Self-soothing techniques for PTSD

5 Self-soothing Techniques for PTSD

Self-soothing techniques have been used for as long as human beings have been on earth. Many of these techniques are employed unconsciously, without the user knowing that they are doing so. These techniques are designed, in essence, to calm the self. Some self-soothing techniques, such as biting one’s nails or crossing their arms, are an example of the sort of self-soothing techniques that one might unconsciously utilize. However, self-soothing techniques can greatly reduce stress and anxiety when utilized correctly. This is especially true in regards to self-soothing techniques for PTSD. While these techniques can be learned in a PTSD treatment center, they can also be found online and practiced at home. 

Struggling With PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing an event that can be considered terrifying or traumatic. While the symptoms of PTSD can begin to show themselves as early as within a month of a traumatic event, these symptoms can also lie dormant for quite some time. It could be years before PTSD symptoms are felt, leaving many confused as they begin to appear.

These symptoms can do a great deal of damage to one’s personal life, negatively affecting familial relationships, work performance, and social life. Because of this, when struggling with PTSD, a person has the unfortunate potential to become afraid of themselves. Those struggling with PTSD may experience the following: 

  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions
  • Intrusive memories 
  • Avoidant behavior  
  • Negative changes in mood or thinking 

Each of these symptoms comes with its own subset of symptoms which, depending on the nature and severity of the traumatic event, can be experienced at various levels of intensity. 

5 Self-Soothing Techniques Used For Coping with PTSD Symptoms 

When coping with PTSD symptoms, it’s best to equip oneself with as many tools as possible. Within this arsenal of coping mechanisms, self-soothing techniques have proven to be most helpful when battling symptoms. 

1. Get Active

The body is flooded with energy when it experiences PTSD symptoms. This energy can feel overwhelming and uncontrollable. That is why it’s important to do something with it. As the body begins to enter fight-or-flight mode, it’s important to take control of this energy and utilize it in whatever way is most beneficial. 

2. Cross Arms, Rock, Breath Deeply

A classic technique for coping with anxiety is crossing one’s arms, rocking back, and breathing deeply. Crossing the arms and hugging oneself makes the body feel contained and less out of control while breathing deeply helps calm the mind and reduce heart rate. Rocking produces the same sensation and feelings as a fetus nestled in the womb. Using these techniques in tandem can do a great deal to reduce feelings of stress and sadness. 

3. Put Your Hands In Water

Now, this one might seem simple, but that’s the beauty of it. The point of this technique is to create sensations outside of the body. While doing this, it’s important to focus on the sensation created by the water. Switch from warm to cold then back again. Try to relate the sensation felt in the hands to the sensations created by symptoms. 

4. Gentle Hand Technique

A well-known self-soothing technique for PTSD is the gentle hand technique. This technique involves closing one’s eyes and focusing on the body in an attempt to identify which part of the body feels the most stressed. Once this area is identified, merely cover this area with your hand for a few seconds, and breathe. 

5. Self-Massage 

Self-massage is another well-known technique used by those coping with PTSD symptoms. Similar to the gentle hand and crossed arms technique, this approach involves locating which part of the body feels most stressed and then messaging out tensions in that area. 

It should be noted that self-soothing techniques for PTSD aren’t a sure fix for those struggling with PTSD. PTSD requires professional guidance so that those suffering from the condition can better cope with their symptoms. These techniques help, but unfortunately are not a one size fits all answer. 

Finding Help at Promises-5 Palms

When dealing with mental illness, it’s important to have a medical professional that one can trust and feel comfortable with. At Promises-5 Palms, our staff is dedicated, experienced, and wants nothing more than to earn the trust of their patients. Quality care is not just our priority, it is our mission. For more information on self-soothing techniques for PTSD, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 1.844.675.1022.

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