POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 113 POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): ALL AGES Additional tips for grounding: • Keep Your Eyes Open: While grounding yourself, keep your eyes open so you can see and focus on the present. It also helps to talk out aloud about what you are seeing and doing. • Practise: Don't be disappointed if it doesn't work the first time you try it. Like any other skill or sport you have done, this is a skill that gets better over time. It works best if you have tried and practised it ahead of time while calm. • Stay active in life. People with PTSD often find that they drop out of activities that they previously enjoyed doing, but this is not helpful. It may be difficult, but get back into the normal routine of your life as much as possible, which includes; work, friends, family, hobbies and sports. Even if you can't get back 100% into all the things you used to do, then start with little steps. • Exposure: Face your fears and don't let the PTSD control you. The anxiety from PTSD often makes people avoid certain things. Unfortunately, these fears have a tendency to grow, and then people end up avoiding more and more things in life. The best way to fight back is to gradually face those fears, step by step. Examples: •A person who has a trauma from falling off a horse. The longer the person avoids horses and horseback-riding, the harder it will be. The solution is to get back on a horse as soon as possible. •A person experiences a mugging in a shopping mall parking lot at nighttime. The person starts to avoid parking lots at nighttime, then parking lots at daytime, then shopping malls entirely, and then even going out. The solution is to gradually face those fears, and get back into those situations, step-by-step. • Avoid unhealthy coping strategies such as drugs and alcohol. Though they may appear to temporarily help in the shortterm, using alcohol or other drugs will make it worse in the long run.