What is a flashback?
When you experience a traumatic, or ongoing traumatic, events, you may experience flashbacks. This is when you have intrusive memories, feelings, or thoughts about the event and feel like you are back in that moment it happened. You can also feel like they are happening in the present moment. When a flashback occurs, something often triggers the episodic memory of the event that has not been fully processed yet.
This article will review six ways that you can cope with flashbacks and re-ground yourself to the present moment.
Dual awareness statements
These statements are used as a reminder that what happened is in the past and that you are safe. Examples of this can include:
It can be beneficial in coping with flashbacks to combine dual awareness statements with the other coping skills below
Grounding techniques are all about activating your 5 senses. This can look like:
Activating your Vagus nerve
I discuss activation of your vagus nerve in this blog post that covers the following skills:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This type of breath work has shown to reduce anxiety and help with grounding. Alternate nostril breathing can help with keeping both sides of your brain functioning.
When you yawn, it has shown to improve circulation to your face while relaxing your eyes. It can also counteract shallow panic related breathing that can for some come with flashbacks. Yawning will activate your PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) which is your calming nervous system
- Keep in mind, your inhale should be deep and slow followed by a full exhalation.
The goal of the neuromuscular hold, taught by Linda Curran is to activate blood flow to your prefrontal cortex. Your prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that is responsible for thinking, decision making, and telling time.
Blog Disclaimer – These posts are not meant to treat, diagnose, or serve as a replacement for therapy. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact your local crisis center or dial 911. Here are more immediate resources as well.