Four Healthy Habits for Veterans with PTSD

It is not unusual for my company to be approached by different groups who wish to highlight specific areas of concern; until I was approached for this subject-matter I never agreed. In this case, Julia Merrill, a retired nurse who offers strategies to help veterans with PTSD, provides wonderful information. Thank you, Julia, for this much needed advice. And, thank you, to all of our armed services and community responders who go out of their way, every single day, to do their best on behalf of us, American citizens. It is hoped that, with the approach of Veterans Day, everyone will give thought to how they can make a difference to this special community.- S Wolbe

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A diagnosis of PTSD does not mean the world is ending nor does it mean life cant be normal again. Its possible to learn to live with a mental health disorder when you embrace the learning process and make some lifestyle modifications to help you cope with symptoms. It will take time and a period of adjustment to learn to anticipate episodes and discover what stimuli affect you negatively.

Therapy is also a crucial part of combating the disorder and should not be shrugged off. However, there are healthy habits and lifestyle choices you can make to ease your path to adjustment. Here are a few good habits to get into if you or a loved one suffers from PTSD.

Exercise is the Best Way to Combat Mental Health Issues

From anxiety to schizophrenia, exercise is the best way to fight the negative effects of a mental health problem. The positive endorphins, as well as improved physical health, are critical to treating a mental disorder. Though most studies focus on anxiety and the benefits of exercise for those suffering from it, studies have also been showing evidence of benefits for PTSD sufferers. Pick a form of exercise you enjoy and give it a shot.

Meditation has Extraordinary Benefits

Meditation is another excellent cure all habit for people suffering from a mental illness. The ability to calm the mind and mentally relax reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and a number of other problems that can arise due to PTSD. Of course, learning how to meditate is a long term process and will require practice and patience. A class or meditation group can be a good way to get started.

Spending Time with Loved Ones Helps Prevent Isolation

It can be very difficult to keep in touch with friends and family when suffering from PTSD. The fear of an episode, the depression, and the anxiety can prevent you from making plans or even from calling loved ones just to chat. However, it is very important to remain in touch with loved ones. Social isolation is a major concern in people with PTSD.

Social withdrawal leads to much more dangerous conditions. The depression that comes with PTSD and isolation can easily lead to addiction as well as suicide. You may want to confide in a few close loved ones who can then check in and plan activities.

Adopting a Dog Isnt as Crazy as You Think

Dogs may seem like just another stressor and responsibility but in actuality, a dog can be a huge help or people with PTSD. Dogs provide unconditional love which can help fight depression while encouraging exercise. Even small dogs need regular play and walks which will keep their owners active and even a little social. This also prevents social isolation. If you dont own a dog, you may wish to consider walking or boarding one through a service like Rover to see how it feels.

Living with PTSD may be an adjustment, but it is one that can be done. When you cultivate healthy habits, positive coping mechanisms, and the help of a trained therapist, you can learn to live well with PTSD. Its a matter of treating yourself well and recognizing the dangers of living with a mental illness. It can seem hard at first, but rest assured that things will return to normal, and life can be good even if you suffer from a mental illness.

 

Julia Merrill is a retired nurse on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started BefriendYourDoc.org to do just that. The site offers an abundance of information from tips on finding the right medical care to help with dealing with insurance companies to general health and wellness advice and more.

 

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