Those of our readers who live with the effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder understand better than most how chaotic the mind can become. The hustle of the world, coupled with the healing process, can overburden, and bring down survivors into the abyss of worry and self-doubt.
However, mindfulness, prayer, and meditation offer the benefit of allowing the mind to unwind and for awareness of place and time to fill the soul.
The series for January will cover mindfulness, prayer, and meditation, including their benefits and how they are practiced and why.
First, What are Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation
Although some people use these three vital pathways to healing, there are some differences.
Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state made possible by focusing on one’s awareness of the present moment while calmly accepting one’s feelings, bodily sensations, and thoughts.
Prayer. Prayer is A spiritual communication with a higher power that includes thanksgiving, adoration, and sometimes confession. Prayer is a way to acknowledge that there is something more significant than the self and to allow that presence to relieve the pressures of day to day living.
Meditation. Meditation is a technique for allowing the mind to rest and to attain a state of consciousness that is different from the normal waking state. In meditation, the mind becomes clear, relaxed, and focused on the internal self instead of the world and what is going on around you while remaining fully awake and alert.
The Many Benefits of Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation
Mindfulness, meditation, or prayer when practiced one half an hour every day over eight weeks, has shown a difference in several brain regions that control learning, emotions, memory, and the fear response. These regions include the amygdala and the hippocampus, regions that control the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response.
In regulating these regions of the brain survivors of childhood trauma and anyone who was exposed to a traumatic event learn to control their reactions to events that trigger flashbacks.
According to the American Psychological Organization, there are many benefits to practicing mindfulness, prayer, and meditation, including all of the following:
- Better sleep
- Calmer emotions
- Increased ability to focus
- Increased memory
- Greater self-awareness
- Increased resiliency
- Enhanced ability to safely experience feelings
- Reduced stress levels
A study conducted on medical students studying to become physicians found that participating in an eight-week meditation-based stress reduction intervention had lowered self-reported anxiety and a reduced amount of depression.1
Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Separate or Together
The confusion many people encounter when thinking about mindfulness, prayer, and meditation is wondering if one can practice two or even three of these thought altering experiences at once. The answer is a resounding yes.
One can practice mindfulness without meditation and vice versa with or without prayerfulness. There is even a discipline called mindfulness meditation that happens when one concentrates on one thing and observe that experience. An example might be walking or breathing. You can concentrate on breathing while observing your surroundings in the here and now.
Practicing mindfulness without meditation involves being fully present in one’s life. A good example is becoming totally immersed in an activity in the here and now, such as washing dishes or taking a shower.
One can also practice prayer, being communication between yourself and a higher power, with or without mindfulness and meditation. Prayer lifts one out of the self and into a higher realm where one can immerse oneself in the love and compassion of a deity of your choice. Prayer is a vital part of some people’s healing as it allows them to be cared for and feel safe while dealing with the harshness of trauma from the past.
The Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle
Beginning in February 2020, the CPTSD Foundation is offering a new class on mindfulness, prayer, and meditation. The group will be led by Veronica Anderson, a healing professional devoted to building a new earth through mentoring and guidance on her website, The Power of Your Peace.
The group is called Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle and will be a place where you can come together with others in a safe atmosphere to learn how the practice of mindfulness will aid you on your healing journey.
At the start of each call, you and the other participants are invited to reflect on a phrase that is meaningful to you to drop into and access the present moment awareness, access peace, and feel empowered.
Such phrases may include:
- I am open to experiencing safety.
- I am open to the feeling of being enough just as I am.
- I am open to considering what it might look like to have everything I need.
- I am open to connecting with safe enough people who choose kindness.
(I am connecting.)
- I am open to taking my power back.
(I take my power back.)
- I am open to receiving.
- I deserve to be seen and heard.
- I can feel safe.
- I am love.
During the call, you will receive instructions to write down the affirmation you have chosen somewhere visible, such as the refrigerator, and look at it several times per day for seven days.
You Are Invited
You are cordially invited to join us in our new adventure learning together how to practice mindfulness, prayer, and meditation to improve our lives and help us on our travels down the road less taken.
The Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle is set to launch February 9th, 2020, meeting each Sunday at 12 pm eastern while the program is in progress. The classes will run for 50 minutes and are being offered to inaugural members at the super discounted price of $59 marked down from the regular price of $99.
All the proceeds from the group will go towards scholarships to help those who cannot afford the cost of the groups offered at the CPTSD Foundation.
Stay tuned to Trauma-Informed Tuesday for more information and remember to visit us online to learn more and get signed up!
“Mindfulness is a kind of energy that helps us be fully present in the here and the now, aware of what is going on in our body, in our feelings, in our mind and the world, so that we can get in touch with the wonders of life that can nourish and heal us.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
- Astin, J. A. (1997). Stress reduction through mindfulness
meditation. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 66(2), 97-106.