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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Help for Veterans (and everyone!) :032

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a very real thing for many individuals

Nicole Lovald, a trained counselor, life coach, yoga teacher and yoga studio, owner shares in this interview how she was initiated into helping veterans (and civilians) with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Married to a service member, Nicole has a unique perspective and insight to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Watch or listen for the fullest content and experience!


So, first of all, what is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post Traumatic Stress is a very normal reaction to a very abnormal situation.

“When someone is threatened in some way, perceived or real, they will experience increased stress. This stress continues to go with them after the experience and therefor it becomes post traumatic stress.” – Nicole Lovald

Examples of how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder begins

  • Car accident particularly where a person feels their life was threatened
  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Mugging
  • When you are truly concerned for your life and your safety


What can Trigger a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction?

Regarding veterans, It’s usually something associated with what they saw, smelled or experience while they were in this threatening situation:

  • Blast sounds, ex. fireworks
  • Strobe lights
  • Being unsure of surroundings
  • Flat tires


Are certain people more susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

It comes down to resiliency. Some people are more resilient than other. Some of this is resiliency we see to be born with and some of this is learned.


What can someone keep in mind when living with or serving a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

  • Make sure that they feel safe. Avoid surprises.
  • Allow the person to be aware of their environment.
  • Be careful about the language you use. For example, in her yoga classes, Nicole does not use the common pose “corpse pose” because it can be a trigger.
  • Be gentle with yourself too. You’re not going to be perfect. You can put yourself in their shoes, but not in their minds. Communicate- ask them!


How does yoga help Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Nicole shares how her husband, a long-time service member, came to know, experience and benefit from yoga. He’s become a better dad (not that he was a bad dad, Nicole confirms) but he is less short-tempered, especially when coming back from deployment. He’s able to respond instead of just blowing up and reacting; he has more resiliency. Now he’s pretty much addicted to his weekly yoga class. It helps his body and clears his mind. It’s not normal for him to relax, so this gives him the ability to self-regulate and calm down.


If you have signs or have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is yoga the only answer?

Finding help is the answer. The suicide rates for veterans are unbelievable and it’s sad. Reach out for help. People love you and care about you. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, just get help.

If you’re not ready to dive into yoga, start with breathing exercises. Mental health clinics and doctor’s offices are providing more.

Also, meditation helps a lot.  UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center is a non-secular resource.

Could I be affected by Post Traumatic Stress and not even know it, even those who are not veterans?

Nicole explains there is a natural state that we want to be in, it’s homeostasis; it’s what is called in counseling “the window of tolerance”. This is where out body can self-regulate well: blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc.

Then there’s the hyper-aroused state and the hypo-aroused state.

The hyper-aroused state is when you feel anxious. If you’re feeling jittery, your heart is beating harder or faster in your chest, and you just can’t seem to calm down, your just reacting and just can’t get to the more natural, level state then you need help. This is not where your body is supposed to function on a regular basis.

The hypo-aroused state is when you feel lethargic or depressed (this does not necessarily you’ve been diagnosed as depressed) but you just feel like you can’t get out of bed, you don’t have energy, you don’t want to talk to friends or family- this is not a natural state of being.

Even though it’s especially difficult when we feel in the hyper or hypo states, we need to reach out to a friend and ask to talk or go for a walk. Connect with others who can support you.


Resources and Links

Yoga Veterans Project

Wounded Warrior Project

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Nicole is offering a class for yoga teachers and professionals who want to learn better how to work with people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in April, 2017. Healing Through Yoga: Trauma Sensitive Training

About Nicole Lovald

Nicole Lovald is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Life/Wellness Coach with a Master’s degree in Counseling. She has spent over 15 years working in higher education, social services, non-profit, and for-profit settings. Her love of yoga began many years ago when her husband was deployed and she was looking for a self-care practice to ease her worried mind and untangle the stress induced knots in her body.
What she found was that yoga provided amazing benefits that not only impacted her body but also relaxed her mind and allowed her to get in touch with her inner spirit. After realizing the wonderful benefits of her practice, she decided to embark on a yoga teacher training program so that she would be able to bring it to others. She has now been teaching yoga for over 4 years and is thrilled to be able to help others live healthier and happier lives.
As the owner of Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center, Nicole is excited to continue to support the Excelsior and surrounding communities. In addition to teaching several classes at Spirit of the Lake she also provides individual wellness and life coaching sessions.