Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious affliction that can be debilitating. Many soldiers develop this particular disorder after they have served in war, and it can takes several years for the symptoms to show up. These symptoms include depression, anxiety, and flashbacks. Also, many who suffer from PTSD have vivid nightmares and anger management issues. Although PTSD is most commonly associated with soldiers, anyone who has lived through a particularly horrific, life threatening experience can experience this mental roadblock.
In the past, a combination of drug and behavioral therapies has been utilized to help ease the suffering of those with PTSD. However, even the most rigorous therapy schedules sometimes prove to be futile. As a result, more effective approaches have been sought, and one that is seeing some excellent results is the use of meditation. Particularly, mantra meditation has been shown to not only alleviate many of the symptoms that PTSD patients experience but has also proven helpful in preventing the disorder in the first place. Check out this article for more information.
Those who are saddled with PTSD may consider speaking with a professional about using transcendental meditation as a way to ease their burden. See what soldiers are saying about the effects of meditation on PTSD here.
Carefully Schedule Meditation
Transcendental meditation is most effective when it is practiced twice each day. Also, these times should be carefully scheduled to get the most out of the meditation period. To get the most leverage out of this technique, have both a morning and evening time of reflection.
By meditating early in the morning, the PTSD sufferer can ease the discomfort brought on by unrestful sleep and nightmares. This non-restful sleep sets the person up for a day that is constantly in the shadow of his or her stress. However, by using meditation as soon after awakening as possible, the patient may deal with the anxiety early on and then to proceed with the day a little less anxiously.
Ideally, the next session will happen in the late afternoon. Although this is particularly beneficial to those who work a typical schedule, the moments between dinner and work is often the most stressful time of the day. As such, taking this particular time to unwind and focus helps to fight the onset of extra stress.
Requirements for Successful Meditation
Meditation is most effective when it transpires in a peaceful place free of outside noise. Therefore, when practicing meditation, a person should seek an area that is comfortable and personal, and ideally, somewhat isolated. However, if the PTSD sufferer becomes even more stressed when completely alone, it is perfectly acceptable to simply find a non-isolated, yet peaceful and distraction-free, place to meditate.
The Steps to Begin Meditating
Get comfortable. Meditation is a delicate balance of focus and relaxation. It is important to use mood setters to make the meditation place even more tranquil. For instance, one could meditate to candlelight since harsh lights often induce more anxiety. Incense can also help with this mood setting process.
Once the meditator is comfortable and has the scene set for effective reflection, it is time to settle in. Although most think of sitting on the floor with back straight, legs folded beneath, and arms slightly out when picturing meditation, this isn’t required to achieve the focus sought. Actually, sitting in any way, so long as it’s comfortable, is perfectly fine. Next, the eyes should be closed, effectively shutting out distractions. Then, the meditator will begin to focus inward, breathing deeply and evenly.
Choose a Mantra
A mantra is spoken aloud and helps a meditator to have greater success in finding the inner calm they are looking for. Traditionally, the mantra is related to bliss. However, for those with PTSD, it may be more useful to find a term which verbally translates precisely what the person is striving to achieve. So for instance, a person meditating to help with the ugliness of post-traumatic stress may choose a short mantra such as “peace” or “hush.”
If this type of mantra isn’t desired, it may be more helpful to use a short phrase or word that has personal meaning, such as a religious saying, quote, or prayer. Any of these are fine as long as it brings about restfulness.
Another common technique for finding an effective mantra is to use a simple word from another language. This often works well because the meditator is able to focus on simply chanting the word as opposed to focusing on the word itself. However, choosing a mantra outside of one’s mother tongue should still somehow relate back to peace.
Once a mantra has been chosen, it should be chanted at each session, ideally, for 20 minutes. When chanting, a meditator should deliberately and carefully pronounce the word over and over without rushing. A person could slow the mantra down syllable by syllable if necessary.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that unpleasant feelings will try to surface as the mantra is being repeated. This is why it is important to focus on the mantra exclusively and to give no quarter to flashbacks or stress. The idea is not to bury these uncomfortable occurrences, but to simply put them in a corner of the mind deliberately and then to continue the chant. Doing so is actually acknowledging and then redirecting negative thoughts.
Back to Reality
Once the 20 minutes has passed, it is time to come slowly back to the here and now. The first step is to end the mantra and look around slowly. There should be no rushing this step. One should take the time to allow the mind to acclimate back to the present. Once it feels right, stand and stretch. It is time to rejoin life as it was before the chanting began.
Utilize the Mantra Frequently
Any time symptoms flair up, it is advisable to turn to the mantra for help. The mind will eventually begin to associate the spoken mantra with a peaceful feeling. At any time that a person feels overwhelmed, it is helpful to have a mini meditation session if possible.
Although meditation has proven to be a tremendous help to those who suffer from PTSD, it is not a quick fix. At least 6 weeks should be dedicated to the use of meditation, and it may take just this long for any noticeable relief to come. However, those who stick with the process find it to be a game changer. Find more insight on meditation go here. Seek assistance if necessary, such as Meditation in Cheltenham by Steve Brisk, or with a doctor who understands alternative medicine.
Brick Lane 05/08/12 by Garry Knight @Flickr.com