PSYCOLOGICAL FIRST AID PODCASTS
Episode 2 - Principles in Real Time
Episode 3 - Sustaining Green
Episode 4 - Integrating and Debriefing Stress
A short article by NOLS focusing on how to help subjects who are at risk of developing stress injuries. The tools listed can also be easily applied to ones self or to fellow responders.
The powerful story of a SAR member's struggle with stress injuries.
An in-depth look at the impacts of high intensity, stressful missions.
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24/7 crisis hotline: 1-425-243-5092
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Just like with physical trauma where a stimulus caused an injury we can incur stress injuries from harmful physiological stimulus (ie. Seeing a body). A stress injury is created when our brains are unable to process the psychological stimulus it just experienced. Since it can't integrate the experience this causes the brain to be unable to tell if the danger has passed, leading to a state of heightened arousal. Our brain stays in this state because it feels the danger is still present. If this state continues it can lead to stress injuries.
SELF CARE TOOLS
Breathe in for 6 seconds hold for 7, out for 8, repeat multiple times. This technique helps normalize your breathing and blood pressure.
1-2-3-4-5 Grounding Tool
This tool helps get the mind out of the past stressful event and into the present. Sometimes the brain can get stuck reliving a stressful incident to the extent that it doesn't realize the event has passed. This technique helps bring the mind back to the present. What you do is focus on one thing you taste. Now two things you smell. Three things you can hear. Four things you physically feel. For example, I feel the socks on my toes, the denim of my jeans, the seat I’m sitting on, the paper I’m holding. Last one, look for five things you can see. This is a great way of grounding yourself in the present and not getting stuck in your thoughts, to not dwell on past events and to remember that the stressful event you endured is in the past.
5 Positive Thoughts
Sometimes your brain can get going in a loop, it can latch on to one scene and play it on repeat. A very simple tool is to think of five positive thoughts such as the great hike you went on the other week or how cute your pet looked the other day. Thinking of 5 positive thoughts can help your brain get out of the mental gutter it was in. Why five? Research has determined this is number we need to out weigh one negative thought.
When you exercise, endorphins are released leading to improved ability to sleep and lower stress levels.