Ways to Heal Ourselves In Traumatic Times

African American woman journalingTrayvon Martin. Sean Bell. Philando Castile. Sandra Bland. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. There are countless of other people whose names alone can take up at least a full page article and it seems that we’re learning a new name every few months. Sadly, we’re learning their names because they have been victims of police brutality or have died at the hands of cowards, and our legal system isn’t holding those responsible for these senseless murders accountable – no matter the circumstances.

Colin Kaepernick’s selfless and historic protest of quietly taking a knee during the national anthem to represent the injustice of unarmed Black Americans being killed by police is admirable by many. Yet, somehow this equates to disrespecting the American flag and our United States military. With the narrative being changed and the entire point being missed by the people who need to understand it the most, it’s mentally exhausting for all affected by the continued injustice, especially the Black community.

Being Black in America and not knowing whether or not you’ll make it home alive, be it just because you “look suspicious” or for whatever minuscule reason, basically feels like living with PTSD.

With all of the racism, mental illnesses, diseases and trauma that inordinately impacts our community, it’s crucial that now, more than ever, we take the time out to heal. If you’re not sure where to start to begin this journey of self-care, continue reading below for a few tools to help you deal with the heavy pressures of life.

Yoga

This ancient practice has been known to positively change lives if you allow it to do so. Along with the physical benefits of yoga, there are quite a few mental benefits as well. Having a regular practice can help with developing a positive outlook on life, create calmness and mental clarity, increase body awareness and help relieve stress patterns. You absolutely don’t have to be flexible and you don’t need any fancy yoga attire to start; you simply just have to want to start.

Meditation

Meditation can definitely be a major life changer. In a good way, of course. Much like yoga, meditation can help ease chronic pain, anxiety, stress and improve cardiovascular health. In addition, it can also increase happiness and acceptance, improve concentration and increase awareness. It may be quite difficult to sit in silence at first if you’re new to the art of meditating, so it may be helpful to start your day with sitting in silence, focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath for just a few minutes and gradually increase the time as your practice develops. It’s okay if your mind wanders, but slowly bring it back to the breath if it does. With 1,440 minutes in a day, we all are deserving of at least five minutes each morning spending time with ourselves, eliminating distractions and not worrying about crossing items off of our to-do lists. The benefits are worth it.