It seems like everywhere we turn we are hearing about the age old wisdom of mindfulness, and all of the ways we can benefit from this practice in our modern world. At the Rape Recovery Center, mindfulness is weaved throughout our full spectrum of services that address the impact of post-traumatic stress.
For survivors of sexual violence, natural survival mechanisms lead to fight, flight, and/or freeze responses when traumatic memories are triggered. These triggers often lead to thoughts and behaviors that ultimately impede our ability to skillfully respond to what is happening in the present moment. The practice of mindfulness offers a neurobiological antidote to the natural trauma response of the brain, making it a pretty awesome tool for any of us who have experienced sexual violence. To read more about how mindfulness can be used as a tool for those who experience post-traumatic stress, check out this great article from mindful.org.
We know that learning mindfulness skills can be pretty tough, and can even feel impossible, when you have experienced trauma. With a healthy combination of self-compassion and patience, mindfulness skills can start to feel more and more accessible to survivors of sexual violence. If you are interested in exploring how mindfulness might fit into your recovery, check out the resources below.
Experienced mindfulness practitioner and therapist Tara Brach has provided a library of resources on her website, including a guide for beginners. She also publishes weekly one-hour talks that are a great, free resource to anyone exploring mindfulness and meditation. Linked above is one of our favorite "Tara Talks" where she addresses the connection between trauma and mindfulness practice.
There are also many mobile applications that provide guided mindfulness exercises. One of our favorite apps is Buddhify, which is available on both android and apple devices. We love this app because if provides a wide variety of exercises in categories like stress and difficult emotions, sleep issues, and growing the lovely.
There are also many great books on mindfulness. Rachel Goldsmith Turow has written a workbook on the subject, titled Mindfulness Skills for Trauma and PTSD that is available on amazon and many major booksellers.
The Rape Recovery Center also provides a spectrum of mindfulness-informed services for survivors of sexual violence. These services include (1) short-term coping-skills focused counseling, where we use mindfulness strategies to cope with the impact of trauma, (2) a mindfulness-focused group called WiseMind, and (3) long-term therapy services using mindfulness-oriented interventions for post-traumatic stress. If you decide you would like to deepen your practice with some support, call our office at 801-467-7282 to schedule an appointment.
We hope you will find these tools useful, and that you will share your own favorites in the comments below!