How Professionals are Using Meditation to Treat Symptoms of PTSD
Meditation has long been used as a tool to calm the mind, body, and spirit in times of stress. It is most often used to relax the practitioner and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Although there is no accurate record of when meditation first began being used as a practice, experts believe it started as early as 1500 BCE in the country of India. The act of mindfulness that meditation advocates is the center point for many of the major spiritual paths such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen.
In recent years, science has studied the intricate details associated with regular meditation practice and how it influences the mind and body on a biological level. Data revealed that practitioners who participated in the exercise lowered their blood pressure, fell asleep easier, and lead peaceful lives. Similarly, therapists who treat individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) found that the act of being mindful greatly impacted their patient’s lives. Today meditation is often advocated in these situations and below goes into how it is used to the greatest effect.
A leading component that meditation provides its users is the ability to deal with and accept difficult circumstances and events that have been experienced in the past. Much like guided hypnosis, meditation guides the person and allows him or her to access old memories and flashbacks in a calm and secluded environment. By following this method, individuals with PTSD were able to successful identify their triggers and create a behavioral therapy exercise regimen that would allow them to confront, and deal with those feelings.
To understand how this works, one must know the different areas of the brain and how they control our behavioral patterns and influence our decision making on a daily basis. The Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus are complex parts of the brain that regulate our emotional status and how we logically perceive the world and events around us. With patients suffering from PTSD, these areas become weakened which leads to the inability to control emotional outbursts, anger, sadness, and moments of melancholy. However, when a user adopts a daily meditation practice, these areas of the brain strengthen and allow the user to have a better grasp on their internal emotions and well-being.
From the data above, it’s easy to see how meditation and the act of being mindful transcends all spiritual and religious connotations associated with the practice. But it is actually a little more mundane in how it works. Veterans of the military looking to tackle PTSD, or therapists consulting for abuse or assault need to know that while meditation can be a good therapy to use, regular meditation along with medication and other practices can work together to alleviate and treat your unique situation.