Coping With Trauma Reminders

On occasion, you may run into situations that bring back the memories of past trauma. When this happens, your body may respond as if you are caught in the very same event again; your heart races, you can’t think straight, and you feel like it’s happening all over again.

The VA’s “PTSD Coach Online” can help. Using the tools provided in this website, you begin by rating your stress level on a scale of one to ten with one being little or no stress to ten being totally stressed out.

Next, you consciously work on relaxing. Focus on your breathing to slow it down.  When you are breathing normally, your body will relax automatically.

Now, try to identify what triggered your PTSD reaction. Often, it is something with some similar elements to the actual trauma, such as watching a war movie bringing back memories of your wartime experiences.  If you know the trigger, you can avoid it in the future.

Finally, you make a decision about what you want to do about your response. You may choose to remind yourself that what happened is in the past and you are currently safe.  Or, you may choose to talk to someone else about your response.  The great part is that it is up to you how you choose to react.  It puts you in charge again.

The VA offers the PTSD Coach Online for free. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this service!  Make use of all the tools available to you to reclaim your life again.