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How to Build Up Your Confidence after PTSD

written by: Stephanie Torreno • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 4/20/2011

Those who have experienced trauma often have to contend with its long lasting effects. Even with recovery from PTSD survivors may struggle with low self-esteem of lack of self-confidence. The following article contains advice on regaining confidence after PTSD

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    Individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from many different and difficult circumstances. Veterans coming home from war, people who have lived through natural disasters, and survivors of physical and sexual abuse all may develop PTSD symptoms. While medication and therapy can treat this disorder’s various and wide ranging effects, individuals often find that confidence is one of the most difficult issues to deal with. However, those embarking on the road to recovery can do many things to help themselves in regaining confidence after PTSD.

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    Regaining Confidence after PTSD

    If you are coping with the after effects of trauma and PTSD symptoms, you likely feel vulnerable and unable to control your life. You can follow these tips, however, to take control of your life and help yourself.

    • Maintain a regular schedule – No matter what type of trauma you have experienced, you can feel safe again and regain some control in your life. Eating, shopping, driving, working, and exercising can give you a healthier outlook and show you that life does continue. Typical activities may not feel normal right away, but slowly, small successes will help in regaining confidence after PTSD and achieving emotional stability.

    • Stay in touch with friends – After traumatic situations, friends may avoid individuals coping with the aftermath. This is exactly the time, however, that friends are needed the most. Individuals should be very specific in what they need from friends, whether that is telling them to limit physical contact or to just be available to talk.

    • Keep doing the activities you like to do, or find new things to try – Depending on what type of trauma you experienced, you may not feel like going out to drink or date. Participating in simpler activities such as going to the mall, to the movies, or out with friends, though, can provide casual social opportunities without pressure. Joining a group at church or people with similar interests may also provide new opportunities.

    • Start exercising – As always, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, swimming) in moderation increases feel-good hormones and boosts self-esteem.

    • Practice relaxation techniques - Relaxing the muscles, deep breathing, meditating, praying, listening to soft music, and doing yoga can at first increase disturbing thoughts and feelings by blocking out the temporary distractions, or noise of the external environment. But in the long run, though, quiet meditation and relaxation techniques combined with music and physical activities can decrease these negative sensations and feelings while increasing positive ones.

    • Volunteer in the community – Helping someone else can help yourself. Giving back to the community can help you feel important and show you what you have to offer others.

    • Keep updated about the case – If the traumatic event was a crime, receiving information from police and detectives can aid in resuming control and regaining confidence after PTSD. Even if the suspect remains unidentified, the minutest detail can help solve a case.

    By following these tips, you will feel empowered as you move forward with your life. This empowerment will lead to the confidence you need to improve the aspects of life that are within your control.

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    References

    Glendale Police Department. www.glendaleaz.gov/court/documents/6039brochure.pdf

    National Center for PTSD. reachnola.org/pdfs/selfhelpfollowingdisasters.pdf