Our tendency during times of threat—perceived or actual—is to shift into anxiety or survival mode. We’re hardwired for this. Our negativity bias goes on high alert and is on the look out for threats, what’s wrong, what’s out of place, what isn’t working. As part of this, today we may find ourselves fixating on social media or news reports or other stimulating media that can support activation of stress and anxiety in our hearts, minds and bodies.
So, how do we remain connected to our best resources—a vibrant, healthy body; a clear mind with access to deep wisdom; and an open and loving heart—to meet and navigate through difficult times, particularly extended ones, such as the Covid-19 situation?
As we reach year three of experiencing catastrophic fires in our community, our neighbors in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties are entering year one. How can we--whether we are new to disaster or becoming well versed in them--support those we know, and even those we don't know so well, in our collective recovery?
Looking at the graphic below, we can see that over the first few years the impacted community will go through a series of emotional ups and downs on their way to a new normal.
There are a number of anticipated physical, emotional and mental reactions individuals experience as discussed in this blog post (Part I) and this blog post (Part II), but I wanted to spend some time focusing on the larger picture, because sections of our populations will be riding through what is mostly considered a necessary path to a stronger future.
Also, having information about our likely path can help us prevent what is known in the mindfulness circles as "the second arrow." This is the pain and suffering that can arise through our reactions to already painful events. Understanding that what we're experiencing is a natural part of the process for most can help us not judge ourselves or our process so harshly.
Since trauma can show up in different ways, including irritability, isolation, substance overuse, and more, the reverberation of trauma affects not only those surviving it, but all those they touch.
It's a perfect time to embrace living our lives from intentions rather than expectations.
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