For years I struggled to sit still, concentrate, do assignments, office work, appointments, registrations, etc. I was easily distracted. I’d procrastinate. A Psychiatrist thought I had ADHD. My attention is great today. There are so many tools. Martial Arts changed my brain. 🥷🇵🇭
It does not need to be Martial Arts, 🧘🏽♀️ Mindfulness also changes the brain. Although, some argue that it can be more difficult changing the brain with our minds, because our minds are so flippant (e.g. One minute we are here, next minute we are there. One minute we feel good, next minute awful. So it is often unreliable).
This might account for why so many people say they hate 🧘🏽♀️ Mindfulness or that it does nothing for them. Mindfulness is also experiential. This means that it takes practice over time to appreciate its benefits, rather than to be understood by our intellect on day one.
So systems like Yoga, Martial Arts, Traditional Dance are a reliable practice to regulate our emotions. When the body stops screaming, we feel good, and the mind follows. Also the body is primary. If you had diarrhoea, you would not be reading this. You’d be racing to the toilet.
So while Mindfulness is wonderful and I have done years of it and still do, having experienced both approaches, I agree with various wisdom traditions, that a sense of stability is more easily established via the body – and – in conjunction with Mindfulness, well look out.
Also worth noting, I do not do any body based practices today (i.e. Martial Arts or Yoga) because my focus has shifted to social justice. So it was enough for my system to experience these for a few years to find my own sense of safety. My mind did not need them forever.
I have seen this with many people older than me, such as my partner, the Dalai Lama and Sadhguru, etc. These guys are not doing Martial Arts or Yoga everyday and some of them do not do it at all now. Their practice has become life itself and the art was simply a stepping stone.
At one point I was addicted to Martial Arts and Yoga and convinced myself, if I stopped I would get Psychosis again. However, this has not been the case to date. I have not done either since Covid because I work in remote communities and also my focus has changed.
It was as equally important a lesson to find them as it was to be able to let them go to see that many experiences in life can be used as a practice and the practice itself is not the only solution, but a door to life itself, for people like me who simply could not regulate emotion.
My dream is that these trauma informed systems become accessible to the world for free and are used to help people who have great difficulties with addiction, violence and trauma. Several schools and prisons around the world already do this with remarkable results.
Until they become free, if Mindfulness is the only option, here is a tip I learnt from trauma training. Rather than doing 10 minutes of Mindfulness a day as a side thing to reality, try 1 minute 10 times a day. This is much more achievable. When you shower, have a tea or coffee,
lunch, time with a friend, time alone, etc. Each time we do this, we break the cycle of being on autopilot (i.e. our routine thoughts, feelings, behaviours). Not only are these mini moments occurring in your daily life, rather than as a separate side thing,
over time all these dots will eventually connect and that will be the day you feel a shift that your system has changed to be more congruent with life. It will still be the beginning, because life is the beginning for all of us, no matter how old we are. If it feels like the end, that’s the mind.
This is where gratitude opens the door to the freshness and beauty of life. If you need inspiration, think of Nelson Mandela and how long he was in prison, and the freedom he felt simply from knowing himself and knowing life, and using that to inspire change. ❤️
Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong
Dr Louise Hansen
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist
#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong
Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo
You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, the President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:
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