The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer’ Stress and Mental Health
The impact of mindfulness training on Police Officer has been scientific monitored.
Stress and repeated traumatic exposure have similar effects in the brain as experiencing a traumatic event launching PTSD. They contribute to elevate rates of mental illness and suicide in policing and violent and aggressive police officer’s behaviour that impacts the community they serve. Daily exposure to direct and vicarious trauma, organizational stressors and police-community tension contribute to elevate rates of post-traumatic stress, depression, alcoholism, and suicide in police officers. The fatigue and burnout and absence of effective emotion regulatory strategies in the law enforcement contribute to aggressive and discriminatory policing practices, leading to distrust and anger toward the police.
Prolonged activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that is the precursor of the stress response, what triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System and excessive cortisol release contribute to dysregulation of the biological systems influenced by cortisol. Among other deleterious consequences, prolonged HPA axis activation lessens cortisol’s ability to suppress inflammatory responses. Elevated inflammation is consequently associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome
Mindfulness Training to Reduce Stress and Improving First Responders’ Mental Health
Mindfulness training may reduce stress and aggression and improve Police Officers’ mental health. This leads also to changes in biological outcomes and lasting benefits, as the study described below has shown.
A group of Doctors conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 114 Police Officers from three Midwestern U.S. law enforcement agencies. Doctors assessed stress-related physical and mental health symptoms, blood-based inflammatory markers, and hair and salivary cortisol. The study is available to read on the Frontiers in Psychology website.
The 114 police officers participated to an 8-week mindfulness intervention and the same assessments were repeated post-intervention and at 3-month follow-up. In summary, an 8-week mindfulness intervention for police officers led to improvements in distress, mental health, and sleep, and a lower cortisol awakening response. These benefits persisted at 3-month follow-up, suggesting that this training may buffer against the long-term consequences of chronic stress.
This is one of the reasons why F.R.Y. The Method includes the mindfulness training, as it is not the movement but the relationship with it that can be a game changer. Specific mental training and meditation are part of our program available anytime, anywhere at a push of a button on our F.R.Y. The APP. Download it on Google Play and Apple Store
Trust it, follow our directions for a better body-mind system, for that overall wellness you deserve.
This is a collection of F.R.Y. Canada Wednesday Wellness Wisdom posts about Yoga and Mental Wellness for First Responders. You can also see them on our Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) in case you missed them.
F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
20211117 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
How Yoga Helps Mental Wellness #1 – “Restraints”(Yamas) towards a compassionate life
Yoga is more than movement. People think “yoga” is bendy twisty poses. Poses are but one of EIGHT “limbs” of yoga that form the essence of how yoga increases mental wellness.
One limb is “Restraints”(Yamas) towards a compassionate life, meaning to hold to non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, and control of sexual energy.
Paying attention to these restraints can bring peace and calm within us.
Set a positive intention each morning for each of these restraints as a step on the road to mental wellness.
20211124 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
How Yoga Helps Mental Wellness #2 – Habits or Observances for a Healthy and Happy Life (Niyama)
Remember, yoga is more than movement. Another of the 8 limbs of yoga is “Cultivating habits or observances for a healthy and happy life – Niyamas”: internal and external cleanliness, practicing contentment, self-control, feeding our mind with uplifting studies, and surrendering the ego.
Set goals and time for ourselves to nourish our minds. Pause and think of something everyday for which we are grateful. It can be as simple as that ideal parking spot, the warmth of the sun, or even that first sip of coffee.
20211201 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
How Yoga Helps Mental Wellness #3 – Breathwork (Pranayama)
Breath is life. It affects our energy, and consequently our quality of life. A controlled breath calms an uprising of emotional energy that may occur in life. Are you a chest breather or a belly breather? As adults, we forget how to breathe. Watch a baby breathe. Their bellies rise and fall with each breath.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages a complete oxygen exchange: all of the outgoing carbon dioxide is traded for incoming oxygen. It slows the heart rate and manages blood pressure. Did you know that one of the reasons massages feel so good is because it causes old blood to flow out of the muscles, allowing fresh blood to flow in? When we belly breathe, the diaphragm naturally lowers into the abdominal organs. When inhaling, the diaphragm pushes on the spleen, pancreas, liver, and stomach, and these organs in turn push on all our other organs. When we exhale the pressure is then released, until the pattern repeats again. Whenever we practice deep abdominal breathing we give our organs a much needed massage, allowing them to be filled with the fresh blood supply to function their best, and increasing our overall wellness.
Practice abdominal breathing. Place a hand on your belly at your navel point. As you inhale, press the belly into your hand. As you exhale, pull the belly in towards your spine. Take care not to slouch as you exhale.
20211228 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
How Yoga Helps Mental Wellness #4 – “Withdrawal from the senses (Pratyahara)”
We are often limited by our habits, tendencies, impulses and weaknesses. We let our senses over-influence ourselves, generating a reaction.
This yoga element suggests we acknowledge yet distance ourselves from the over-stimulation of the world around us.
Pause and give time to relax the body and mind.
Try taking a few minutes to “talk” your body into relaxation. Maintain rhythmic abdominal breathing and repeat the following in your mind:
– “I relax my toes. I relax my toes. My toes are relaxed.”
– Repeat for all body parts: feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, abdomen, abdominal organs, low back, mid-back, upper back, chest, heart, shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, fingers, neck, mouth, eyes, and face
– Close with “I relax my mind. I relax my mind. My mind is relaxed.”
20220119 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom
How Yoga Helps Mental Wellness #5 – Concentration (Dharana)
Concentration (Dharana), another of the 8 limbs of yoga, or steady focus binds the mind to one place, idea or object. It calms the “busy-ness” of the mind and permits you to focus and be present. It overcomes the “monkey-mind”, where the mind swings from one thought to another as a monkey swings from tree to tree. As a First Responder you can see the benefit of a calm concentrating mind.
Practice calming the mind. Acknowledge each thought, image, memory that arises but take control by mentally placing it in a filing cabinet that will only open when you are done with focusing on the present situation.
20220209 – F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom for First Responders
Do you know what is one of the reasons F.R.Y. decided to help First Responders’ wellness out there and create this series of post on our socials called “F.R.Y. Wednesday Wellness Wisdom for First Responders”? The answer lies in the following excerpt of the statement from Stephen Conforti, executive director, financial planning division, city of Toronto:
“Workplace Safety and Insurance Board costs (WSIB cost), which were less than $16 million in 2010, are expected to hit $45 million in 2022, mostly due to provincial legislation around post-traumatic stress disorder claims for first responders, cancer claims for firefighters, and more recently, COVID-19 related claims, according to Stephen Conforti, executive director, financial planning division, city of Toronto.
The $45-million figure does not include claims at the city’s many boards, agencies and commissions, and does not include the cost of WSIB claims at Toronto Police Service, which are expected to hit $16 million in 2022. WSIB claims at police services were up 18 per cent in 2021 alone, after a one-year decline of seven per cent in 2020.
WSIB costs have also risen dramatically at Paramedic Services in Toronto, from $700,000 in 2010, to $2.3 million in 2016. WSIB costs are projected to hit $13.3 million in 2022.”
F.R.Y. co-founders’ vision to help First Responders’ Wellness
We, the F.R.Y. co-founders, had a vision about how to help First Responders’ wellness. We decided to share our experiences and knowledge for First Responders’ wellness. Those of you reading that are First Responders, you deserve to be at your best even when off duty.
F.R.Y. offers tools to First Responders for their body-mind wellness and resilience. Within F.R.Y. The Method First Responders can build up resilience, maintain the body strong and flexible. In addition with F.R.Y. The Method you educate the mind not to react and to be detached from all the stressors that come with that line of duty. Muscle strength exercise alone and all the training First Responders receive about using “the tools” they carry, is not enough anymore. That way of thinking about First Responders’ training must change; it is out of date.
Why F.R.Y. The Method delivered through The APP is of value
The ancient tools F.R.Y. offers for the mind-body wellness and resilience, are supported by many medical studies. Now more than ever First Responders need these mind-body tools and learning:
how to manage stress disorders;
how to shift from fight and flight mode to a more relaxed rest and digest mode;
how to breathe to get all the benefits from the natural breathing pattern;
how to strengthen the body but also develop flexibility to maintain pliability in our tissues and muscles;
how to relax, and
how to develop awareness and mindfulness.
All those tools make up F.R.Y. The Method.
How F.R.Y. can help First Responders’ wellbeing
F.R.Y. is a toolbox for First Responder mind-body wellness and resilience, designed by First Responders for First Responders, available through in-person/virtual sessions and employer/school-sponsored workshops.
trauma-informed functional movement (both energetic and passive)
F.R.Y. The APP the first tool for First Responders’ wellbeing
With F.R.Y. The APP the tools for injury-prevention, stress management, and physical/mental health are available to First Responders anytime, anywhere, immediately when needed at the push of a button, 24/7.
FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders Mind-Body Wellness and Resilience
This is a collection of FRY’s Social Media Posts on Tuesdays, focusing on asana/pose techniques for First Responders mind-body balance and resilience. This is ideal for police, fire, paramedic, and dispatch services to reduce stress, and prevent injury.
In case you missed any on FRY’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn here they are.
20211116 – FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders – FISH POSE
Tight clothing or equipment, neckties, tightly buttoned shirt collars, and shoulder straps create limitation of movement, especially in the shoulders and cervical region. This is greatly emphasized by spending hours hunched over a computer, steering wheel or desk. This posture relieves stiffness and tightness in the neck and shoulders.
Lie down on mat with legs together, extended forward
Place both hands, palms down under body
Reach hands as far down towards knees as possible, pulling shoulders further back
Take a deep inhalation
Bend elbows, pushing them into mat, lifting chest up
Slowly and mindfully lower head back so the crown of the head lightly touches the mat (NOTE: if head does not yet touch the mat, place a small folded blanket under the head until the flexibility arrives)
All the weight should be in elbows and forearms and not on head
Exhale, taking care not to collapse as you exhale
Take a few breaths here
To exit, lower down onto your back, releasing hands from underneath
FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders Mind-Body Wellness and Resilience – SPHINX POSE
“Taking care of the spine should be of utmost importance for everyone, especially for First Responders who need to have the ability to move freely during on-duty circumstances, risky for them and the people involved in a specific situation. Without a healthy spine, sitting up straight, bending over to pick up objects, walking, twisting and moving your neck can become extremely difficult or painful.” ~F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book page 197, available on Amazon
Lay down on abdomen, place hands on the mat, palms facing downward and elbows aligned directly under shoulders,
Reach the top of the head forward, while lifting your chest, elongating the spine
Pull shoulders back from the neck so that shoulder blades slide down back. You should feel your breast bone slightly lift in the process
As you breathe, feel your breath go deeply in the direction of abdomen and lower back
To exit, lower head and shoulders to mat, release hands
20211207 – FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders – LOW LUNGE POSE
This pose not only stretches the hip flexors, front of the back leg and the muscles around the knee, it also provides a stretch for the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs. It helps to improve the strength and flexibility also in shoulders, arms, abdomen, back and knees.
Stand at the top of your mat, feet hip distance apart
Both hips and both shoulders align with the short end of your mat
As you exhale, step straight back with your left foot, landing on the toes with the leg straight, reaching the left thigh to the sky while the toes are grounded
Bend the front right knee
Lower the back knee to the ground
Both hips and both shoulders should still be aligned with the front end of your mat
Reach your arms forward and up to point to the sky, upper arms by your ears
20220118 – FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders Mind-Body Wellness and Resilience – REVERSE PLANK
Many First Responders push weights to build strength, and also don heavy safety equipment, and carry and lift heavy loads. These all create tightness in the shoulders and impinge mobility.
Reverse Plank (or Inclined Plane) stretches the front portion of the shoulders and wrists as well as strengthens the arms and wrists.
Sit in the middle of your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you
Place your hands behind you, fingers pointing backwards, stretching forearms and wrists
Lean back slightly, feeling the opening in the chest and front shoulders
Take a deep inhalation
As you exhale, push into the heels and raise your hips as high as possible into a reversed plank
Try to bring the feet flat to the floor, stretching the front of the ankle
Lower the head backwards if possible, to stretch the front throat
To exit, lower down gently
20220208 – FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders – SHOULDER ROLL
First Responders use the shoulders and neck almost constantly. Whether you are on duty, driving, cleaning, working on the computer, checking your cell phone, you are using these joints and muscles throughout the day. Because of this, many people carry tension and stress in these areas, which can gradually increase to pain and transform to arthritis or tendinitis. Repetitive movements and bad habits cause a gradual injury by wearing down joints or muscles. By keeping the deep tissues stretched around joints you will allow those joints to move freely, avoiding strains and sprains.
Lie on your stomach and stretch your arms outward in a T-shape
Turn your head to the left so that the right ear is on the floor or a support Roll your body behind you to your right
The upper leg (left) is bent into the air, with the bottom of the foot rested on the floor and the bottom arm (right) stretched out straight in this version
Increase sensations by lifting your top hand to the ceiling before laying it across your back
Lay here, allowing your head to remain on the floor or support for three minutes
To exit, unroll to your abdomen, arms by your hips
Repeat other side
20220215 – FRY Tuesday Techniques for First Responders Mind-Body Wellness and Resilience – WILD LEG CHILDS POSE
As First Responders, you may sit for long periods of time and your hips become tight. Wide-leg pose is an excellent and calming pose for stretching the hips and inner thighs (the adductors). It also can relieve neck and back pain, as long as the head and torso are supported. (“F.R.Y. First Responders Yoga. The BOOK” page 133)
On hands and knees (table top)
Both hips and both shoulders align with the short end of mat
Wrists, elbows and shoulders in one vertical line; knees and hips are in another vertical line
With a deep inhalation, reach the crown of your head forward away from the tailbone, elongating the spine
As you exhale, send your hips back towards your heels, resting the glutes on the heels if possible separating your knees, keeping the arms long (if it is not possible to rest the glutes on the heels, roll a blanket or towel and place it behind your knees on your calves. Eventually the support will not be required)
Keep big toes touching
Allowing forehead and maybe chest to the mat (If the forehead does not reach the mat, stack arms, or use a rolled towel to support the head)
First Responders’ Yoga and science: it is not just a pose!
Yoga and science: there is a lot to talk about it to discover that yoga it is not just a pose.
We would like to emphasize the benefits of this ancient practice called Yoga that, in its full spectrum, is what FRY offers to First Responders plus more.
What is Yoga and how it can benefits First Responders
Becoming a Yoga practitioner does not mean you are trying to reach your feet with your hands or training to become a performer for the Circle du Soleil. Doe not mean learning to bend over like a rag doll. Yoga is a body-mind system that has the ability to free yourself. It frees your joints and loosen the kinks within your body. It frees your mind by creating more space and helping you to differentiate without emotional engagement.
Postures are only a little part of yoga. Many other practices and techniques belonging to the yogic path can open the road to your freedom and awareness. Yoga with all its aspects such as postures (asanas), meditation and breathwork may influence multiple psychological mechanisms, such as and just as examples denial, repression, projection, intellectualization. It influences your emotional well-being. Yoga is not just a pose.
A Study about the benefits of Yoga. First Responders need it
A 2020 study examined psychological and emotional changes across a single session of yoga. A group study made of 144 regular yoga practitioners completed measures of mindfulness, body consciousness, self-transcendence, social connectedness, positive engagement, revitalization and tranquility immediately before and after a yoga session. The results have shown that the levels of positive emotions (engagement, tranquility and revitalization) increased post-yoga while exhaustion decreased. What must be underlined is that the study revealed that even a single session of Hatha yoga can improve mood. Yoga with a greater emphasis on restorative postures was associated with greater self-transcendence (going beyond the perceived limits of individual self), spirituality and the emotion of tranquility. Yoga with a greater emphasis on breathwork was associated with greater increases in body consciousness and self-transcendence.
Our suggestion? As Confucius said: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand”. So, try it and through your practice you may have an experience and through your experience you can begin to understand things on a deeper level.
Choose the right teachers. Investigate their background, their studies and experiences. Yoga can be beneficial but can also hurt yourself and mislead you to some wrong beliefs. Wrong movements and improper techniques cannot give any benefit to you.
Once you have done your research, practice. Do it “all in to win it”.
Trust it and you will get the most out of your practice. FRY The APP is here to help with hundreds of follow along videos, mind-set suggestions, live classes and events, meditation, breathwork and specialized classes. All that available anytime, anywhere at a push of a button. Download the APP by using the links available on www.FRYCanada.com
2021-11-15 Benefit of Meditation #1 – Improved Decision-Making
“Did you know that Meditation activates the centers in your brain responsible for decision making, allowing you to make better decisions even when you are not actively meditating? According to the US National Library of Science, meditation has been proven to improve decision-making. All you need to do to receive this benefit is to practice meditation on a daily basis and you will experience this benefit all day long.”
~ “F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 37, available on Amazon
2021-11-22 Benefit of Meditation #2 – Memory Boost
“The Association for Psychological Science has found that meditation can greatly improve your ability to consolidate new information, memorize new information and access memorized information. The coveted theta brainwaves achieved in meditation enhance recallability.”
~ “F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 37, available on Amazon
2021-11-29 Benefit of Meditation #3 – Increased Focus
“Studies have found that meditation increases focus. Instead of reaching for the coffee, all you have to do is regularly practice meditation. Even a simple five-minute meditation session can help promote focus when practiced regularly because focus is a consequence of the lower frequency brain waves you enter in meditation.”
~ “F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 36, available on Amazon
2021-12-06 Benefit of Meditation #4 – Increased Sense of Well-Being
“The U.S National Library of Medicine has found that by practicing meditation you can increase your overall sense of well-being. This means that meditation is proven to increase happiness and peace. The studies associated with meditation and well-being found that it has significant therapeutic benefits, increasing peoples’ quality of life. In short, if you want to improve your life, make the change to practice meditation daily.”
~ “F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 36, available on Amazon
2021-12-13 Benefits of Meditation #5 – Reduce Stress
“The American Journal of Psychiatry, among many other publications, has found that meditation goes a long way in reducing daily stress. In one study, it was found that when meditation is practiced regularly over a three month period, stress is drastically reduced. Another study shockingly found that by practicing meditation you can even reduce the density of your brain tissue that is connected with anxiety and stress.”
~ “F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 35, available on Amazon
2021-12-20 Benefits of Meditation #6 – Immune System Boost
“The International Journal of Yoga and the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine have found that regular meditation can boost the immune system, reducing your risk of getting the flu, viruses, and infections because meditation can downregulate the activity of major stress axes in the body such as the HPA axis. … The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), is responsible for your central stress response, as it intertwines the central nervous system and the endocrine system.”
~“F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 39, 46, available on Amazon
2021-12-27 Benefits of Meditation #7 – Increased Cardiovascular Health
“Diet and exercise are always a good idea, but so is meditation according to JAMA International Medicine. Studies have found that by regularly practicing meditation people can both improve their overall heart health and reduce their risk of heart attack or heart disease because it is also related to shutting off the sympathetic nervous system, your fight-flight-freeze response.”
~“F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 38, available on Amazon
2022-01-03 Benefits of Meditation #8 – Overcome Addictions
“A 2005 study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse has found that meditation is incredibly helpful in overcoming addiction, including addiction to drugs and alcohol…when someone is addicted their brain relies on the external stimuli of their addiction to produce the feel-good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin to feel good. Meditation will train your mind to be happy and naturally “high”, without the need for any addictive substance to feel good.”
~“F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 38, available on Amazon
2022-01-10 Benefits of Meditation #9 – Increase Empathy and Connection
Feeling alone, disconnected from society, family, friends, co-workers? This is very common in our world. Maitri meditation has been proven by the U.S National Library of Medicine to increase empathy, compassion, and your connection to society.
~“F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” Pg 36, available on Amazon
Here we are at the end of this 2021, whose restrictions, worries and some losses made it a difficult one. A bumpy year but WE DID IT!
We have reached the end and maybe for some of you this can be a moment for a yearly recap. Instead of planning for the next unpredictable year, be focused on all the beautiful things you have accomplished this year, on your ability to overcome the uncertainties, and your ability to adapt and move forward. A daily meditation moment teaches you the practice of letting go, which is the practice of stopping the doing, stopping holding on to something or someone. You will become slowly slowly the witness of your mind movements, free of all the recognized emotional entanglement. You will recognize that train of thoughts come and go. It’s like a river with its constant flow of water. Sometimes it is gushing quickly and sometimes it is gushing slowly. You have 2 choices:
You can jump into that river and get swept away by that river, meaning you get involved in your thought process. Sometimes it’s relaxing to float down the river; sometimes, extremely scary. It is part of our existence
You can sit on that riverbank and just watch the river. Whether or not it is a raging torrent or a calm serene river, you can be relaxed and watch it.
Becoming familiar with your mind process and becoming aware of all the emotions that normally give colour to your deeds, speech and thoughts, are the core principles for righteousness. It is a process that will lead you toward non-judgement acting, putting aside all the emotions, unhealthy repetitive patterns and habits that create reactions. And more, you will develop a deeper level of observation: observing your judgments without judgment.
WHAT F.R.Y. ACCOMPLISHED IN 2021, FIRST YEAR OF ACTIVITY:
“F.R.Y. First Responders’ Yoga. The Book” was launched in February 2021 on Amazon, available in both paperback and kindle format.
Our first press release was captured by major media outlets, such as Yahoo!Finance. Click here to read about it.
F.R.Y. The APP, the digitization of The Book, was launched in November 2021 and is now available for download on both ANDROID and APPLE. Live streamed Classes and Events, Life Style and Mind-Set suggestions, Specialized Classes and more are available at a push of the button
We recorded over 700 videos of breathwork (pranayama), Yang & Yin movements (asanas), relaxation techniques, positive affirmations (yoga nidra), meditations, classes and specialized classes.
Our co-founders, Julia and Sasy, penned essays for well known First Responder magazines: Canadian Paramedicine (click here to read the essay) and Canadian Firefighters (click hereto read the essay).
Our Director Sasy was interviewed by Life Boost about his experience in the law enforcement field and and how his knowledge about yoga and meditation have helped him during his 20 years of service as Police Detective. You can listen to the interview here.
We reached over 182,000 people who looked at the content we published on our Facebook and IG pages.
F.R.Y. UPCOMING EVENTS:
Our CEO Julia is leading a 3 hour in-person workshop in the Ottawa area “2022 Vision Board Energy – Create the Life You Wish to Live™“, creating individual vision boards for 2022 while exploring the influence of Kundalini Yoga for Prosperity and Classical Yoga Nidra neuroplasticity. Reserve your spot here (January 9, 2022 9AM-12)
Our Director Sasy is leading “Yin Yoga. Approaching the Functional” online course about Yin yoga and the functional approach to the yoga practice. Reserve your spot here now and get your early bird ticket (course starts on January 22, 2022)
Our CEO Julia is leading a Classically Based Yoga Nidra online course for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of Yoga Nidra for their own practice and self-healing OR Yoga Teachers interested in Certification. No experience with Yoga Nidra required. RELAXATION*VISUALIZATION*MANIFESTATION™. Reserve your spot here (course starts on February 2, 2022)
F.R.Y. The Method In-Person Classes (4-week sessions) will be available Monday nights starting in January 2022 in the Ottawa Area at Willow Wellness. More details and to hold your spot click: Session #1(January 10, 17, 24, 31), Session #2 (February 7, 14, 21, 28), Session #3 (March 7, 14, 21, 28) and Session #4(April 4, 11, 18, 25). No experience necessary.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or book at your convenience a 15 minute appointment with us to know more about our services by using this LINK to our Calendly.
Coregulation! What is that? First Responders need it
Today we talk about “coregulation” and why is important for First Responders.
Stephen Porges, PHD and leader in studying and treating trauma, collected neuroscientific and psychological constructs regarding the role of the vagus nerve in emotion regulation in what he called the Polivagal Theory. One of his affirmations, which I like the most, is: “If you want to improve the world, start by helping people feel safer”
What a credo for First Responders.
Coregulation: First Responders and Empathy
As a front-liner can you recall a moment in your career when you felt truly supported? I have memory of very few moments where I felt very supported. That feeling was perceived by me anytime the helper had a settled nervous system, an empathetic approach to the situation. The empathy was the reason why I felt safe.
No matter what the person’s training was: a therapist or a higher rank than me. If they showed empathy I felt supported. What was perceived by me and made me feel safe was “the heart” he/she put into the interaction with me.
There is a name for this: coregulation. It is a warm interaction that provides support in a given moment. There is a beautiful explanation I found in an article from Khiron Trauma Clinic in UK that says “Coregulation lies at the heart of all human relationships. It is the reciprocal sending and receiving of signals of safety. It is not merely the absence of danger but connection between two nervous systems; each nourishing and regulating the other in the process. Because it is baked into our evolutionary past, it is not a desire, but a need – one developed to facilitate survival. As humans, we therefore are programmed to seek interpersonal connection: it is a biological imperative.”
Nowadays, there is an emphasis on resiliency and mastering our self. They talk about self- regulation, which is the act of managing thoughts and feelings, in a way they can enable goal-directed actions.
But it is necessary to have support in self-regulation. It develops and becomes efficient through interaction. Let’s call the helpers caregivers, for some can be parents, some coaches or therapist, some mentors, some their superior. That process of mutual reinforcement allows us not to stay in a defensive state. The established connection helps us to replace that defensive mode with patterns of protection.
The unknown, the unfamiliar and the nervous system. What First Responders need
This is my point: we are always in a transition of some kind during our career and in our life. We often walk on some unfamiliar path, the unknown path that makes us feel groundless and disregulated. Because of that our nervous system is not completely settled. Fear and stress during work-shift can boost some old subconscious patterns as hope and anticipation can push us in a direction far away from the present moment and the reality of the facts. These are only some ways our nervous systems can become disorganized.
We need interactions, we need to establish warm, heartfull connections. We need coregulation. A good police officer, firefighter, paramedic, and dispatcher needs to be in a state that doesn’t take on their counterpart’s distress and also preserve a space were the other can be at ease in; a place nourished with empathy, where the interaction is based on comprehension and co-regulation support.
It is the same for a good person. Let’s coregulate ourselves for a better world, to help people feel safer and to improve the world.
Repeated Trauma Exposure. What is the price First Responders pay?
Repeated Trauma Exposure can be a big price to pay for First Responders.
35 trauma-exposed firefighters, 32 trauma-exposed CSI police and 23 unexposed matched for health, gender, age and years of education volunteered to participate in a study about the price of repeated traumatic exposure among first responders. The goal was to compare the performance of non-PTSD trauma-exposed firefighters and CSI police, and trauma-unexposed matched controls.
The results of a Repeated Trauma Exposure amongst First Responders
The results of the study have shown a possible hidden price of repeated trauma exposure among First Responders, which is not reflected in the standard measures of PTSD. The price of repeated traumatic exposure is not limited to trauma related conditions. Instead, it reflects a more general impairment, which may affect the way first responders interpret and react to various aspects in their environment.
F.R.Y. Director’s experience as a former Police Detective
By reading the study above I could link the trauma exposure I had during my career as Police Detective with some automatic responses I had at that time. It is amazing how easy you can better analyze the events when everything belong to the past. It is sad how in a given moment you cannot understand what is happening.
I was able to override my default reactions and provide myself more behavioural flexibility by acknowledging those reactions and becoming aware of them. The effort I put in developing that awareness gave to me a greater control by anticipating the reaction and planning ahead to act instead.
My meditation practice and the effort I put in being mindful about what I was feeling in a given moment, were a medicine to me. It is not easy to change unconsciousness behaviour; but if you put effort into increasing your awareness the real change happens.
F.R.Y. The Method for First Responders’ Health
All the above is one of the reason F.R.Y. The Method has a mindful approach to the movement. It is the relationship you have with the movement and not the movement itself that can be a game changer. Meditation and a mindful approach to your life can help you.
Keep practicing constantly and trust The Method. Things simply fall into place.
To help you First Responders and to support Employer, School and Association we released our FRY The APP with hundreds of videos for your mind-body wellness and resilience. Download FRY The APP by using the direct link to the store available on this FRY’s website page
Enoffy is an happy boy as he keeps saying to himself: I am enough, I am enough, I am enough. He always allows those little words to change himself and let go and let his internal shadows fall away like dust.
One of our books for a better life, for a better mind-body wellness
Do you want to know more about neuroscience? Please read the book “The Key to Happiness” authored by Sasy, F.R.Y. Director. Here is the direct link to buy it: https://amzn.to/3i8SLUt
Read the article published on Canadian Firefighter magazine and written by our CEO Julia to learn tips to incorporate self-care into your life. The essay is available at the page 24 of the July digital magazine and we leave the link also here for an easy reading:
Are you a First Responder interested in becoming a yoga teacher and leading the
F.R.Y.™ The Method classes to your colleagues?
Please CONTACT US to learn the process.
Are you a yoga teacher? Interested in licensing and teaching the F.R.Y.™ The Method
in your city?
Please CONTACT US.
We will also be hiring more educators to train and lead our specialized workshops.
We look forward to hearing from you.
To create a supportive community for First Responders and to share F.R.Y. The Method, an
equilibrium practice for a better life movement
To bring in one place, virtually and in person, a tool box for First Responders mind-body
wellness that compiles breathwork, trauma-informed functional yoga movement, meditation,
lifestyle and positive affirmation techniques all in one place, designed for First Responders by
First Responders, tailored to their needs.