Trouble Focusing? Problems Regulating Your Emotions?
You Are Not Alone!
It is with a heavy heart that I send my greetings to so many colleagues around the world, all affected by this pandemic. My heart is with you through these terrible events and I want to provide whatever small help I can. One thing I learned from my work with educators after natural disaster or violence is that people worry that they are “losing it” both mentally and emotionally.
First, and foremost, I want to tell you that you are not losing your mind! Many people struggle with thinking after trauma and fear that the trauma has given them brain damage. No! But it has severely impacted your thinking, particularly in some areas. For example, do you have trouble organizing, planning, carrying out long-term projects, or making decisions? Your frontal lobes are less activated so that you can be in survival mode, doing what is necessary to sustain life. You are probably having some memory issues and maybe even having trouble remembering things that happened prior to this. Yes, that is another area impacted by stress. Because your emotional center is more activated and your frontal lobes are inhibited, you may have trouble regulating your emotions. The good news is that you will recover! However, you want to minimize the damage and impact and recover as quickly as possible. So you must take action.
Below are some materials and practices that may help you reduce stress so that you do not get chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. An important research study of hurricane survivors found that self-efficacy, the feeling that you could cope and manage, was the mitigating factor that separated those who recovered from PTSD and those who developed chronic PTSD. You can cope! By engaging in some of these practices and using some of the materials you are sending a message to your brain that you are rewiring. You are taking measures to protect yourself! I know you are very busy working hard to manage your lives, but take just five minutes a day to restore your mind and your brain!
Practices to reduce stress and handle trauma
- The 4-7-8 breath stops anxiety in its tracks. Breathe in to the count of 4, hold it for the count of 7 and breathe slowly out for the count of 8. Just do it a few times.
- Gratitudes Taking five minutes to write down three things you are grateful for every morning or evening has been scientifically shown to increase happiness. Why? It changes your focus throughout the day as you look for things to put on your list. If you want to make this practice have an even stronger effect, take pictures of things you are grateful for throughout the day, because action is stronger than thinking. READ MORE