Category Archives: Life Lessons

How To Survive Holiday Travel


The holidays are a hectic time for many people. Between work, family, and social obligations, it can be hard to find time to relax. If you’re planning on traveling for the holidays, there are a few things you can do to make the process less stressful.

    • Plan holiday travel itineraries in advance
    • Travel during off-peak hours 
    • Start out well rested 
    • Build in extra money to your travel budget in case of emergencies
    • Arrive at the airport or other station early to more easily take care of last minute challenges 
    • Expect to run into snags
    • Pack light and carry on your bag, rather than checking it 
    • Allow extra time to travel from place to place and expect heavy traffic 
    • Send your gifts in advance or take gift cards
    • Limit alcohol and caffeine
    • Pack plenty of healthy snacks that travel well without refrigeration
    • Bring plenty of things to keep the kids happily occupied
    • Make waiting times go faster and regain a happy holiday feeling by meditating
    •  Use portable meditation props, like a favorite image on your smart phone or tablet
    • Plan to arrive at your holiday destination rested and excited to share your holidays with loved ones

Meditation Tips For Holiday Travel

  • Sit up straight and relax your shoulders
  • Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on deep breathing
  • Think about your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting 
  • Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans – just like you 
  • Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and enjoy that warm feeling 
  • Imagine wrapping up those good feelings and presenting them to everyone around you 
  • Gradually return your attention to the present moment 
  • Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating

Did you find this useful? Please share it with someone else who will enjoy it too!

To Your Success,

Juan




 

Tis The Season To Be Relaxed?! Follow These Tips


The holidays are comingT he holiday season is a time for joy, but it can also be a time of stress. If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of the holidays, there are some things you can do to make it less stressful. If in years gone by, stress has taken the fun out of this wonderful time of the year, then I say, it’s time to put the “jolly” back in your holidays, and create cherished holiday memories with these proven strategies.

  • Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect
  • Start holiday planning and preparations earlier
  • Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations
  • Stick to your budget
  • Scale down your holiday plans 
  • Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays
  • Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do
  • Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you
  • Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love?
  • Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness
  • Give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of
  • Establish start and stop times for parties
  • Take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time
  • Examine options for pre-made meals or catering services
  • Promptly ask for help when you need it
  • Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans in advance
  • Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension 
  • Use place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings
  • Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject
  • Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend
  • Cut down your gift list 
  • Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts
  • Ask for gift suggestions from the people on your gift list
  • Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy
  • Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures
  • Reduce the amount of money you spend overall for the holidays and per gift
  • Avoid making credit card purchases at holiday time
  • Think about making homemade food gifts to save dollars at holiday time
  • Shop early and place gifts in a gift drawer so you’ll be ready for the holidays
  • Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments
  • Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts. They’ll enjoy it and you can get more done.
  • Take time daily to meditate, even if only for a few minutes

Don’t let the stress of the holidays, ruin what should be a happy, joyful time. Use these tips,  share them with your perpetually stressed out friend/loved one. Follow blog!

If you are planning to travel to spend it with family or friends, then I have not forgotten you! Come back and check it out!

To Your Success,
Juan

The Power Of Gratitude: Why You Should Be Expressing It More Often


November! Yikes. 

Let’s take a break from mental health in this month, and focus, on you guessed it, gratitude:). November is Thanksgiving month in the US. If you believe we should be practicing gratitude year round, you are in the right place.

We all know that feeling of gratitude – when someone does something nice for us and we just can’t help but say “thank you.” But did you know that gratitude can actually have a powerful impact on your life? Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can lead to greater happiness, better health, and even improved relationships.

In our fast-paced, constantly-connected lives, it’s easy to forget the power of gratitude. We get wrapped up in our day-to-day worries and stresses and forget to take a step back and appreciate the good in our lives. But the truth is that gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel. Gratitude has been linked to improved mental and physical health, increased happiness and satisfaction, and even better sleep.

Gratitude has been shown to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health. Research has shown that gratitude can improve sleep quality, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost immunity. Additionally, gratitude can increase overall happiness and life satisfaction. When we express gratitude, we open the door to more positive experiences and emotions. We also start to attract more good things into our lives. Gratitude is like a magnet for happiness, and the more we express it, the more we will receive.

Given all of these benefits, it’s clear that gratitude is a powerful emotion. Yet, many of us don’t express gratitude as often as we should. Why is that?

There are a few reasons. For one, we often take the good things in our lives for granted. We may not even realize how lucky we are to have certain things. Additionally, we may not know how to express gratitude. We may not want to appear needy or unappreciative In our fast-paced, constantly-connected lives, it’s easy to forget the power of gratitude. We get wrapped up in our day-to-day worries and stresses and forget to take a step back and appreciate the good in our lives. 

So why not make a commitment to expressing gratitude more often? If you’re not sure where to start, try keeping a gratitude journal or simply taking a few moments each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. You may be surprised at how much better you feel when you start expressing gratitude on a regular basis.

Take a few moments each day to think about the things you are thankful for. You may be surprised at how much better you feel. Taking the time to intentionally express gratitude can make a world of difference. Try it for yourself and see how the power of gratitude can change your life for the better.

November’s posts will be dedicated to, yes, all things Gratitude:)

To Your Success,
Juan

 

The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Pt 1


Photo: Simran Sood

Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

It’s no secret that stress takes a toll on our mental and emotional health, but did you know  it can also wreak havoc on our physical health? In fact, stress is a major contributing factor to many of the most common health concerns, from heart disease to obesity. So what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re stressed? And more importantly, what can we do to combat the negative effects of stress?

Chronic stress can take a toll on your body, causing  a variety of symptoms. You may experience:
Headaches
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Fatigue
Digestive problems
Sleep problems

We will divide this segment in two parts, for the sake of time and attention span. Today, we will look at how stress affects our mental, emotional, social wellbeing and sleep habits, as well as useful coping mechanisms. Part two concludes by examining the affects on diet and eating habits, overall wellbeing.

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just not yourself, stress could very well be the culprit. Chronic stress can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. It can also make physical health problems worse.

If you’re struggling to cope with stress, there are things you can do to feel better. Talking to a therapist can help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

How Stress affects your emotional health
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps us regulate our metabolism, but when we’re constantly under stress, it can have a negative impact on our emotional health.

Studies have shown Cortisol can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, and interfere with our ability to form new memories and concentrate. In addition, cortisol wears down our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. 

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels, spending time with friends and family can also help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How Stress affects your social health
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your social life. You can become withdrawn and irritable, anxious and depressed, which in turn negatively affects your relationships. It is important to make time for yourself, and focus on your mental and emotional health.

How Stress affects your sleep.
Stress can cause us to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and it can lead to restless nights. Over time, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. Stress hormones like cortisol, can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Cortisol is a hormone that helps us deal with stress, but it also makes us more alert and can keep us awake at night. Racing thoughts and worry keeps us awake at night. Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension are not uncommon.

There are a few things you can do to try to improve your sleep. First, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine; taking a warm bath or reading a book. And finally, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization before bedtime.

Let me know if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Get Back In The Driver’s Seat


Is your life out of balance? From time to time, our lives can feel out of control. You spend too much time focussed on work, and your family life suffers. Or you spend too much money on your social life, and your finances suffer. Maybe you’re running yourself ragged and your health is taking a back seat. If this sounds like you, then I hope the following tips help!

Regain balance in your life with these strategies:

  1. Identify the different parts of your life. If you were going to divide your life into columns, what would the column headings be? For most of us, they would include family, work, health, finances, and social life. You might have additional categories such as music, spirituality, and volunteering.
  2. Start with your health. Is your health negatively impacted by your lifestyle? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating properly? How much exercise are you getting each day? Have you been to the doctor lately? How is your bodyweight? What can you do to improve your health?
  3. Evaluate your family life. Does your family only get attention when you have time left over from your other obligations? Are you spending enough time with your partner and children? What do each of them need right now? How can you provide it to them? How can you enrich your relationship with your family?
  4. Is your social life getting too much attention or not enough? Have you lost track of your friends? Is your family upset that you’re spending too much time socializing? Or maybe your overactive social life is causing challenges in other areas of your life. Consider what changes would help balance out your social life.
  5. Take a look at your values and priorities. What is most important to you? You can’t have it all unless your wants are quite limited. Make a list of your values and priorities. Alter your life to emphasize those things.
  6. Where are you wasting time? Perhaps you can bring your life back into balance by freeing up more time for what’s most important to you. First, identify how you’re wasting time and eliminate or minimize those activities.
  7. Learn to say “no”. There’s not enough time in the day to say “yes” to everything that crosses your path. This goes back to your priorities. One of the most effective ways to regain balance in your life is to eliminate the unnecessary. What can you live without? What will you be glad to get off your plate?
  8. Be grateful for what you have. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be easy to see the dark side of things. Remind yourself of how much you have in your life already. With a positive outlook, you’ll have a better chance of making progress. Begin each day with a grateful heart, try gratitude meditation, works wonders.
  9. Make a plan. Once you have a few ideas, make a plan on how you intend to put them into practice. Avoid the mistake of believing that identifying the cure is a cure in itself. It’s necessary to take action.

Everything gets out of balance once in awhile, including your life. The key is recognizing the challenge you face and setting priorities. Eliminate those things that don’t add value to your life so you have more time for the things that do. Take control of your life and create a life that truly fulfills you.

Here is a simple, free. Defining-Your-Life-Purpose-Goals-Worksheet-IV to kick things off. 

To Your Success,

Juan

How To Avoid Losing Yourself In a Relationship


Does the rest of your life suffer when you fall in love? Do you have a tendency to lose yourself in a relationship? I certainly have! Looking back, it’s rather terrifying, how easily and completely depended on another for “life support”?

It’s natural to be swept away when you first start dating someone new. The trouble starts when you no longer recognize who you are. It can happen in healthy relationships, especially if you have unrealistic expectations about romance. In less healthy relationships, it’s not too difficult if your partner tries to pressure or manipulate you into becoming dependent on them. Research Narcissist Personality Disorder. It’s a real thing. 

Learn how to balance love with the rest of your life. Try these tips for having a more fulfilling relationship with yourself and your partner. You can tell that you’re sacrificing too much if you know where to look.

Spotting the Warning Signs

  1. Maintain other connections. Neglecting your family and friends is one of the most common and obvious signs. Make time for them in your schedule. When you’re with them, be sure to talk about more than your new love interest.
  2. Do your job. Are you too distracted to meet deadlines and participate in meetings? Keep your mind on work when you’re at the office. Save personal calls and texts for lunchtime if necessary.
  3. Watch your spending. Maybe you’re celebrating a little too much with shopping sprees, overeating, or other indulgences. The sooner you slow down, the easier it will be to fix the damage.
  4. Enjoy your hobbies. It’s great if your partner introduces you to new interests but beware of giving up the things you love just to please them. For example, you can take a class while they go to a hockey game.
  5. Voice your opinions. Speak up for yourself. Let your partner know you like jazz more than hip hop. It’s natural to disagree sometimes.

Being Proactive

You may have noticed that even when you start a new relationship, you soon fall into the same patterns you established with your last partner. If you want things to turn out differently, you’ll need to address your personal issues. Albert Einstein said: “Doing the same things over and over, and expecting the same results is insanity”

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Boost your self-esteem. Make yourself a priority. Remember that you are worthy of love and respect just as you are. Treat yourself with compassion and repeat positive affirmations.
  2. Create boundaries. In a healthy relationship, partners encourage each other to set their own ground rules. Explain what you need and what you find unacceptable.
  3. Set goals. You’re less likely to lose yourself if you’re excited about other aspects of your life. Develop passion projects that motivate you to learn and grow. As a bonus, you’ll probably make yourself more interesting.
  4. Practice self-care. Treating yourself well makes you stronger and more resilient. It also reminds you of your worth. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Sleep well and deal with stress constructively.
  5. Spend time alone. Do you enjoy your own company? It’s important to have a healthy relationship with yourself in order to bond with others. Solitude gives you an opportunity to increase your self-awareness and center yourself.
  6. Take a break. If you’re dissatisfied with your love life, you might benefit from giving up dating for a while. Use the time to examine your dating criteria and form new habits.
  7. Consider counseling. Working with a therapist might help too. That’s especially true if you’re trying to recover from an abusive relationship or think that childhood issues are affecting your adult behavior.

Hold onto your identity when you’re in a relationship. Losing yourself is too high a price to pay for wanting to be a couple. You and your partner deserve to feel secure and loved for who you are. 

Wishing You Well,

Juan

 

Get Clear on Why You Care So Much


One way to learn to stop caring so much about irrelevant issues and thoughts of others is to dig in deep and study yourself in a new way to get to the bottom of the reasons you care so much. Three ways help you get clear on why you care so much that you can use.

Journaling 
You can use your computer, buy a specialized journal, or you can simply use a notebook you have created to journal. It’s up to you what type of system you use and whether it’s modern or analog. The important part is that you try to use your journal to express your thoughts, emotions, and stream of consciousness about a problem you’re trying to solve or a feeling you’re trying to explore without judgment or censoring.  Write in your journal every day when you’re trying to understand why you care so much. You may end up discovering your life purpose or a new reason for getting up each day, one you had not realized before. 

Meditation
Before you use your journal, it can help to clear your mind using meditation. Meditation practice is all about not thinking and not judging your thoughts or feelings even as they still happen during the meditation.  Each time you meditate, you can have a purpose of self-discovery, or goal to clear your mind and relax.  To practice this type of meditation, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Concentrate on your goals for the meditation, close your eyes, and start focusing on your breathing.  Think about the situation you’re trying to understand for a moment, then clear your mind. If any intrusive thoughts come in, brush them aside by refocusing on your breathing. You mustn’t allow any outside information or sensation to distract you during this time.  Many You Tube videos offer instructions and help.

Therapy
Today, we are fortunate to be able to access psychological therapy from the comfort of our homes using your computer or smartphone. Numerous companies offer this service and varying price points. In addition, many insurance companies include several sessions as part of your benefits.  If you seek therapy, make sure you find someone experienced working with you on overcoming people-pleasing and putting yourself last in life. Remember, your wants and needs matter too. Most therapists can guide you through the self-discovery process, to finally know what you want, regardless of what others think

Any or all three of these methods, help you become crystal clear regarding your motivations to seek approval from others and even help you stop doing it. Remember, what you want from life is important too, and following someone else’s dreams will never get you what you want and, more importantly, content in your life. 

Wishing You Well,
Juan

Approval Addiction


Today’s post might be uncomfortable for some. Anytime we are forced to closely look at more closely, the natural human reaction is to withdraw. No one likes being under a microscope. Receiving validation from other people feels good, so good that some people develop an addiction to receiving outside approval, instead of being motivated intrinsically. If you can’t motivate yourself without someone else’s approval, you may suffer from an approval addiction. The end result is anxiety, stress, depression, and yes addiction.  

Let’s dive into the signs you are addicted.

You’re Obsessed with Getting People to Express Interest in You
You like being on social media, dating sites, or any situation where you can attract attention. It might even be hard for you to settle down with a partner, because you enjoy the dating world more than being  partnered-up 

You Need Constant Reassurance 
When you are in a relationship, you find yourself asking whether they’re “mad” or “upset” with you. This may happen with lovers and friends, and even family members. If you often ask for reassurance about how someone feels about you, this may be due to a validation or approval addiction. 

You Like to Talk About Your Awesomeness
Sometimes people who aren’t confident will talk about impressive things they’ve done, to appear more worthy than they think they are, hoping others will agree and validate their thoughts about their awesomeness, even though they don’t generally believe it themselves. 

You’re Money Focused
If you tend to think more about money than the value you provide the world, you may have a problem with approval-seeking that is bordering on an addiction. Of course, money is a necessity, but it’s not the only thing important about you or anyone else. 

You Enjoy Name Dropping 
If you find yourself dropping names of well known people you’ve worked with or met, this is a sign of insecurity. You never need to make yourself look better by your company because you are special just as you are without anyone else. 

You Make Friends with Folks Based on Their Wealth or Reputation
 
When you look at your closest friend group, are they really your friends, or did you pick them based on what you think they can offer you? Friends should be chosen based on shared values, more than shared finances. 

Your Beliefs Change Depending on The Company You’re Keeping 
If you’re not keeping the same ideas and opinions across all friend and professional groups, you are part of, and you may be trying to please people too much. It’s okay to have your own fact-based ideas, thoughts, and opinions, and it’s okay for everyone else too. Hint: It’s also okay not to have any views or opinions about a topic you’re not educated enough about. 

You Prefer Being in Control of Each Social Situation 
When it comes to networking and making friends or building relationships, if you need to be the one in control of the event before you feel comfortable, you may have an issue with approval addiction. Letting other people oversee social situations and relationship building may seem scary because your self-esteem is low. Letting people lead is a clear sign that you are confident about your thoughts and ideas. 

You Easily Feed into Your Own Victimhood
 
If something starts going wrong, do you have a hard time seeing answers within yourself? Do you place blame on others? Do you feel good and safe being a victim instead of admitting where you have control and where you can make the change? 

Rejection Makes You Feel Out of Control 
If you’ve ever been rejected professionally or personally, you know it hurts. However, if you have an approval addiction, it might make you totally flip out if someone rejects you because you are doing everything (in your mind) to give them what they want, but they don’t want it anyway. If you take this personally, consider that you’re not even really being yourself and this rejection is not personal at all. 

Phew! There are some uncomfortable questions being asked in this post.  If you often find that you’re doing anything that you don’t want to do, only to gain acceptance of a person or group, you may be a people pleaser and even have an approval addiction. To overcome this, you need to figure out who you are, your personal values and design a path to reach your goals based on your own values. 

Next up, we will examine three ways to help you get clear on why you care too much!

Wishing You Well,
Juan

 

Strategies For Putting Yourself First


Below are some healthy ways to help you develop the habit, without burning bridges or negatively affecting your energy, enthusiasm, and motivation. These tips will help you achieve your goals, protect your mental and physical wellbeing, and overcome even your biggest challenges. Bear in mind, if you do have to burn some bridges, don’t dally, just get on with life, and know you are doing what is best for your future self.

Choose Your Purpose: Having a clear purpose is essential. It is the simplest, most basic thing every person needs to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. Without a purpose, you will end up living your life haphazardly. Your purpose also makes it easier for you to say ‘No’ to people and things that do not align with your highest good. Living it helps you identify what you need to do and when. Consciously reaffirming your purpose regularly multiplies your efforts of taking action.

Live by a Vision: Putting yourself first also requires that you develop a clear vision of the life you want to lead. A vision keeps you focused on the journey, and will allow you to effectively prioritize your tasks and projects as the important things will align with your purpose and vision of your ultimate life. To get clear about your vision, start by reflecting on these three questions: Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? How do you want to feel? If you are unsure about your vision, ruminating on these questions will assist you in getting clear. 

 Set Personal Goals and Plan: wise way to ensure your vision becomes a reality. Goals make the realization of your vision much more achievable, will keep you motivated and focused on what you want out of life. After taking the time to set your goals, set aside regular time to plan how you will achieve them.

 Learn New Skills: As you draw up your goals and develop your vision, you may find you need to learn new skills to make your ideal life a reality. Take some time to identify those areas that you may be lacking. Then take proactive steps to bridge the gap between your present level and your desired level.

Set Personal Boundaries: skill you need to master when learning how to put yourself first, because you will need it a lot on every step of your journey. That is especially true if you tend to be a people-pleaser. Others are used to you backing down and giving them what you want, so you’ll need to stay strong. Look them in the eye and kindly say, “No, thank you.” Even when they try to convince you to think otherwise, practice sticking to your decision by not get pressured into consenting. Setting personal boundaries is a vital skill because it enables you to defend your time and your rights which is an essential component of putting yourself first.

Get Active: Putting yourself first isn’t only about goal setting and getting ahead. It’s also about taking the time for self-care. After all, if you don’t take care of your health, you’ll be unable to live your purpose or fulfill your life’s vision. Put yourself and your health first by starting a program of regular exercise as soon as possible if you aren’t already doing so. Engaging in a brisk daily walk is all that’s needed to improve and maintain your health.

Eat Healthy: A healthy diet is equally as important as your body’s need to exercise. Eating a nutritious diet is a huge part of taking care of your health and putting yourself first. If your diet needs a major overhaul, take it one step at a time and work your way up to your ideal diet. Remember, putting yourself first is about being kind to yourself.

Get enough rest: Getting sufficient sleep is another essential component of putting yourself first. It is also necessary for boosting your performance and replenishing your energy. By getting enough sleep, you will be better equipped to face the hurdles of the new day with greater confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. Never allow anyone or anything come between you and the need to get enough sleep.

Schedule Relaxation: Sometimes you may be lacking the energy you need to live your ultimate life. Rather than trying to push through such times, it is better to maximize your relaxation and recovery. You can engage in activities that will help reduce fatigue and replenish your energy, such as meditation, yoga, massage, or a quick nap. If you find you run low on energy and motivation on a regular basis, start scheduling relaxation or downtime into your day. A consistent relaxation routine will keep you on more of an even-keel, so you don’t burn out.

Journal : Apparently, you have 60,000 or more thoughts per day. When you feel you have a lot to do and you are overwhelmed with too many ideas, journaling will help clear your head, can lead to better self-awareness, which is the foundation of putting yourself first. You can journal any way you wish—with paper and pen or by using an app. You might choose to journal every day or only when you feel overwhelmed or unsettled. Whatever works for you is perfect.

Practice Gratitude: Take some time each day to reflect on the positives in your life. It’s easy to focus on the things we’d like to change and neglect to be appreciative for all we have. It is very important to have a realistic perspective on your life and identify the positives for the sake of your health and wellbeing. As you find the time to write down and reflect on all the things you are grateful for each day, you will reduce your stress levels and naturally find more and more to be grateful for in your life.

Putting yourself first is something you must make a conscious effort to do. You must fill your cup first, or you will end up with nothing left to give.  Be prepared for pushback, as this new way of living might not sit well with those in your circle, who take, take, and take. Stand your ground, in a few months, you won’t recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Things You Should Know About Seeking Treatment For PTSD


There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to PTSD, and it most likely will not be resolved in a short amount of time. Furthermore, if there are comorbidities involved, it will take longer for the therapist to determine what diagnosis and treatment are appropriate. The type of treatment you or your loved one receives is up to your therapist, but below are some common forms of treatment.

Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a specific type of therapy used to help people change the way they view trauma. It has been effective in helping reduce symptoms of PTSD, and many mental health specialists recommend this course of action. It’s thought to be one of the most effective treatments available. Trauma changes the way a person feels about themselves and the world, often causing them to develop an overly negative and hopeless view of things. This type of therapy can help them begin to reprocess the way they think about things. 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Since avoidance is a symptom of PTSD, therapists will sometimes use a treatment called Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE). This treatment helps people confront the things they’re avoiding in increments. This type of therapy will induce more anxiety and stress than CPT typically does, so therapists will try to equip their patients with anxiety-reducing coping skills.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EDMR is a different kind of treatment than talking through traumatic events. Instead, the patient is asked to think about the traumatic event while the therapist directs their eye movement. It’s thought that the eye movement while remembering a traumatic event can help drain the emotion and negative feelings attached to it. This type of therapy is still relatively new and is considered a non-traditional form of therapy. 

Medication For PTSD
For some, medication may be helpful in addition to therapy. According to the National Center for PTSD, antidepressants are sometimes effective for treating symptoms of PTSD. These types of medications include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Your doctor or therapist can help you determine if medication might be right for you.

Treatment for PTSD may not be a cure, as with most mental health disorders total recovery can be difficult or unobtainable. However, many people who receive therapy see a significant and life changing improvement of symptoms. For some, therapy may even lead to a near absolution of symptoms. 

If you’re suffering from PTSD or you know someone who is, know that there are people who can help:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
  • For veterans, the National Center for PTSD is also available by calling 1-800-273-8255 or you can reach online here: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

Hotlines are a good short-term solution, that should be followed up with therapy work from a trained professional. Build up a support network of people ready and willing to help when symptoms of PTSD become overwhelming.  Be patient with yourself (or your loved one) because PTSD is a real disorder that requires time and care to improve.

Remember, setbacks don’t erase all progress. For best results, learn all you can about PTSD, seek professional help, and keep your focus on healing. 

To Your Success,
Juan