Watching an air show is exciting and fun for families and aviation enthusiasts. To someone living with auditory processing issues or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the loud, roaring engines and repetition can be unsettling.
There are calming techniques you can practice that can mitigate the anxiety caused by loud noises.
Here are some tips you can try to make the next few days more tolerable.
Develop a safe place. This place can be real or imaginary, the key being that nothing bad has ever happen or can happen in this place. Imagine the sounds associated with this place and identifying a word that can be associated with this place and being able to use that word as a cue word to bring oneself to this place.
If comfortable, close your eyes or look at your lap or the floor. Think of the distressing moment- if the moment/event had a shape what would it be, along with size, color, texture, and sound. What color does the individual associate with healing? Imagine that this light is beaming from the skies/universe through the top of one’s head. Imagine that this light is moving to the distressing feeling in your body, slowly but surely the light permeates and resonates in and around the shape in your body. The light slowly and calmly goes down through your body, down your legs and our your feet, releasing all the tension and anxiety out of your body.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out the mouth slowly. Clench your first as tightly as possible. Hold this for a few moments and notice the tension that is now in your hands. Slowly then release your fingers and notice the tension releasing from your body. This can be done with other muscles throughout your body, ie shoulders, legs, etc.
Deep breathing. Close your eyes if comfortable as there is nothing to distract you and hopefully it is a blank slate. Take a deep breath in for four seconds, then out for six. And doing this a handful of times or as many times as one seems fit. Three times is a good place to start.
If more help is needed, Spectrum Health has counseling support available 24/7 at 716 710 5172, or for youth in need, Spectrum Health’s C.A.R.E.S. counselor may be reached at 716 882 4357.
Brittany Derry, LMHC, MS