There is no simple way to navigate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Finding the right personal approach to healing is crucial. However, while managing symptoms of PTSD, stress, depression, and anxiety is difficult, it is just as important to address the impact of PTSD on one’s spirit. Spirituality is an often enigmatic concept for many beginning to explore recovery, particularly from traumatic experiences.
Embracing a spiritual component while navigating one’s experiences can be instrumental in creating a truly transformative experience in recovery. Spirituality plays a large role in healing. Understanding the benefits of exploring spiritual recovery can help those suffering from PTSD open up to the possibility of change and create a more comprehensive, effective recovery plan.
The Continued Effects of PTSD
PTSD is a complex disorder that affects every aspect of one’s life. Whether one is navigating past traumas from one’s time in military service, overcoming traumas from one’s formative years, or processing any number of life-threatening or profound, emotionally damaging memories, PTSD can affect one’s mood, social life, spiritual beliefs, world view, emotional state, and much more. Those suffering from PTSD may also find it difficult to connect with others, including family members or loved ones, leading to feelings of isolation.
Along with feelings of guilt and shame, attempts to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol are also common. Some of the other continued effects of PTSD include:
- Panic attacks
- Pervasive shame or guilt
- Mood swings
- Distressing reactions to specific stimuli
- Avoidance of places, people, or topics
- Compromised feelings of self-worth
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Pervasive feelings of hopelessness
Each of these can continue to affect an individual in their daily life. Professional recovery programs are necessary to challenge the effects of PTSD. Embracing a spiritual component to each individual’s recovery can ensure that one’s efforts are effective in treating the whole self through each stage of recovery.
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The idea of “spirituality” can be difficult to readily accept due to its perplexing definition. Spirituality is any kind of belief or set of beliefs that seek to make sense of one’s self, environment, or world by feeling connected to other powers on a metaphysical level. While this definition lacks a concrete example, such an open-ended definition is by design.
Spirituality and religion can pair together, empowering individuals to feel connected to a higher power in whatever religious denomination one feels called by. However, embracing any particular religion is not necessary, and it is possible to embrace a spiritual component to recovery without adhering to any specific religious doctrine.
Spirituality can be a feeling and practice of connecting to nature, others, or to oneself on a mental and emotional level, with mindfulness practices, experiential therapies, mantras, yoga, and much more all working to help an individual feel more connected to their personal spiritual beliefs.
The Benefits of Spirituality in Healing
Embracing a spiritual component has a number of profound benefits for those overcoming the effects of PTSD.
PTSD and traumatic experiences are difficult to navigate, and there is a myriad of “what ifs” or “whys” that may plague one’s mind following these events. Embracing spiritual practices can help an individual make a bit more sense of the world around them, as well as contextualize one’s experiences and beliefs.
Trying to establish a sense of understanding of one’s experiences can be difficult. For those continuing to navigate feelings of shame, grief, and loss, having a personal mantra to provide meaning to one’s experiences can be instrumental in creating the foundation for further healing and therapeutic practices.
Acceptance can be difficult to find throughout one’s journey with PTSD, but spiritual practices can help lay the groundwork for allowing one to accept their experiences and move past them. Spirituality can help an individual accept themselves and their identity, scaffolding the acceptance of their experiences and relationships. By embracing an accepting mindset through spirituality, further healing is always possible.
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Developing a Community
PTSD has a myriad of isolating effects, causing an individual to feel alone in their traumas and compromising their ability to connect with friends, family, loved ones, and their community. Finding people who share similar spiritual beliefs or practices can create a new community based on these shared perspectives, helping to break through barriers of isolation and birth new relationships and recovery strategies.
A New Identity
Identity is another profound aspect of an individual that can be compromised following traumatic experiences. An individual may experience a large shift in their worldview and mentality or may lose interest in their hobbies, making it difficult to explore their lifestyle and identity. Spirituality can be a new branch of identity to explore, helping each individual define their own interests and practices while developing a new identity in recovery.
Spirituality plays a large role in the healing process, whether you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, or substance use. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we champion the idea that truly effective recovery addresses the whole self, from one’s unique symptoms and experiences to spiritual needs and physical health. Our comprehensive approach to Hawaii rehabilitation embraces this mentality. Our trained staff is ready with proven therapeutic techniques, all backed by a personalized approach to you and your needs, and a plethora of experiential and cultural therapies and the unique spiritual healing available only on the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Coupled with our accepting community of peers, family programs, and dedicated veteran services, we are committed to a truly transformative healing experience. For more information on the effective and available treatment programs in Hawaii and how we can personalize your time with us, call (866) 390-5070.