Great website: “Meditation-PTSD”

4 Mar

Meditation is a wonderful and often overlooked method to help recover from and manage post-traumatic stress disorder. The techniques taught in meditation–breathing, mindfulness, and focus–can also be used to regulate intrusive symptoms of PTSD such as panic attacks and flashbacks. A study recently conducted about the efficacy of using meditation to treat American soldiers’ PTSD reported not only gains in their recovery, but also in their ability to retain new information:

Meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, mitigate insomnia, enhance immune system functioning, decrease pain from migraines, muscle tension, menses…you get the idea.

I attended meditation sessions at my local Zen Center while I was working through my trauma, and they were very helpful in calming my mind and lowering my anxiety.

I understand people’s reluctance to try it, but one of the great things about meditation is that there’s no one “right” way to do it. You don’t have to bend yourself into a pretzel: you can meditate in a simple kneeling or cross-legged position. I’ve also attended a meditation group where we sat in chairs.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of sitting in a Dharma room breathing incense smoke while surrounded by a bunch of Buddhist monks, please know that there is a variety of meditation styles and groups out there: do a little digging and find what works for you. There are low-key groups that approach it from more practical, less spiritual angles. I will say that I find doing it in a group to be very helpful because it provides support and instruction. Most communities have meditation centers and groups. You can find them through a simple Google search, through, or through review sites such as Yelp. The meditation meetings are usually inexpensive or free with the option of a donation. Many meet on evenings during the week and on weekend mornings.

If you’re the solitary type who prefers to try it solo, there are numerous DVD’s, CD’s, and online resources that can guide you through it.

Bottom line: there’s no harm in trying it, it’s affordable, and you might find it to be a natural, healthy alternative to piling on more meds to treat your anxiety and insomnia.

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