Meditation is a great way to bring us back into the present moment and allow our nervous systems a moment to calm, and cool down and recognize that we aren’t in immediate danger. It’ brings us into the present moment, providing relief and for many, deep relaxation.
But for Survivors, #Meditation can also be problematic if you have a tendency to dissociate. Meditation – sitting or lying down with eyes gently closed and following the sound of a voice, can often be a trigger for the body and mind to enter a dissociative state and in effect, be an exercise in reinforcing and deepening a state of dissociation. Dissociation causes a slowing of the heart rate, shallow breathing, and can from the outside, look like you’re “playing dead” – it also releases stress hormones into the body to facilitate the death-like state including slowing down your metabolism, which has detrimental long term impacts on your health and recovery.
So here are some alternatives to the traditional ‘closed eye’ guided meditations that you can try and experiment with:
Go for a walk and play classical music through your headphones, or music with no lyrics.
Grab yourself a coloring book and pencils (or a dot-to-dot book)
Potter about your home – reorganize the bookshelf, do the dishes, cook something or change your bedsheets.
Immerse yourself in nature; sit in a park, on the beach, in a forest and drink in the scene with all your senses
Play with putty! Slimes and putty are excellent for keeping you grounded and present, especially if they make fart noises.
Spend time in your garden – even if your garden is teeny tiny, it can be healing and restorative just to sit on a bit of grass for a few minutes.
Immerse yourself in a new hobby – knitting, crochet, watercolors, jewelry making, or cardmaking are great ways to engage your creative self.
Not every method will work, you will have to experiment with a few things before you find your own form of meditation – let me know what works for you in the comments below!