Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a disorder which causes disabling anxiety after a traumatic event – or series of events – such as being in combat, a car accident, or childhood abuse. This high level of anxiety can lead to associated problems like panic attacks, insomnia, depression, hypertension, alcoholism and substance abuse. Awareness and acceptance of trauma-related flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and overwhelming feelings may be especially helpful for individuals with PTSD, as it may lessen the need to avoid situations and interactions as well as foster the ability to regulate emotions. Relaxation techniques such as Yoga and Meditation can be used to combat these negative emotional states and can lead to greater mindfulness and acceptance of potentially distressing triggers.
Both yoga and meditation been shown to have significant healing benefits, enabling PTSD sufferers to find a safe, quiet peace within themselves from which they can deeply relax and begin to sort out troubling experiences and visions.Increasingly, yoga and meditation are being seen as a critical addition to other forms of therapy and as an important alternative or complement to antidepressant drugs.
These aren’t simply feel-good sessions: meditation and yoga literally help create new muscle memory, actually rewiring the brain to enable people to process and recover from stress. This brain “rewiring” is what neuroscientists recognize as the potential for patients with PTSD to increase their ability to experience disturbing images and memories without reacting in an emotionally negative way. Recovery from PTSD can take time, but by adding these relaxation techniques, the brain can continue the healing process in a state of calm.