by step instructions:

It doesn’t matter which hand (right or left) goes in which position. Experiment to find out what feels right for you.

PTSD hold for calming anxiety

Make sure to do the Felt Sense to the best of your ability as you do this exercise. That means, feel and notice all the sensations as they pass though you, like watching a stream and noticing the colors, shapes, energy, sounds and motion.

  1. HEAD SIDES Place your hands on either side of your head. Think about how you are creating edges for your thoughts. You are creating the sides of a container that contains your thoughts. Feel the sensation between your hands.
  2. HEAD FRONT-BACK Place one hand on your forehead and one hand on the back of your head. Feel the container around of your thinking. Feel the sensation between your hands.
  3. FOREHEAD – HEART Place one hand on your forehead and one hand on your heart. See if you can sense some sensations between your hands.
  4. HEART – STOMACH Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly – it can be over or near your belly button. Feel the sensations between your hands.
  5. SOLAR PLEXUS – BASE OF HEAD Place one hand on your solar plexus – the point above your belly and right below your rib cage – and the other hand behind the base of your head – halfway covering the base of your head and halfway onto your neck. The middle of your hand should be over the deepest indentation.

By the end of this sequence, you should feel calmer than when you began, and be able to face the challenges of everyday life better than when totally hyped up.

Share the help

If you know someone who is struggling from PTSD symptoms or is dealing with a very excited child, this strategy is a way to calm those symptoms and slow and calm thinking.   What a great way to help alleviate the stress and panic of such a difficult set of feelings and emotions. Pass it along!

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network


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