Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

PTSD is a condition where our central nervous systems are constantly scanning for potential threats. It’s our brains’ way of keeping us safe. The problem is, it’s easy to miss the good stuff. By hyper-focusing on danger, we overlook signs of safety.

We may have a good sense of triggers, those are the people, places or things that create a sense of danger or unease.  In contrast, Trauma Specialist Deb Dana introduced the term glimmer to describe experiences that foster a sense of safety.  Glimmers are small moments that help shift our system towards calm. 

This month in our Maintaining Health group, we worked on recognizing Glimmers. It’s really about intention. Noticing both sides of the equation.

Hurricane Fiona created challenges for many. It also brought out the best as communities bonded together to help one another. A tree may have fallen on my veranda, but the plentiful rain produced the best crop of carrots I have ever had. I’ve never seen such abundance. That’s my glimmer.

If you catch yourself focusing on the threat or problem, take a mindful moment to balance the equation. Notice the simple things that bring you peace: the crisp fall air, colourful leaves, or pumpkin people dancing on the lawns of Kentville.

Don’t forget to enjoy the glimmers.Warm Regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

The power of walking one step at a time

The power of walking one step at a time

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The power of walking one step at a time

No matter how long your journey appears to be, there is never more than this: one step, one breath, one moment… Now.
               – Eckhart Tolle

Many of you who know me know that my family is strongly connected to Africa.  We’ve taken school groups to Kenya and Tanzania, both for community service and a trek up to the top of Kilimanjaro.  My son Kyle, my daughter Mackenzie, and I have done Kili twice.  Joe, my husband, eight times.  Each time, leading a group of trusting students.
 
Park rangers tell us that, generally speaking, half of the travellers who try don’t summit.  Our groups average a 98% success rate.  Here are some of the things we’ve learned that help:

  • Training takes time, and is done in gradual increments.  The journey is made one step at a time, one breath at a time. We start in September for a March climb.  Early training hikes are short, weight free, and low intensity. Over time we increase intensity, duration and load.
  • Working as a team increases the likelihood of success.  We train together, walk together, celebrate together, and struggle together.
  • No headphones are allowed.  By staying connected, we talk and encourage one another.  The strength of our team is directly related to the strength of the relationships with have with one another.
  • Every hike involves treats: something home-baked and yummy to look forward to.

Trauma recovery is like a personal expedition to Kilimanjaro.  I like to think all of the same principles apply.  Working together, we can significantly shift the odds in our favour.  As the guides say Pole pole (slow slow)…one step at a time.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

We’ve got this

We’ve got this

The wonderful thing about starting a New Year is that it’s a fresh start.  

This is the time of year when we reflect on who’ve we’ve been this past year, and who we want to be in the year ahead.  The ritual of making New Year’s resolutions is a cultural tradition that normalizes the act of publically declaring our intention to change- identifying the ways in which we hope to grow, and asking those around us to support us. 

Implicit in this is the notion that change is more likely to occur when we don’t do it alone

The trick is starting small and doing it in good company.  Together, we’ve got this.

Consider making us part of your change. Give us a call to see which programs might be best for you. There’s always room for one more.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

The discomfort of being in transit

The discomfort of being in transit

Have you ever noticed the expression on people’s faces when they’re riding the subway?  It’s a specific look: slack face, eyes downcast staring intently at an imaginary object on the floor.  Some people wear ear buds, some read their digital novels, others close their eyes and escape to their thoughts to pass the time.  There’s something about being in transit that’s uncomfortable.  We’re willing to endure it, because it doesn’t last and it’s taking us somewhere we want to be.  Like an ill-fitting coat, we’ll put up with it temporarily because we know that, in a short time, we’ll be able to take it off and be somewhere better.

If you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable with the spot you’re in, know that it’s normal.  It can feel like a long dark tunnel, where you’re impatiently waiting to get to your destination. It’s good to remind ourselves that any good trip has periods of discomfort.  It’s the nature of transit.  Don’t let it scare you.  It’s worth the journey.  

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Measuring growth

Measuring growth

On the surface, a young seedling looks fragile. In fact, it has likely spent a good deal of energy and time growing roots, and building strength even before it breaks the earth’s surface.

Trauma recovery is like that.  Chances are, a great deal of growth happens even before anyone notices.  When people come for their first group session or counselling appointment, they have usually started a change process even before walking through the door.  Merely deciding to make a change is a step in the right direction.

You may be unsure if you are ready to join a group, but the fact that you are starting to think about it is evidence that you may be further along than you think.  Some people may get a new plant and think it is just beginning.  In truth, we know that it has already had to prove it’s resilience by making it this far.

We invite you to imagine how it might feel to sit in a group with others who understand what it took for you to get here, as they have had to do the same.

A strand of trees grows stronger than a single seedling. 

This fall we are offering a number of groups. Something for everyone, irrespective of where they are in their recovery.


If you’re thinking you may be ready to join a group this September, give us a call.  

We’d love to hear from you.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Dawn of a new beginning

Dawn of a new beginning

Today is the day things start to return to normal.  The dawn of a new beginning.  Stores will open.  We can go out for dinner again.  Heck if I’m lucky I may even score a haircut in the near future.

When we are faced with threat, it’s normal to be hesitant to step back out there.

It’s like falling off a horse… it can be hard to get back on.  The problem is, if we don’t, it will be hard to get back into a normal routine.  A natural recovery curve happens after any traumatic exposure.  It’s natural to want to hide in order to keep ourselves safe, but we will never really know that the danger has passed until we leave our rabbit holes. It’s only by putting ourselves out there, that we are able to know that we can experience new things without negative consequences.  

If we avoid going out, we never learn that it’s safe. That’s when we get stuck.

So I encourage you to go out.  Do it safely, of course, practicing social distancing and proper health precautions.  But take the steps necessary to restore a semblance of normalcy to your life.

Enjoy the beauty of the sunrise.  Laugh with a neighbour.  Share a meal with a friend.

Warm regards,