March 22nd, 2019

How Do You Stay Focused When Meditation Brings up Traumatic Memories?

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Fabulous users weigh in on what to do with difficult feelings while meditating.

Meditation is a powerful and effective way to help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. But what happens when meditating dredges up those painful feelings of trauma, fear, or despair? We asked Fabulous users for their thoughts.

1. “Try the Mindbus exercise on Fabulous. It basically asks you to imagine yourself on a bus and your worst problems are also traveling with you. Personify these problems as passengers and then on the next stop they get out and you let them go.

2. “Generally speaking, those traumatic memories are there in your subconscious and will not go until you go through them during meditation.”

3. “If ever it gets too much I stop and focus on my breathing then do some journaling. Writing out trauma helps me. Then depending on how triggering I will either go back and try the meditation again or do a different meditation till I’ve had time to talk to a professional regarding the experience.”

4. “If meditation is bringing this up then that probably means you shouldn’t ignore them and try to heal from trauma. It’s your brain giving you info. If you have access to a therapist you should look into someone with experience treating trauma patients and if you don’t maybe look for group therapy which can be low-cost or free sometimes.”

5. “In such circumstances, I try to center myself with the question, “what is happening now?” Then I will try to return my attention to my breath.”

6. “I try not to make it a battle against the memory. Sometimes the memory may need to be emotionally experienced and further processed. If that happens or is necessary then I start turning my attention again to what’s happening in the moment, what I’m actually feeling and experiencing physically as well as emotionally. Often times that process creates enough space to help move through the memory a bit more easily.”

7. “You let the feelings come, do not fight them. Let your tears out and let what happens happen and gently you will eventually come back to your meditation. Just look at what comes, accept it, and go on from there.”

8. “Just let the thoughts pass, as if the images are just a transition. Let them pass through. Don’t get stuck on them.”