The Best Ways Veterans With PTSD Or Suicidal Thoughts Can Practice Self-Help

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For many veterans, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a part of life that provides new challenges every day. Sometimes, even with therapy and medication, the stress and anxiety sustained from military combat can surface when it’s least expected. That’s why it’s important for veterans to be able to practice self-care and to be knowledgeable about the many different ways they can help themselves get through the worst times without turning to drugs or alcohol.

Finding inner strength is a wonderful side effect of practicing self-help. After suffering through a traumatic experience, it can be difficult to see our true selves through the cloud of guilt, shame, anxiety, and fear. However, there are many ways to work on keeping yourself healthy, safe, and happy when you’re alone. Here are some of the best.

Working with animals

Working with animals has been proven to be beneficial for many individuals with mental or mood disorders, as well as PTSD, because they provide emotional support and can be trained for many different services. You might also consider volunteering at an animal shelter, adopting a dog, or even walking dogs as a part-time job.

Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness simply means getting in tune with yourself in every way and opening up your mind in order to learn thoughtful practices. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is to do yoga or meditate; check out your local YMCA or look online for classes near you, and try to keep an open mind. Sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing can help you find a way to control your thoughts and emotions.

Peer support groups

It can be extremely helpful for veterans to have someone to talk to who has had similar experiences. Peer support groups are a great way to find others who are going through PTSD or have seen combat during a war, and they don’t have to be face-to-face meetings; there are also online support groups. If you feel like you need to talk outside of your therapy sessions, this can be a wonderful way to seek help.

Find a job that makes you happy

If you feel up to working and your doctor says it’s okay, find something that makes you happy. If you enjoy being outdoors, seek a job that will let you work outside, such as landscaping, gardening, or surveying. If you need something that allows for a peaceful day, try your local library or university. Colleges often need research assistants, and these jobs are set in a quiet, studious environment or can even be done at home in some cases.

It’s important to remember that none of these practices are replacements for medication, counseling, or other therapies you might be involved in. If you’re unsure whether any of these are right for you, consult your doctor or caregiver.

Article Submitted by: Jasmine Dyoco, Educator Labs. For more information contact Educator Labs at information@educatorlabs.org.