Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a leading expert on trauma, says that we are experiencing a traumatic situation with the COVAD-19 virus. We are suffering in a state of affairs that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, and we cannot readily trust that our circumstances will improve. This creates a sense of trauma.
So if the outer world is beyond our control, we must find ways to manage our inner world – and by inner world I mean our homes and what’s happening inside of our bodies. In our homes, creating structure and daily routines is essential to our awareness of time (hours and days) and making our home life predictable. Equally important is finding a sense of calm within ourselves, recognizing that anxiety runs high during traumatic events. Being able to make choices about how we care for ourselves is key.
But in times like this when we feel anxious or uncertain, our thinking can become foggy. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can stop us in our tracks. This is why a daily practice in mindfulness is so critical to our well-being.
Research proves that a consistent daily practice (10 minutes) can build emotional awareness and self-regulation so that we can gain clarity over life events and make healthy choices to take care of ourselves and our families. A daily mindfulness practice can contribute to good parenting skills and improve our overall mental health, creating a sense of calm and comfort in our homes. Also, mindfulness can increase our sense of optimism and help us to problem-solve while reducing the effects of toxic stress, anxiety, and trauma.
Consistency. Predictability. Clarity. Calm. These are our tools for building a more secure inner world while we wait for our outer world to regain balance.