Stressed out? Worried? Frustrated? Feel like it’s difficult to plan ahead? You are so normal. Even five to ten minutes of mindfulness or simple breathing practices can help. Really.
Below are the links for a webinar-Zoom presentation and the related Power Point requested by and offered to the Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging (V4A) on May 15, 2020 to support direct service professionals coping with the heightened stress of the pandemic. The presentation offers fundamental mindfulness concepts, skills, and practices that can support individuals with daily self-regulation and self-care.
Find a comfortable seat that establishes a balance between effort and ease or lie down and invite deep relaxation into your whole being from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. In either position, you can lightly scan the body to observe where you are holding tension and whether it is serving you or whether it is okay to release it.
Observe the natural flow of breath, noticing the inhale, the slight transition, and the exhale. Match the mantra to your natural inhale and exhale. Begin with the first line of instruction saying it to yourself internally or out loud, as you prefer. Say each line of instruction fully twice, then consider dropping the full instruction to the core words (e.g., in, out; deep, slow; calm, ease; healing release). You can decide how long you wish to practice one instruction before moving on to the next.
At the end, pause to notice any impact from your practice. Consider placing one hand over your heart and the other over your belly and invite a felt sense of kindness and warmth into your hands. Feel the breath under your palms, easy and gentle. Remind yourself: present moment, safe moment.
This short talk was a free resource posted by National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine or NICABM on March 31st, in response to COVID-19. It reviews how core knowledge and tenets in the treatment of trauma can serve broader populations in this moment. Bessel van der Kolk is an internationally, renowned trauma therapist and author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. He speaks about the natural feelings of helplessness, distress, and lack of agency that arise in the midst of unpredictable life circumstances like a pandemic and offers practical suggestions about self-care and resources.
**Alert: van der Kolk comments briefly on national politics. Hopefully, whatever one’s political or apolitical leanings, the core resources and therapeutic messages can be received.