The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer’ Stress and Mental Health

The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer’ Stress and Mental Health

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.

If you want to understand more about the benefits of the meditation in its wide aspect listen to Khube Rinpoche’s interview. I had the honour to interview him on behalf of F.R.Y., First Responders’ Yoga Canada.

This is one of the reasons why F.R.Y. The Method, developed with the intent to help First Responders’ mind-body health, includes the mindfulness training. 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 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.

I am trying to do my best to support you


What is Meditation?

What is Meditation?

I had a pleasure to interview Khube Rinpoche about the benefits of meditation for First Responders. It was a very pleasure conversation and as always Rinpoche, with his loving and kind attitude, shared with me and with F.R.Y. audience his deep knowledge

You can see the teaser of the interviewee here


Killing the Buddha.

Killing the Buddha.

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” When I first heard that assertion, I was frowned. How can someone who is on spiritual path, on a path that should push you to have an “inner growth”, suggests to kill someone else?

I took a moment of reflection for me to understand that the speaker was not referring to killing Lord Buddha but killing our conceptualization and belief, the idea we understand it all. This was the means of “Killing the Buddha”

We all face up moments in our journey where we need to seek advice from those further along the path. But within the teacher-student relationship can arise a point at which the student can idolize the teacher and forgoes his own growth that is the purpose of all spiritual practice. It happened to me.

What I realized in all these years, trying to quench my spiritual thirst and my desire to understand life on a deeper level, is that we need a mentor especially at the beginning but we do not need to assign our “enlightenment” to someone else thinking that only through them we become free. That is attachment and by hero-tizing someone else you are belittling yourself on some level. There is no savior, the disillusion to rely on a guru that can turn out to be just another man like you must be accepted. The teacher open up a door for you but you have to walk yourself through it, becoming a teacher yourself through some guide at the beginning for sure but then through your own practice, your deep contemplation, your study.

We need to have regression in our practice, to remain open instead of be closed in our believing. We need to move on our path, whatever it is, with a Zen Beginner’s Mind: a mind that knows that it doesn’t know everything at all

This brings you toward a total exposure, a place of full vulnerability at all the uncertainties and insecurities, and become at ease in that vulnerability.

So, the next time you see the Buddha on the road, be sure to kill him.


Coregulation! What is that?

Coregulation! What is that?

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.

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. That 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 as 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.

And 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. 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.

Sasy, F.R.Y. Director

Free Yoga Class, lecture and workshop! Woohoooo! Guess you love it!

Free Yoga Class, lecture and workshop! Woohoooo! Guess you love it!

It seems today find a free yoga class is as easy as blinking your eyes. You never hesitate to accept something for free as it is very easy to say yes when you do not have to pay.
Offering something for free allows the teacher to reach a wider audience and if he is trying to establish his niche, offering some free classes is a really good try. Offering free classes or better donation-based class with a purpose or to celebrate a special event, is also something remarkable.
But there is a big drawback of the “free yoga” and that is true not only for yoga.
First, your teacher are not getting paid for what you offer. Is that the value you give to yourself?
Second, again from the teacher side, offering free class lowers even more the value of what you do, your studies, your knowledge, your teaching. People who get something for free cannot see the value of what you do and about who you are. Do you want people release good hormones in your class? Then that “I-accomplish hormone” called dopamine that is released when you face up challenges in your life and you do not run away from it but you stay with it,need to have a challenging stimulus that cannot be only physical. More, your sense of accomplishment as a teacher won’t be there too.
Third, from student side, if you get something without paying you do not have any stake in the final result: you will end up to follow instructions that you will store in an easy-to-forget drawer of your mind. You won’t follow the teaching carefully, you won’t learn anything that can be an experience from which you can get more insight and wisdom to use in your life.
Free yoga classes are like broken chain but you will always have the cuff around your wrist.
You are special.

You are special.

Hello my dear.

It has been days I am talking to you. And today just as the other days I keep saying you were born for greatness, you are meant to live your life as a shining star.

You are so special as you are trying not to trudge through your life but shine within it and make a difference in this world just for the person you are, by sharing your love and your knowledge with humbleness.

I am talking to you as I want you not to forget you are special and I want to help you to kick out of your life the shadows, the judgments, the fears that keep following you all the way around the places you have been, all the way inside your heart. But your heart is pure, it is joy and it is fearless. That’s why I am talking to you

A great man said stay hungry, stay foolish and I am repeating these words to you: stay hungry, stay foolish and fly high as you are special. Yes, you are the hero you would always like to be, you are trying to make this world a better place to stay.

You are special, believe me as I never lie.

That is the voice of my beloved, a talk to myself.