Course Content
Month 1
This month, we will focus on understanding the intrusive and avoidant symptoms associated with PTSD and trauma, the importance and influence of physical exercise, and the calming power of breathing exercises. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage these symptoms, a self-care activity related to physical exercise, a breathing exercise, and journal prompts.
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Month 2
This month, we will focus on understanding the psychological symptoms associated with PTSD and trauma, the importance of eating a balanced and healthy diet, and the transformative power of relaxation techniques. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage your symptoms, a self-care activity related to nutrition, a guided relaxation exercise, and journal prompts.
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Month 3
This month, we will focus on understanding the reactive symptoms associated with PTSD and trauma, the importance of rest, and the therapeutic power of visual meditations. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage these symptoms, a self-care activity focused on rest, a guided visual meditation, and journal prompts.
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Month 4
This month, we will focus on understanding the psychological associated with PTSD and trauma, the importance of sleep, and the healing power of mindfulness meditations. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage these symptoms, a self-care activity related to sleep, a guided mindfulness meditation, and journal prompts.
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Month 5
This month, we will focus on understanding what cues are and how they impact you, the importance of social connection, and the soothing power of rhythmic movement and mindful exercise. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage these symptoms, a self-care activity related to connection, a guided rhythmic movement or mindful exercise, and journal prompts.
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Month 6
This month, we will focus on managing symptoms, the importance of celebration, and some additional relaxation techniques. Each week, we will focus on understanding your symptoms, a technique to help manage these symptoms, a self-care activity related to celebration, a relaxation technique, and journal prompts.
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Private: Trauma Recovery Program
About Lesson

Month 4 Week 3


Health Literacy Focus: Understanding Psychological Symptoms


Understanding Isolation and Detachment.

Detachment and isolation are common symptoms following trauma and fall within the broader category of avoidance and negative alterations in cognition and mood, which are core aspects of PTSD. Detachment refers to a sense of emotional numbness or disconnection from oneself and others. This can manifest in several ways, including difficulty experiencing positive emotions, reduced interest in once enjoyable activities, alienation from others, and experiencing depersonalization, a feeling of being detached from one’s body or mind. Isolation, on the other hand, often follows from detachment. It involves withdrawing from social interactions and activities, often due to avoidance of triggers related to the traumatic event, fear of judgment or misunderstanding, hypervigilance, and difficulty trusting others. Co-occurring issues with depression and anxiety can also contribute to isolation. As you can imagine, these symptoms can severely impact your quality of life, leading to strained relationships, occupational challenges, and a diminished sense of well-being.

It is important to know that loneliness and isolation are difficult for you and your loved ones, and, further, can negatively impact your health. Isolation and loneliness increase the risk and can maintain issues such as anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, immune system issues, and decreased cognitive function. Working to address loneliness and isolation, then, is crucial for recovery and improved quality of life.

Coping Toolkit: Activity Scheduling


What is Activity Scheduling?

Activity scheduling is a technique that can be particularly effective in addressing isolation and loneliness. It involves planning and organizing activities that are likely to bring you a sense of pleasure, accomplishment, or connection, thereby helping you re-engage with your environment and social networks. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of activity scheduling in improving social connectedness and reducing loneliness.

Try It.

To begin, take a few minutes to identify social activities you used to enjoy. Once you have a few ideas, set simple, specific, realistic goals for engaging in these activities, such as calling a friend, attending a community event, spending time with your significant other, or meeting with a friend. Once you have these goals, you can create a structured schedule that incorporates each identified activity into your week. Make sure you use a calendar or planner to organize your time, setting specific times for phone calls, social outings, or time with your loved ones. By having it on the schedule, you are committing to completing this simple activity.

You will also be tracking your mood around each activity with an activity-tracking worksheet that you can find here. You will fill in the activities you have committed to, whether you completed the activity, and then rate your mood after completing the activity.

Over time, these scheduled activities become integrated into your regular routine, establishing new, healthier patterns of behaviour that reduce isolation and loneliness. These activities will also increase your motivation and enjoyment to do more social activities. Think of it as an upward spiral to feeling connected again.

Self-Care Activity: Sleep


What is Scheduled Worry Time?

Worry is a common reaction to not knowing what might happen next. It can start small and grow quickly, seeming helpful at first because it makes us feel more prepared and in control. However, it can also make us ignore our feelings and avoid dealing with other emotions like fear or anger, which can lead to more stress and difficulty managing our emotions in the long run. Many individuals develop worry habits, particularly excessively worrying when lying down to sleep. Excessive worry is a key factor in various psychopathological conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and depressive disorders. Studies have shown that worry heightens physiological activity, such as cardiovascular and endocrinological activity, and dysregulates the immune system. By using scheduled worry time, a cognitive-behavioural therapy technique, you can help manage the amount of time and the timing of your worry. Scheduled worry time has shown promise in reducing worry and anxiety.

Try It.

Choose a Specific Time: Select a time that works for you, preferably during the day and not too close to bedtime to avoid disrupting your sleep.

Set a Time Limit: Decide how long your worry time will last, typically 15-30 minutes. This helps prevent excessive worrying.

Create a Worry Space: Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit and focus without distractions.

Start Worrying: During your designated time, allow yourself to worry about anything on your mind. Write down your worries if it helps.

Problem-Solve: If you identify specific problems during your worry time, brainstorm solutions or steps you can take to address them.

Stay Committed: Try to stick to your scheduled worry time every day, even if you don’t feel particularly worried. This can help train your brain to save worries for that designated time.

Transition out of Worry Time: When your worry time is up, switch your focus to something positive or engaging to signal the end of your worrying session.

Practice Mindfulness: Outside of worry time, practice mindfulness or other relaxation techniques to help manage worries that arise outside of your scheduled time.

Scheduling worry time can help contain worries and prevent them from consuming your entire day. It can also promote a healthier relationship with your worries by giving you a structured way to address them.

Relaxation Technique: Mindfulness-Meditation Exercises


What is Mantra Meditation?

Mantra meditation is a form of meditation that involves repeating a mantra, which is a word, phrase, or sound, either silently or aloud. The repetition of this mantra helps to focus the mind and prevent distractions, leading to a state of deep concentration and relaxation. Mantra meditation has roots in ancient Indian spiritual traditions, particularly in Hinduism and Buddhism, but it is practiced in various forms in many cultures and spiritual practices around the world.

During mantra meditation, participants typically sit comfortably with their eyes closed and repeat the chosen mantra. The mantra can be repeated rhythmically at a pace that feels natural, and the focus is on the sound and vibration of the mantra rather than its meaning. As the mind naturally wanders, you gently bring your attention back to the mantra, using it as an anchor to the present moment.

Derived from the Latin “meditatum,” meaning “to ponder,” meditation is a technique for resting the mind and accessing a state of consciousness distinct from waking, sleeping, or dreaming. Mantras, derived from Sanskrit, are transcendental sounds meant to release the mind from material anxieties, offering benefits through their energy. As such, mantra meditation aims for spiritual growth or mind relaxation, often leading to a state of restful alertness. Scientific research has shown that mantra meditation can induce physiological changes, such as shifting brain frequencies, reducing oxygen consumption, and improving cardiovascular health. Recent studies have also shown that mantra meditation can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress and improve mental health and quality of life. Other studies suggest that mantra meditation can reduce burnout and trauma symptoms.

Try It.

Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down; close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind. Take a moment to set your intention for this meditation. It could be to find inner peace, clarity, or simply to relax.

Start by gently repeating the mantra “Om” (pronounced as AUM) aloud. Feel the vibration of the sound within your body, focusing on its calming effect. As you continue to repeat the mantra, let go of any thoughts or distractions that arise. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the repetition of the mantra.

If you find it helpful, you can visualize the sound of the mantra as a radiant light or energy filling your body with peace and positivity. As you deepen into the meditation, allow yourself to experience a sense of oneness with the mantra, letting go of the sense of I and connecting with the sound.

After 5 to 20 minutes (or whatever feels comfortable), gradually bring your awareness back to your surroundings. Slowly open your eyes and take a few moments to reorient yourself to the present moment. Take a moment to reflect on your experience. Notice any changes in your mental or emotional state. Remember, the key to mantra meditation is repetition and focus. Allow yourself to surrender to the practice and embrace the peace it brings.

Journal


Weekly Journal Prompts:

 

Additional Resources


Mantra Meditation — What it is, how to practice, and the benefits