How Mindfulness Can Help You Recover From Trauma
Modern life is often so busy that it don’t allow much time for focusing on the here and now.
While worrying about something said in a meeting yesterday or a lost friendship from years ago, or even something you did as a child, there’s little time left for appreciating all the things around you in this very moment.
Instead of focusing on the good things they have now, people are worrying about the “what ifs” of the future.
With all that mental “noise” happening, it’s a little wonder those trying to recover from trauma can find it an impossible task.
This is where some people believe mindfulness can come in.
So what is mindfulness, and how it can help trauma survivors move on?
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of bringing your attention to the present: both what is happening in the world around you, such as sounds and smells, and what is happening within you, such as your emotions and sensations.
For example, instead of letting your mind wander to what you will get up to at the weekend or what your boss thought about your latest presentation, your mind will be concerned with the present moment, the sound of the traffic perhaps, or the smells drifting from the kitchen.
You can then become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in relation to what is happening right now – how the sensory information you are currently processing is affecting your state of mind and body.
As well as practicing mindfulness in your day-to-day activities, there is also the practice of mindfulness meditation, which involves sitting quietly, focusing on your own breath. When thoughts or worries pop up, you recognize your mind has wandered and return your focus back to the breath.
What are the benefits?
There is a growing belief that paying attention to what is happening now and accepting it without judgment can actually lead to increased levels of happiness as well as helping alleviate mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
It appears mindfulness can also have benefits to physical health too, with studies showing it can help heart health, cell aging, immune response and physiological pain.
There’s no evidence mindfulness on its own can be a complete cure; however, there is growing evidence that used in conjunction with other treatments, it can have many benefits.
How can it help trauma survivors?
For people who have experienced trauma, for example, someone who has suffered abuse or been involved in a serious car accident, it can be difficult to move past it. Their mind can become trapped at that moment, and it then negatively impacts their entire life.
It is believed the power of mindfulness to treat trauma lies with focusing on the present, which can break the cycles of negative thinking and actually retrain the brain to start thinking in a different way.
Regarding mindfulness practice, Mindful magazine reports, “There is, without a doubt, great potential for these treatments in helping people better process trauma, and hopefully decrease a lot of potential suffering.”
So, if a past trauma is affecting you, it could be worthwhile speaking to a professional about mindfulness as a possible aid to recovery.