Nearly 70% of Americans have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives, and 20% have gone on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When this condition develops, daily life becomes much more difficult to manage. Nightmares can make it difficult to sleep at night, and stress and anxiety become a “normal” way of functioning. Relationships are much more difficult to manage, and flashbacks can suddenly bring out anxiety and panic attacks. The journey to healing from PTSD is a long one, but thankfully there are many strategies that can be used to help a person heal and restore.
Last year, Dr. Matthew Tull, a professor and director of anxiety disorders research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told Very Well Mind, a website that publishes relevant information on a variety of psychological conditions, that expressive writing can improve physical and psychological health for those struggling with PTSD. He explained that journaling can reduce body tension as well as restore focus – something that many people with PTSD tend to struggle with. He suggested a number of writing prompts, such as:
- Writing about what you learned from the traumatic experience, whether it was good or bad
- Writing about how the traumatic experience made you feel, both emotionally and physically
- Describing some of the key causes of stress in your life right now, and if it’s changed since the traumatic event
- Exploring how your traumatic experience has impacted your relationships with others
- Finding positive ways to apply what you’ve learned from your trauma to help other people
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy found that writing therapy can not only help a person find closure to their past, but it can also become a grounding basis for support. The narratives that we create tell the stories of our lives, and writing therapy can help us uncover some of the thoughts and feelings that have gone on “unnoticed” – leaving us with greater space to heal.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.