It’s hard to keep up hope on a detour. Maintaining an empowered approach to Mental Health all the time can be difficult, and I often personally struggle with symptoms of PTSD. These are some reminders I give myself that often help me:
1.) Try to see the good in circumstances
It wasn’t easy, but when stuck in hospitals throughout 27 traumatic surgeries, I kept a gratitude list so I could remember that there was still good in my life. It helped me see things differently. What is the opportunity in your obstacle?
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
― Martha Washington
So how do you find the positive when your pain – physical or emotional – screams louder than an 1980’s stereo?
2.) Practice self-care.
“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let’s start with a grateful list form A to Z. You don’t have to start with A. Find any letter you can think of. Breakfast! (My favorite B-word!) Just make sure to take the list along and fill it out before the day is through!
3.) Ground yourself. When negative thoughts or painful emotions are speaking louder than anything else around you, it’s hard to be present. Instantly, I go right into my head – I’m worrying, self-consious and slipping slowly into pity-party mode. Help! I’m sucked into my mind!
Learn how to stay present. Here are some more tips:
4.) Say an affirmation. Gooogle “affirmations” yourself “I choose to live in the present.”
5.) Breathe. It sounds easy, I know. But you’d be surprised how often you stop breathe when you start overthinking. Breathe deeply – it’s calming and healthy! You can read more about the amazing benefits of deep breathing here. Need some practice? Breathe along (sounds crazy, I know)with this Youtube guided meditation by Eckhart Tolle TV, and when you’re ready to lie down, learn how opening up your back can open the pathway to breathing…and presence!
5.) Awareness Without Judgement. Notice every physical sensation in your body. Have a chat with what I like to call my Five Superheros: Taste, Touch, Sight, Sound, Smell. Think I’m crazy? I call them my superheros because they save me in the nick of time when I’m about to get lost in anxious thoughts. When I start worrying or pitying myself, I call on these rockstars before I can think one more thought.
6.) Quick! At this very second, name the first thing you…
Taste (it can be air!)_______
Your five senses help you stay grounded, no matter what. I’d love to hear some of your tips on how to get grounded in change.
Don’t get stressed – get grounded. Even when life takes a detour, you can always stay grounded in YOU.
Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking.
As the creator of the Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman autobiographical musical, she’s toured theatres nationwide, along with a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses. To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others thrive through difficulties. Learn more: amyoes.com.