Your breath is both a complicated and conveniently simple process that weaves together the communication between your body and mind. Linked to your nervous system, your breath has the capabilities of keeping you alive, soothing your body and mind and increasing energy. Your breath holds a wealth of resources for you. All you have to do is attend to it. Here’s some ways to access its usefulness.
Do you want to learn skills or go deep?
Before searching for a trauma specialist in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, you may want to consider what, exactly you are looking for. Do you want to learn skills to help you tolerate the trauma memories? Or would you prefer to engage in deeper therapeutic work to get underneath the trauma so that it can heal at the core?
Skills such as DBT Skills are extremely helpful for daily life.
DBT has 4 tenants: distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and mindfulness. These skills are essential when doing trauma work for PTSD and for many other difficulties such as anxiety, depression, anger management, eating disorders, self-harm and addiction.
If you’d prefer to get underneath the trauma, you will need a therapist who can help you with skills to stabilize and one who is able to help you heal at the root of the problem.
These skills are the building blocks that will allow you to be able to function and tolerate uncomfortable memories and emotions as you dive deeper into the healing work.
2. Which Therapeutic Models Do you Prefer?
When looking for a trauma specialist in Bryn Mawr, you’ll also want to take the time to find out the model or theory that the therapist uses to help navigate your therapy. If you’re looking for a safe space to process and talk things out make sure you find a counselor who is great at talk therapy. If you are looking for evidence based interventions to help you DO something with the traumatic material, you may want to investigate something like EMDR. If you want to work more from the body or a creative place, you may want to look for an art therapist, a yoga therapist or an experiential or psycho-dramatic therapist. Ideally, you’ll find a therapist who is able to choose a therapeutic tool from a large tool belt with many choices.
3. What is your commitment level to healing?
Successful therapy is mostly about your commitment to healing. Your counselor may ask you to consider abstaining from addictive substances, behaviors or eating disordered behaviors, especially while you’re engaged in trauma work. If you’re doing drugs, engaging in self harm or throwing up your food while you’re trying to heal from PTSD, it can side-track the process. Instead of taking the time in between sessions to allow your psyche to continue to process and digest the trauma, engaging in behaviors can numb the emotions and make it less likely that you will process and be ready for your next session. When you commit to your own healing process, it means you are willing to look at all aspects of your life and work towards shifting the things that no longer serve you.
Commitment to healing also means consistency.
If you engage in therapy every week, it creates synergistic momentum as opposed to dropping in only when you’re experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms. Committing to consistent therapy will help you heal faster and more completely. What is your level of commitment to healing from a traumatic past?
If you’re looking for a trauma specialist near Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and need some helping finding the right person for you, please feel free to give us a call at 484-784-6244 for a free 15 minute initial consultation. We are happy to help you find the right trauma therapist for you.
Your body feels jittery and like you want to crawl out of your skin. Your heart races, your mind goes a million miles a second and you can't sleep. Sometimes, you just wish you could find a little peace - a little reprieve from this constant state of feeling charged up. Anxiety, social anxiety and panic are such difficult things to have to deal with. The good news is that there's hope and some sure fire things you can do to help calm your nervous system.
What grounds you?
Getting grounded, as in, feeling your feet on the earth rather than in your head - starts with your intention at the beginning of each day. The things that help people feel grounded can be different for everyone, so you need to find things that work for you. The first place to start is to think about what you can do each morning, upon awakening that will help you get centered and begin your day with a peaceful intent. Some mindfulness meditation could be helpful, reading from a daily book of inspirational readings, praying, doing some deep breathing, singing, chanting, walking or exercising in a mindful way - these are a few ideas you can begin with.
As far as inspirational reading goes, I personally like these two:
Whatever you choose to do to help you get grounded in the morning, make it into a ritual.
Our bodies find comfort in repeating the same actions on a regular basis. You will be teaching your body that every morning, you find peace through grounding and it will set you up to stay grounded and calm through the rest of your day.
Here is an example of a morning ritual:
- go to comfortable spot in home designated to meditation
- light a candle or incense
- drink warm lemon water
- read from daily inspirational book
- say a few simple prayers for help with staying calm through the day
- set timer for 5 minutes
- practice deep belly breathing for 5 minutes while focusing on flame of candle
- After breathing, spend 5 minutes making a gratitude list
- blow out candle and go for a 15-minute walk
Something as simple as this can really get your day off to a great start.
As you go about your day, when you notice your anxiety rising, come back to the breath you started with at the beginning of your day.
Feel your feet
This is a tip I learned a while back that always seems to help. As yourself "where are my feet right now?" and then look down at them and see them there on the earth. Wiggle your toes a bit and feel them moving around in your sock. Acknowledge that right now, in this moment, your feet are right there and they are safe, therefore you are safe. When you start to feel panic and your thoughts race, remember to ask "where are your feet?"
Reduce or eliminate caffeine
caffeine is addictive and it's very activating. If you are trying to eliminate anxiety, you might want to consider eliminating caffeine. Many people will say that they use caffeine to help them find energy throughout the day and keep them going. Well, it's a catch 22 because when we use caffeine, our bodies use cortisol to help regulate our adrenal glands. When we over tax this part of our systems, it leaves us depleted and more tired than we started. Therefore, if we eliminate caffeine, we may be a tired for a few days while detoxing, but after your body adjusts, you will find that you have more energy and that you sleep better.
Speaking of sleep
A large part of mental health when dealing with anxiety is getting a good amount of sleep. When we sleep, our bodies do a lot of healing. Our organs do their cleansing, our hormones rebalance and we are able to function more effectively during waking time. Also, dreaming is very important for our psyches to process material from our conscious and integrate it with our subconscious.
Here are a few tips on sleep hygiene:
- target bedtime for the same time every night
- eliminate all electronics from the bedroom
- reserve your bed for sleeping and sexual activity only - don't do work in bed
- if you are having trouble falling asleep, get up after 15 minutes and do something non-electronic for 15 minutes, then go back to bed and try to sleep again
- create a wind-down routine for the last hour before bed
For more information on sleep hygiene contact me at TiffanySpilove@yahoo.com
Anxiety reducing techniques
Here are some proven techniques to help your body and mind relax:
Tense and release
Tighten every muscle in your body. Start with your head. Tense up your face, your jaw, your eyes, your neck. Tense up your shoulders, your chest muscles, your stomach, your biceps, make fists as tight as you can. Tense up your butt muscles, your thighs, your calves, your ankles, your feet and your toes. Keep all these parts of your body as tense as possible and keep them tensed up for a full 60 seconds. Then release. This tense and release will help your body reduce anxiety symptoms.
Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in and try to push your belly hand all the way out with the breath into your diaphragm. Inhale slowly to 4 counts, then hold for 4 counts, then release slowly for 4 counts and repeat. When you practice breathing slowly, it will help to slow down your heart rate, thus reduce anxiety.
Any kind of bi-lateral stimulation can help reduce anxiety. Here are some examples: walking, biking, shifting weight back and forth from one foot to the other, tapping your thighs alternately. Some others: drumming, swimming, scanning your eyes from one side of the horizon to the other, back and forth. The butterfly hug is an EMDR technique where you hook your thumbs together so that your hands form a figure that looks like a butterfly. Put your hands on your chest and tap alternatively around your collar bone area. This is a great way to self-soothe or find relaxation in times of stress. Here's a video on how to do a different version of a butterfly hug.
I hope you've found some of these tips useful. As always, if you have any questions or for more information, please contact me at TiffanySpilove@yahoo.com