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MeditationRecovering After Tragedy

Recovering After Tragedy

Support the body in coming back to a place of balance and harmony after a tragic event, shifting focus from the parts that feel overwhelmed to the parts that feel more neutral.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

Before we begin the practice today, I just wanna honor you for being here, as tough and as challenging as it may be. When tragedy strikes, it can be perceived differently from person to person, but how our bodies go about processing this event can be quite similar. In fact, we all have a fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response. This mechanism in our bodies is meant to keep us safe and alert when danger is present. But what can happen to some of us, is that we can get stuck by the looping of our thoughts with certain memories and emotions, or the inability to self-regulate, and come back to the present moment. So in this practice, we use the wisdom and intelligence of the body, to help cultivate a greater sense of balance and harmony after experiencing a tragic event. Using this idea of a pendulum that swings back and forth, we'll practice shifting our focus between the parts of us that feel overwhelmed, and the parts of us that are more grounded and neutral. In doing so, over time, we can support the body in coming back to a place of balance, calm, and clarity. If at any time the body signals to you that this is too much, you can open your eyes, stretch the body, or even stop this practice and continue at a different time. That's perfectly okay too. To begin, take a moment to get comfortable, as comfortable as you can be in this moment, sitting upright, shoulders relaxed, feet connecting to the floor. Eyes can be open to a soft, gentle gaze. And just taking a moment here to scan your surroundings. And when you're ready, taking three deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. And returning the breath back to its natural rhythm, keeping the eyes open if you'd like, or closing them, maybe softening the eyebrows, and unclenching the jaw. And then just gently bringing the awareness to whatever feeling is present in the body in this moment. After experiencing a tragedy, there can be emotions or sensations of shock, fear, sadness, taking up space in our minds and body. So just gently and compassionately noticing the body, seeing if you can sense where this feeling is. Sometimes we carry heavier emotions in our shoulders, chest, necks, or hips. Now noticing if this sensation has a texture, a temperature, a shape, maybe even noticing its size. And again, doing so in a safe manner. So maybe just noticing the edges of this feeling or sensation, and remembering to breathe, and then gently bringing the awareness to a place or a part of the body that feels calm or more neutral. Any part of the body that feels grounded, supported, or settled. And if this is hard to do, bringing to mind a person, or something that makes you feel safe and supported, and noticing this presence in the body now. Maybe even placing a hand over...


Duration8 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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