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Mindfulness practices for sexual assault survivors

Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.  

– Sharon Salzberg 

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the quality or state of being aware of something. When we practice mindfulness, we are taking the opportunity to be in the present moment without distraction, judgement or criticism of oneself. Practicing mindfulness is important because often times in our day to day lives, we are constantly in movement – with our thoughts, bodies, routines. Taking time in the day to be mindful allows us to connect with ourselves on a deeper level. Almost like a reset button – which anyone can see the benefit in that. 

Mindfulness most often includes techniques like:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Timing your breathing
  • Focusing on your thought(s)
  • Creative techniques – drawing or coloring something in detail (like a flower)
  • Listening to music
  • Focusing on an object that allows you to use most of the 5 senses (touch, sight, hearing smell and taste)

These techniques are all helpful tools for survivors of sexual assault to use in supporting their healing journey’s. Mindfulness allows negative thoughts and feelings to take a back seat by focusing on something positive during the practice. Whether that be an object, thought, image, or activity like creating art or yoga. The beauty of Mindfulness is that it can be practiced anytime and open to creative interpretation depending on the survivor’s preference. 

Survivors of who regularly practice mindfulness are known to see improvements in their:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Better coping skills
  • Increased ability in managing anxiety
  • Better quality of physical and mental health
  • Increase in self-esteem
  • Better sleep
  • Higher level of concentration
  • Openness to creativity 
  • Development of healthier habits 

The benefits of practicing mindfulness have several long-term benefits including changes in mood, higher levels of happiness and a greater sense of well-being. Several resources on mindfulness and how to begin practicing the techniques discussed in this blog can be found online. Here are a few websites that offer great insight.

About Katie Smith

Katie Smith, Director of Communications has worked for WC SAFE for over nine years. She wears several different hats for the organization including managing marketing, social media, interns/volunteers, operations and events. Her favorite role is helping to co-facilitate the art therapy program. In her free time, she loves attending Pure Barre classes, gardening, reading, and long bike rides.