PRN: Mindfulness On Demand

We are all currently experiencing a significant traumatic event. For some, the effects (both short and long term) may be minor, and for others there will be significant effects that endure for some time. This is the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current state of our world today.

Call it a grim outlook if you will. But in my line of work we encourage bringing awareness to suffering, “if you can name it you can tame it.” This allows for both a reprieve of the secondary effects of resisting and denial, and also promotes healing and resilience building. So now is the time more than ever to bring mindfulness to ourselves and our current, ongoing collective struggle. Many of our students recount daily how blessed they feel to have the tools to manage the overwhelming emotions and the rapid fire changes coming at us daily. Others find themselves reaching out for supportive tools and adaptive ways of coping with this pandemic and the unseen changes it is bringing with it on a local and global level.

So where to begin? Here is a simple, easy mnemonic you can refer to when you are feeling out of sorts. A “pro re nata” or “PRN” as-needed technique, if you will. 

P — PauseTake the opportunity to literally stop whatever you are doing. Even if just a moment or two. Invite stillness, even if just in your physical state. 

R — Recognize: Recognize what you are experiencing physically, emotionally and mentally. Common early effects of having experienced a traumatic event include: fatigue, physical agitationor jumpiness, muscle tension, emotional numbing or flattened emotional expression, confusion, sadness, and anxiety. Tune in to what you notice without judging those things or pushing them away. Even label them with words as you observe what is here, like “tight shoulders” or “super tired” or “feeling heartbroken.” 

N — Normalize: Remind yourself that the things you are experiencing are absolutely to be expected in consideration of what we are collectively enduring. They are NORMAL reactions to an ABNORMAL situation. You are not crazy, weak or inadequate. Judging yourself harshly only adds salt to the proverbial wound. Please take this invitation to soften around the discomfort, acknowledging that your nervous system is responding to this threat to safety exactly how it is supposed to. 

Most importantly, always remember that you are not alone. The above PRN technique can be used often and might even be a part of a daily reflection to check-in with yourself about how you are managing. But also know that reaching out to others that understand your situation and who you can be honest and vulnerable with, can also be a powerful salve for suffering.

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May you be safe, healthy, and free!

Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse Faculty

Nicole Davis is a licensed clinical psychologist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches  Dr. Davis has received extensive training in mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, and maintains her own personal practice in these as well.  At Sacred Treehouse, she facilitates group mindfulness courses, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention, and other mindfulness-based seminars and workshops. She also offers meditation & yoga classes at Sacred Treehouse.