How's It Going?
A question that's asked as an alternative to 'hello' and rarely do we receive an honest answer. (Do we even want one?)
How are you? How are you sleeping? What are your energy levels like? How would you describe your mood and your social interactions?
I completed a training on PTSD and the therapeutic benefit of yoga recently. This is a topic that everyone needs to be aware of. So, listen up.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (I prefer the more modern term of Post Traumatic Growth, but more on that in another blog). If you experience a single traumatic event which overwhelms you it can develop into PTSD which has a range of psychological and physiological expressions. Like; disturbed sleep, extreme hyper arousal, low Heart Rate Variability and high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).
What is Heart Rate Variability (HRV)?
You have a natural heart rate or rhythm. It's natural state is affected by external and internal events. An external event like a loud and unexpected noise, an internal event like an upsetting thought or memory, both of those will increase the heart rate. Whilst a loved one touching your hand or a gratitude practice, could lower the heart rate.
People who are experiencing, stress, anxiety or PTSD have a lower heart rate variability. They tend to be stuck in a more aroused state, they're not great at dropping down into a soothed heart rate rhythm.
All sorts of life events can overwhelm a person. There's a lot of research being done on the intersection of Covid, trauma and anxiety. It won't surprise you to know that levels of anxiety in the general population are increasing, due to fears of the virus and the safety measures that have been put in place. For example a year ago someone sitting next to you on a train would have been an almost invisible moment in the day, if it happened today, it's likely you'd feel unsafe, threatened and hold your breath as you get up and move away, and maintain hyper vigilance of your 'symptoms' for a few days after that interaction.
With services already stretched and expecting an increase in demand it's unclear how countries and healthcare providers will respond. However, professional support is always recommended for people experiencing mental health issues. Speak to a doctor. Just don't leave it there;
The training I attended highlighted the efficacy of yoga and PTSD, how yoga compliments medical interventions. Yoga is free, it's available from a library book or online and there are no waiting lists. You can practice yoga however and whenever you like regardless of your age, fitness levels, physical abilities.
Take your time to explore different styles and teachers, until you find an approach that;
Supports your physical health
Provides a safe environment for socialisation
Offers an empowering world view
Creates a gentle mode of reconnection between the body and mind.
Enjoy exploring the benefits of yoga and meditation and I'm going to continue to write and share as much as I can with you.