As the pandemic rolls on I notice signs of chronic stress and even trauma in friends, family, and acquaintances. They describe symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, loss of hope, and more. I saw these are mild symptoms of chronic stress / trauma / PTSD. This is also just the beginning of the pandemic effect. Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, noted, “this isn’t about the next couple of weeks, this is about the next two years.’” Chronic stress/trauma is a continuum, so if we can focus now on protecting our nervous systems from further damage we can come out of the pandemic in as good a shape as possible. That’s my goal, as well as to empower as many other people as possible to do the same for themselves and each other. I recently discussed this with my good friend, Tamera Siminow, owner of the neurofeedback practice, BrainShape. This led the two of us to record a podcast for you, titled “Resilience in the Time of COVID-19.” In a period of seemingly great powerlessness.e hope our conversation offers you take-away tools that help you feel empowered, connected, and hopeful.
Gateway of the Inner Body meditation audio by Eckhart Tolle
This recording is one of many tools you can use to help you become more familiar with your felt sense, the sense of the inner body, a vital connection.
Hand Washing Without Stress video with Imogen Ragone
“Take the tedium and the anxiety out of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with this practice. Each time you wash you hands you can not only be getting rid of those pesky germs, but also letting go of excess tension and stress so you feel more at ease in yourself!”
Healthy Mind Platter from Dr. Dan Siegel
Dr. Siegel’s website details the seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being: Focus Time, Play Time, Connecting Time, Physical Time, Time In, Down Time, Sleep Time.
Flower/Candle breath exercise: Break the Cycle of Distress with Self-Regulation by Shay Seaborne
Self-regulation is a key ability for all people, one often disrupted by trauma, especially in those with earliest onset. These simple practices can help an anxious person down-regulate to a more positive and prosocial activation level. They are most beneficial when practiced in advance of anxiety so they are familiar as a go-to for relief.
“Mindfulness, Mindsight, and The Mind: What Are They, and Why Do They Matter?” by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Dr. Siegel explores the areas of mindfulness, attention, and consciousness through an interpersonal neurobiology and mindsight lens. By looking closely at the history of mindfulness, a detailed understanding of the mind, and the neural structure that underlies the subjective experience of being mindful, we begin to understand how a mindfulness practice supports integration, health, and overall well-being.
BodyIntelligence and Alexander Technique
One of my biggest stress/anxiety tools. My personal study of the neurobiology of trauma and its resolution have shown me that Alexander Technique (AT) is greatly in line with the science that heals. Alexander Technique has become my go-to for noticing ease in even the most difficult situations. Imogen developed her own unique approach, which she calls BodyIntelligence, that “integrates mindfulness, posture and self-care, to give her clients practical and empowering strategies to relieve and prevent stress and tension.”
Tension & Trauma Release Exercises
Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (or TRE®) is a simple yet innovative series of exercises that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. Created by Dr. David Berceli, PhD, TRE safely activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system. When this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return back to a state of balance.
Prevent Secondary Traumatic Stress in Healthcare Providers
“Providers treating patients with challenging medical conditions can sometimes feel drained, upset, or frustrated. This may be especially true during times of increased workloads or heightened personal stress…The ability to identify, understand and manage one’s emotional reactions is paramount to preventing and/or managing secondary traumatic stress.” Includes warning signs and self-care tips.