The sorrows of duty, like the heat of the sun, have scorched your heart. But let stillness fall on you with its sweet and cooling showers, and you will find happiness. ~ Ashtavakra Gita
Brain Science Shows Why It's a Great Idea for First Responders to Meditate
I didn't need a neuroscientist to tell me I was suffering from the effects of chronic stress. I knew that. I lived it. Every. Single. Day. But, I needed a few of them to prove to me that mindfulness meditation could help me do something about it.
Here's what the research is saying about mindfulness meditation:
Increases emotion regulation
Enhances attention and focus
Reduces the effects of stress
Alleviates depression and anxiety
Improves sleep patterns
Aids in better decision-making amidst chaos
How You Can Protect and Serve First Responders
You probably want your first responders to be safer, healthier and happier. Here's what I want:
I want to train first responders in mindfulness meditation and train police and fire service leaders and decision-makers the value of mindfulness and resiliency training in the field of public safety. In retrospect, I realize how much this could have helped me during my own 21-year career as a cross-trained police officer, firefighter, and paramedic. I want to help others integrate mindfulness meditation into their lives so they can have richer, deeper, safer, and more meaningful personal and professional lives. I want them to know they don't have to choose between who they are and what they do for a living; that they can be better at both through the practice of mindfulness meditation.
More often than not, a hero's most epic battle is the one you never see; it's the battle that goes on within him or herself. ~ Kevin Smith
A great way to serve your first responders is to offer professional instruction in mindfulness meditation. I have developed mindfulness and resiliency training courses specifically for police officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency dispatch personnel. The skills training they receive is practical, non-religious, and can be learned in a few short hours. One first responder to another, these are truly the only tools needed to begin incorporating life-changing mindfulness and meditation practices into your daily life.
Just to Clarify... Meditation is a collection of techniques that, when practiced over time, settle the nervous system and train the brain to be more focused and engaged. A regular mindfulness meditation practice will create real and lasting changes to the physical structures of the brain, enabling first responders to become more resilient, less emotionally reactive and better able to cope with stressful situations.
While there are mindfulness techniques and peace-finder practices I can teach for use in stressful situations, meditation, in and of itself, is NOT an isolated tool for police officers and firefighters to use on-duty. What I mean is, they DO NOT pull up to a call and close their eyes and focus on their breathing. Nor do they ever pull over, close their eyes and meditate inside their patrol car, fire apparatus or MICU. That would be a HUGE safety issue!