Tips for Dealing with Trauma During the Holidays

Gail Johnson

The Holidays can be especially difficult for folks who are grieving or who have experienced trauma. Gail Johnson has some tips for how to regain a sense of calm and perspective when a holiday situation confounds and overwhelms you:



First, pause……..

Take a gentle breath in through your nose (like sniffing a flower) let it out as softly as blowing bubbles….repeat until you feel a change in body tension.

Second, notice the upsetting thing before you…

Put it on the left side of a split screen and give it a number (indicating from 1-5 the level of distress you feel).

Third…remember something that makes you feel calm…

On the right side of the split screen put a gentle calming event, place, person ,etc. that gives you ease.  Spend at least double the time on that right side.

Fourth, toggle…

Think back to the left side and stay there long enough to evaluate distress (indicate your level of distress with a new number).

Fifth, toggle again…

Think back to the calming right side and stay there long enough to get more ease.

Repeat until the left side goes to zero. Throughout the exercise, breathe gently and lightly, as though you were sleeping….