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 4


Health Literacy Focus: Understanding Psychological Symptoms


Understanding Concentration.

People with PTSD think differently, often struggling to pay attention and remember things. These difficulties are related to the impact of the traumatic experience on the brain and its functioning. People with PTSD or those who have experienced trauma may be constantly on edge or alert, scanning their environment for potential threats; this hypervigilance can make it challenging to focus on tasks that require sustained attention, as attention is frequently drawn to perceived dangers. Further, intrusive thoughts, memories, or flashbacks related to the traumatic event can disrupt concentration and can be distressing, making it difficult to concentrate on other things. PTSD can also lead to a state of hyperarousal, where you may feel constantly on edge or keyed up, which can make it challenging to relax and focus, affecting concentration and attention. Trauma can also impact memory functions, making it harder to retain and recall information, which can contribute to difficulties in concentrating, especially when trying to follow complex or detailed instructions. These difficulties can impact work, relationships, and even your ability to enjoy hobbies or activities. Research found memory, learning, and attention deficits in older trauma survivors with PTSD, making intervention to correct these deficits particularly important.

Coping Toolkit: Brain Training


What is Brain Training?

Brain training involves activities or exercises that target cognitive functions like sustained, selective, and divided attention. The goal is to challenge and strengthen the associated neural pathways, thus improving concentration and attention. This training can include mental exercises like puzzles and brain teasers, which can enhance focus and concentration.

Other activities that improve concentration include mindfulness meditation, regular physical exercise, getting plenty of high-quality sleep, eating a healthy, balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and managing stress.

Try It.

Stop Multitasking: Focus on one task at a time. Make a daily list of tasks and choose one to work on at a time.

Treat Your Mind Like a Muscle: Practice focusing gradually. Start with shorter periods of focus and gradually increase to longer periods.

Find Your Peak Hours: Identify when you are most focused and productive, then schedule your most important tasks during these times.

Avoid Distractions: Minimize external distractions like phone notifications and interruptions from others.

Maintain Realistic To-Do Lists: Include only achievable tasks on your daily list and schedule breaks in between tasks.

Take Short Breaks: Give your mind occasional breaks to refresh and maintain focus.

Create Daily Habits and Routines: Establish routines that condition your brain for focused work.

Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness activities like meditation to improve concentration.

Improve Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep, as it helps improve concentration and memory.

Make Time for Exercise: Regular physical activity promotes brain health and cognitive function, improving focus and productivity.

Self-Care Activity: Sleep


Sleep Tips.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends! This helps to regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Develop a calming pre-sleep routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. This can include activities like reading a book, putting on a scented lip balm, taking a warm bath, wearing a sleep mask, or practicing relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditation.

Make Your Sleep Environment Comfortable: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using earplugs, an eye mask, or a white noise machine to minimize disturbances. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to support restful sleep.

Utilize Light Exposure: Exposure to light before sleep, especially blue light from screens, can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Avoid screens (phones, tablets, computers, and TVs) at least an hour before bedtime and use blackout curtains to block external light sources. Consider incorporating bright light, such as sunshine or a happy light, into your morning routine to further improve your sleep.

Be Mindful of Your Diet: What you eat and drink can impact your sleep! Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. While alcohol might help you fall asleep initially, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night. Opt for a light, healthy snack if you’re hungry before bed.

Get Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. However, try to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can have the opposite effect. Aim to finish exercising at least a few hours before you plan to sleep.

Manage Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety can significantly impact your ability to fall and stay asleep. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, or yoga. Practice gratitude and focus on positive aspects of your day to calm your mind before bed.

Limit Naps: While short naps can be beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your nighttime sleep. If you need to nap, try to keep it to 20 to 30 minutes and avoid napping late in the afternoon or evening.

Avoid Stimulants: Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants that interfere with sleep. Avoid consuming them in the late afternoon and evening. Instead, opt for herbal teas or decaffeinated beverages if you want a warm drink before bed.

Optimize Your Sleep Position: Find a sleep position that supports your spine and reduces discomfort. If you suffer from back pain, try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your legs.

Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you consistently struggle with sleep despite following these tips, consider consulting a healthcare professional. There may be underlying issues, such as sleep disorders or other health conditions, that need to be addressed.

Remember, sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for your well-being.

Try It.

Relaxation Technique: Mindfulness-Meditation Exercises


What is Breath Awareness Meditation?

Breath awareness meditation is a form of meditation where you focus on your breath. The goal is to pay attention to the sensations of breathing, such as the rise and fall of the chest or the feeling of air passing through the nostrils, and to bring the mind’s attention back to the breath whenever it wanders. This type of meditation develops mindfulness, which is the ability to be fully present and aware of the current moment. By focusing on the breath, you can learn to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment, which can help reduce stress, improve concentration, and promote a sense of calmness and well-being.

Try It.

Begin by finding a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. Start by taking a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, letting go of any tension or stress with each exhale.

Bring your awareness to your body. Notice any areas of tension or discomfort, and allow them to relax with each breath. Scan your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations without judgment. Just observe and breathe. 

Now, bring your attention to your breath. Notice the natural rhythm of your breathing, the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen. You can choose to focus on a specific area where you feel the breath most prominently, such as the nostrils or the belly. As you breathe in, silently say to yourself, “inhale,” and as you breathe out, silently say, “exhale.”

Thoughts, sensations, and emotions may arise. That’s okay. When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the breath without judgment. Imagine your thoughts as clouds passing by in the sky, and let them drift away as you return your focus to your breath.

After 5 to 20 minutes, slowly bring your awareness back to your body and the space around you. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and when you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

Take a moment to notice how you feel after the practice. Remember, the key to breath awareness meditation is to be gentle with yourself and to practice regularly. Each session may feel different, and that’s perfectly normal.

Journal


Weekly Journal Prompts:

 

Additional Resources


How to Fall Asleep: Turn off Worry and Insomnia With This Quick Skill –

Many websites also offer games that can help train your attention and concentration. Brain HQ offers subscription-based attention games.

Brain HQ Attention Exercises – https://www.brainhq.com/why-brainhq/about-the-brainhq-exercises/attention/