Dealing with trauma and PTSD is always complex and challenging. In this article, you will find guided meditation for healing Trauma that will help you on your path to healing.
Pain and loss are universal experiences. Everyone goes through them, yet you do not hear people talking about their effects. According to the National Center for PTSD of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one disturbing or distressing event. These events can lead to trauma.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is an emotional and psychological response to distressing events such as accidents, physical and sexual assault, abuse, war, disaster, or witnessing death or injury at close range. After the event, it is typical to experience physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea and emotional symptoms such as shock and denial. These symptoms eventually subside, and people who experience them are usually able to move forward with their lives. However, some people find it challenging to move on and go on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What is PTSD?
Witnessing or experiencing a disturbing or dangerous event involving someone close to you may cause you to develop post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. During the viand event, the body produces hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to flood your nervous system and trigger your body’s defense mechanism. When the event is over, the body stops producing these hormones and “resets” the nervous system to start the healing and racy.
It is important to note that not everyone’s bodies and brains work the same way. In some cases, post-traumatic stress develops into a disorder. It means the body goes through chronic stress, which keeps the system from resetting. As a result, healing and recovery take a longer time to happen.
Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event develops PTSD, and not everyone who has PTSD has witnessed or experienced a life-threatening event such as a war. Some people develop PTSD from a sudden loss of a loved one or a job or persistent threat from the environment.
Symptoms of PTSD
Not all traumatic experiences lead to post-traumatic disorders (PTSD). But different causes of trauma have typical symptoms of PTSD. These are the primary symptoms, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):
Re-experiencing or re-imagining the traumatic event is the most common symptom of PTSD. It usually happens in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. And they are often accompanied by physical sensations such as trembling, racing heart, sweating, and pain.
Hyperactivity is also another symptom of PTSD. It refers to hyperactivity of the nervous system. That often leads to insomnia and other sleeping problems, angry outbursts, irritability, and feelings of guilt, shame, and sadness.
Another typical symptom of PTSD is emotionally numbing. Some people tend to numb their emotions by avoiding places, objects, and events that remind them of the traumatic event. This may help to a certain extent, but it is only for a short while. You need to face and feel your emotions to cope with and manage them.
Whether you experienced something traumatic to yourself, not to other people, one thing is for sure. PTSD can cause depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and panic. In cases like this, it is best to seek help from a medical professional. They can approach PTSD using evidence-based treatments, such as mindfulness therapy.
Meditation for Healing PTSD
Psychotherapy, with or without medication, is the first line of treatment for people who have PTSD. However, many people do not go to therapy because they fear others will think they are crazy or guilty and worry about the cost. As a result, many therapists suggest mindfulness-based treatments. Fortunately, many studies show that mindfulness meditation and other types of meditation have the potential to help people with PTSD cope and heal from their trauma.
6 Ways Meditation Can Help in Trauma Healing
Meditation is an ancient practice with vast applications. It has many lineages and techniques. Mindfulness meditation is just one of them. It is the practice of “being aware of the present moment.” Other forms of meditation include loving-kindness meditation and mantra meditation. There are six ways meditation, in any form or technique, may help in trauma recovery:
Reduces Your Stress
The chronic stress your body experiences when you have PTSD leads to a spike in the production of cortisol. Cortisol, at high levels, can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar level. It can also add more issues, such as depression and anxiety. A study in 2013 shows that mindfulness meditation lowers the production of cortisol in the blood. This finding suggests that meditation lowers stress and reduces your risk of diseases caused by stress.
Alters Your Brain
Trauma can alter how your brain works. The brain is capable of recovering and healing without intervention. However, the brain starts to work differently with chronic stress, such as in PTSD. Instead of engaging the amygdala and storing memories of a traumatic event based on how our five senses experienced it, it works by storing the event as visual images and repeating them. PTSD also damages the hippocampus part of the brain, which is responsible for keeping memories. Thus, people with PTSD get stuck in a loop of visualization and re-experiencing the traumatic event in their heads.
Meditation may help in reversing the changes in the brain caused by PTSD. It boils down to the amygdala and engages the hippocampus. As a result, you don’t repeat and re-experience the traumatic event. Furthermore, studies show that practicing meditation improves your brain’s neuroplasticity. It increases your brain’s ability to reorganize neural connections, which helps get you “unstuck” in a loop of terrible trauma.
Increases Your Positive Emotions
When you have PTSD, you re-imagine and re-experience negative emotions you had during the traumatic event. While you cannot stop the thoughts from flowing because that is what the brain does, you can replace these thoughts with something positive.
Meditation helps to make you more aware of your thoughts. When memories about the traumatic event start arising again, instead of following this train of thoughts, you can snap back and notice the present moment again or to the object of meditation.
Enhances Your Sleep
PTSD often causes nightmares and insomnia. That is because stress images the amygdala, or the part of the brain associated with fear. In return, you either overthink the past traumatic event and cannot fall asleep or wake up with nightmares about it. Studies show that meditation shrinks the amygdala while the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the part that gives you mental clarity, thickens.
Controls Your Anxiety
Sufferers of PTSD show symptoms of hypervigilance. That is because the nervous system is always on the flight, fight, or freeze response. It increases their anxiety levels, which makes leads to more issues. Several studies show that meditation is moderately effective in improving anxiety.
Meditation is all about self-awareness. Awareness of yourself helps you in noticing your thoughts and emotions. When you are aware of yourself, you will see when objects or events trigger you to re-imagine your traumatic experience.
Tips for Guided Meditation When You Have PTSD
Meditation has great potential to help people with PTSD find healing. But it is also important to mention that not everyone may benefit from it. So, if you want to try meditation for PTSD and trauma, here are some tips for you:
Practice Meditation with a Trauma-informed Therapist
Indeed, meditation is beneficial to people with post-traumatic stress disorder. But practicing it, especially for the first time or on your own, can trigger flashbacks of the traumatic event and exacerbate your stress. Therefore, it’s best to practice it with a therapist or a meditation teacher with experience and knowledge of both meditation and trauma. A therapist or teacher understands what you are going through and will know how to deal with flashbacks when they do occur. They can also give you guided meditation for PTSD customized for your situation.
Practice Meditation Only in Place Where You Feel Safe
Post-traumatic stress disorder can make you feel unsafe and anxious in many places and situations. So, make sure that when you meditate, you only do it in places that feel safe. Otherwise, staying in the present moment will be challenging and might trigger your trauma.
Practice Other Forms of Meditation
Not all forms of meditation are created equal. If mindfulness meditation does not work for you, try other types of meditation, such as loving-kindness or breathing meditation. You may also try meditative activities, such as walking, practicing yoga poses, knitting, or journaling.
Guided Meditation Scripts for PTSD and trauma
A 10-Minute PTSD Guided Meditation
In this guided meditation, the teacher will help you direct your thoughts and help you detach yourself from your traumatic experiences. If you are new to meditation and do not know if it will trigger in you, it is best for you since it is only 10 minutes. Furthermore, this guided meditation for healing should be a supplemental treatment only. So, consult your doctor or therapist for professional help or treatment.
12-Minute Guided Meditation for Healing Trauma
This guided meditation for trauma healing is another video I recommend. It shows you by locating the trauma in your body and releasing it. We often retain our trauma in the body, which causes us real physical pain. However, we feel lighter and more relaxed once we release it. As a result, we feel better.
Visualization of PTSD to Get Relief from Trauma
This guided meditation for trauma relief is 32 minutes long. It will guide you through forgiving yourself for being ashamed of your trauma and not giving yourself compassion. It also guides you to forgive yourself for coping mechanisms you had that damaged you or your relationship with others. It is a healing meditation.
Guided meditation for healing trauma & PTSD can be a powerful tool for curing those suffering from PTSD. By focusing on breathing, mindfulness, and positive visualization, individuals can tap into their inner selves and find peace and calm. It can help them reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, improve sleep quality, and restore a sense of control and empowerment. However, it’s important to note that meditation is not a substitute for professional help, and those with severe PTSD should seek guidance from mental health professionals. With consistent practice and a willingness to open up to the process, guided meditation can be an effective addition to an overall PTSD treatment plan.
We invite you to join us on our free meditation course 30-day Meditation Challenge to connect deeply with yourself through meditation.