“I’ve been through a lot of trauma, grief, and loss since I was young, and it feels like everything good in life is short-lived or only for other people. I’m struggling to find meaning in my life. The pain and suffering I’ve experienced cause me to question my purpose, and whether anything really matters. It’s hard to look forward to things when I’m always waiting for them to fall apart. I find it hard to trust that the world can be a good place, and I often find myself going through the motions and just surviving. I want to find a way to get unstuck and start feeling like life is worth living in a way that’s more fulfilling.”
Using art or creativity – visual arts, dance, make-up, movement, music, writing, fashion, theater – to express ourselves can help us process emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and reframe narratives in transformative and empowering ways.
Many of us grew up quickly, and we may not have spent much time experiencing the freedom of play. As adults, play helps us connect, build community, and collaborate more effectively. Play also boosts the brain in similar ways to meditation, increasing our ability to focus and be present in the moment, and enhancing our
Awe is the feeling we get in the presence of something that shifts our perspective, like a camera lens zooming out and broadening our horizons. Awe pivots our attention away from ourselves, helps us feel like we are part of something bigger, and boosts our generosity toward others. When we experience awe, our everyday concerns tend to feel less overwhelming – as we feel smaller, so do our worries. Intentionally seeking moments that bring us the feeling of awe can keep us feeling connected to others and the world around us, and can provide needed changes in our point of view.
Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, in collaboration with HopeLab, Greater Good in Action presents a searchable, customizable collection of research-based methods for a happier, more meaningful life. Over time, these practices – including awe-inspiring activities – can evolve into habits, and from habits come new ways of experiencing the world.
From the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, these activities include video modules on expressive meditations like shaking, dancing, drawing, and writing, and mindful meditations like guided imagery. These techniques, when practiced regularly, are powerful tools for helping heal the effects of trauma on our minds and bodies.