Home Science Education Coping With PTSD: Unpleasant Thoughts

Coping With PTSD: Unpleasant Thoughts


For those of us who are continually battling our PTSD I’m sure you’ve recognized those unpleasant or intrusive thoughts and memories that creep their way into your mind and start stirring up a mass of emotions. These thoughts can upset us greatly and in and of themselves trigger us. These thoughts can grab hold of the reins and take over our lives making every day life pretty crappy, so let us do something to disempower those thoughts in order to take our lives back. Mindfulness can be used to step away from your thoughts and take away the power they have on impacting your life. What I’m about to teach you will only take about 15 minutes of your time and will help you to become mindful of your thoughts.

Step One– Get comfy in whatever position you choose, just make sure you relax and are not tensing any part of your body.

Step Two– Stop peeping with those peepers, close your eyes.

Step Three– Take notice of your breathing, pay attention to every tiny little detail. Take deep breaths and with each breath in focus on how the air feels going through your nostrils, down your trachea, and into your lungs. How does your chest feel as it rises? How does you abdomen feel? As you breath out pay special attention to how your body exhales. Does the air feel warmer on the way out? How does your chest and abdomen feel? What sensations do you get through your body? Pretend your cycle of breathing is like the waves of the ocean and ride the waves of your breathing.

Step Four– At whatever point you decide, turn your focus onto your thoughts and be aware of whatever thoughts that may be strolling along through your brain. Take a step back from your thoughts, try look at them as mere objects and try to imagine them as tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, or clouds floating through the sky, or leaves drifting down a lazy river. Don’t try to follow or hold onto your thoughts, let them come into your mind, expand, then drift away.

Step Five– You will eventually get caught up in a thought, this is completely normal and okay. Every time you feel yourself indulging and following a thought, recognize that you got distracted and bring your awareness back into the position of observing your thoughts sail by.

Step Six– Once you are ready, bring your focus back to your breathing. Deeply breathe in, and exhale slowly, paying special attention to the little nuances of breathing. When you feel it is time, open your eyes and sit with the serenity invoked by this exercise, then continue on with your day.

This is a wonderful exercise to do and it is extremely relaxing, it is best to make a habit of doing it at least once a day. Remember, getting caught up in your thoughts is completely natural, don’t let it discourage you, just recognize what has happened and bring yourself back into the state of observing the thoughts as they wander through your mind. Don’t let your intrusive thoughts rule over you, practice this exercise and take control of your mind.


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Sean Culver
Sean’s fascination with Martial Arts began when he was a child going to karate classes in a gym at a local school in Lake Forest, CA. Although his training was cut short, his passion was not. Over the years he became active in competitive wrestling where he took first place in almost all tournaments he competed in. Upon graduating High School Sean felt a higher calling to serve in the military, more specifically, the Army Airborne Infantry. During his time in service he trained in Modern Army Combatives, which is based largely on Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, as well as extensive training on military weapons and tactics. Due to his mental and physical prowess he was sent to intensive training for hand to hand combat tactics where he honed his skills for combat in full battle attire. Having done over two years of combat time in Afghanistan, Sean can bring to light a new side of fighting and tactics that he has not only experienced first hand, but has employed while being in direct contact with the enemy. In addition to Modern Army Combatives, Sean has also trained in Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wing Chun. With as much as Sean loves the Martial Arts, it was only natural that competitive fighting and MMA would draw him into its world of high class fighters.