The following is copyrighted material from my book Unlocking the Puzzle of PTSD: A Holistic Guide to Restoring Inner Peace. It is available on Amazon.
Some tools from Chapter 8.
Don’t overdrive your headlights: When you are driving and it is dark outside you will only see a few feet ahead. Then as soon as you have gone as far at the lights shine, you will see farther ahead. So, take your time emotionally and only go as far as you can see at that time. Reminding yourself about this can help change your thinking and reactions. It can be helpful to write a note with the phrase and post it where you will see it frequently.
Grounding: Grounding is the feeling that you are in your body and connected to reality. This is a simple grounding exercise, which works very well with flashbacks and panic attacks. Sit down, breathe deeply in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Press your hands down on your knees and your feet down on the floor. Continue to breathe deeply and slowly. Focus on what you see and hear around you.
Say aloud four things you see and four things you hear around you. If you are having a flashback, remind yourself “This is only PTSD, it is a flashback, it is Not happening now. I am safe here now. This is just a memory.” Say your name and the date.
Opposite nostril, breathing sends more oxygen to the brain to help you think clearly. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and breathe deeply and slowly in through your left nostril to the count of three or four. Hold to three. Now use your left thumb to hold your left nostril closed while breathing out slowly through the right nostril to the count of three or four. Keep repeating for a minute or more if you can. If you feel dizzy, stop and breathe normally.
Giving back the gift of unkind words or behaviors: Imagine you are in a tennis match. Someone serves to you and you hit the ball back. You serve and they hit the ball back. They serve and you hit the ball back. What if you did not hit the ball back? Game over.
If someone says or does something hurtful to you, you can choose to thank them silently for their gift and refuse to accept it into your mind or body. You can send it back with love so that you are not putting more energy that is negative into the Universe. Do Not Bite The Bait! The way someone treats you is not about you, it is about the story that the person is telling themselves in their own head.
Write a letter of support to your inner child: If your trauma happened as a child or teen, writing a letter of support from the adult you are now can be healing. If you do not know what to say, think about what you would say to an outside child to comfort them. Possibly, for example, “I am sorry this happened to you, it wasn’t your fault, and I am taking care of you now.”
There are also several guided imagery visualization scripts in the book. There is a chapter of Holistic, Complementary and Alternative methods such as Reiki, EFT ("tapping"), Ai Chi, Balancing the chakras with instructions, Watsu. Research is mentioned when it was available.
Topics such as Eating Disorders, Bullying, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Domestic Violence and several others are discussed in relationship to PTSD and Complex PTSD.
Susan Pollard, MS