Friday, April 27, 2012

Five Ways to Heal your PTSD

1) Strengthen your "mind muscle" through meditation or mindfulness practice. Meditation is not "making your mind go blank"; it is focusing and calming the mind. The mind is like unruly horses, once you are in control, you can direct the mind where you want it to go. Otherwise it runs away with you (and often into flashbacks). This is the single most powerful aid to healing PTSD.

2) Eat whole, nutrient-rich and easily digestible foods. Our digestion suffers tremendously when we are stressed. PTSD is whole body event that depletes our energy and nutrients. Cut back on sugars, caffeine and alcohol that tax the body and especially your adrenals.

3) Find ways to safely tell your story, even if it is in a journal or through art. Finding your narrative and being heard are immensely healing.

4) Safely release held feelings. Crying is necessary, and sometimes so is shouting. Go fight with the ocean waves, run, hit a ball, or watch a sad movie. All are helpful. Holding intense feelings in becomes toxic over time. So release!

5) Learn to comfort yourself. You have been deeply wounded. It is OK to focus on yourself during this time of healing. Comfort is always healthy and never creates further problems. In other words drinking alcohol is not comforting but avoiding. True comfort involves activities like: being out in nature, taking a long hot bath, getting a foot massage, listening to your favorite music, redecorating your space etc. If you need to wrap up in a large blanket and stare off into space, that's OK. Balance comfort with necessary activity.

I feel for you and your suffering. I hope this helps!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Trauma Tool Kit Has Arrived! *GIVEAWAY*

Hi all,

I'm happy to tell you that The Trauma Toolkit: Healing PTSD From the Inside Out is now in bookstores across the United States and is shipping from online booksellers. I had the privilege of finally holding my own copy this week. In celebration I am giving away three copies to the first three readers who link to this blog and comment below. Please be sure to send me your address privately if you see your name in the first three comments! Here's to healing from traumatic stress! Blessings, Sue

Monday, April 16, 2012


Hi all. Today I am pleased to tell you that one month out, the Search Inside function has been activated for The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD From the Inside Out. Quest Publishing has been quite generous with their sharing so you can begin reading now! Click on the book cover to the right of this post to go to Amazon's site for the book. My greatest desire is that this book help you overcome your traumatic stress and PTSD. Blessings, Sue

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tool: Progressive Relaxation

My husband is a cardiologist. He and I have a friendly competition about who can get rid of chest pain faster. If there is nothing he can do he refers his patient to me or another practitioner. Progressive relaxation, twice a day, for 10 minutes a session usually takes care of unexplained angina in under 2 weeks.

If you have taken a yoga class or been in hypnosis or therapy chances are you know what progressive relaxation is. You start at your feet, imagining deep relaxation, warmth and heaviness and then slowly move that focus up the body. The exercise can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. Sometimes people fall into a restful slumber. In fact progressive relaxation is excellent for insomnia!

I practice progressive relaxation every morning when I wake up. If you have stress in your life (and who doesn't?) you might be surprised at how much tension you are holding in your body coming out of the sleep and dream state. It resets my body and mind for the day ahead.

It is one of of the best tools for dealing with PTSD and traumatic stress. It is mental floss, which,like dental , is good to practice regularly one to two times/day. You can find videos and CD's that will talk you through progressive relaxation. Next time you are feeling stressed, give it a whirl (but not in your car!).

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stress, Genetics and PTSD

Today there are a number of articles on the web about the genetic predisposition to PTSD. Researchers have discovered that if your ancestors were exposed to severe traumas, such as the holocaust, severe disasters, famine or others, you are likely to have some genetic markers that make you more susceptible to PTSD. We have known for some time that some people respond more dramatically to stress than to others. Now we are beginning to understand why.

It would be easy to misconstrue this information to say that those with the trauma genes are 'weaker'. This would be a mischaracterization. Researchers have made studies about how certain rabbits with more inherited hypervigilance are better at survival in certain terrains. The same people who are prone to PTSD may also have quicker reflexes, be more alert in their surroundings and/or more sensitive to situations. Sensitivity is not a liability but an asset. The world, after all, is not suffering from an overabundance of sensitivity but a lack of it. I would love to see researchers focus on the assets of these genetic changes.

Lastly, I want to point out that although some people are more prone to PTSD, there are some traumas that will cause PTSD in anyone, just as people with stronger or less strong immune systems may catch a particularly virulent disease. So let us engage our curiosity and our compassion for those who suffer in this way, and let us also take note of their resilience and their gifts.

photo courtesy of Maya Banitt