Traveling Art Exhibition
CRM has been used worldwide and we have witnessed the capacity it builds for cultivating individual, community and societal well-being through various life challenges. The six CRM wellness skills are important for public health professionals because it is a public health model that promotes health and healing. The skills can be used by individuals for self-care, by systems and by those who serve the community in various capacities such as K-12 school staff, youth serving organizations, faith-based communities, health care staff and others. CRM is resiliency focused and is about cultivating our well-being, embracing our individual and collective assets and strengths, being solution-focused about life’s challenges, being compassionate, optimistic, and acknowledging different levels of struggle with kindness.
As we think about how to address the needs of our communities, we need to consider the various levels of how to make an impact. We aspire to facilitate and support the creation of a thriving, self-sustainable community that is rich with mental wellbeing supports including: healthy relationships, a strong sense of identity, social cohesion, extensive opportunities to connect to meaningful cultural practices, and a wide range of mental health services.
- Tracking is most important for self-care. Tracking also involves paying attention to others we care about in our life. What do we notice about our friend when he is talking about an unpleasant work experience? Does he look tense in his muscles, does he make a frown? We also may notice feeling down, happy, sleepy or excited at times when we are talking to a friend. We may realize that we are picking up the mood of the person we are talking to…we sometimes unconsciously read someone else’s nervous system (mirror neurons, perhaps) and begin sensing what they are sensing. Reading the nervous system and paying attention to sensations of wellbeing can begin to change the way we walk in the world.
- Resourcing. Identifying resources and tracking sensations connected to the resource develops internal resiliency and a renewed sense of one’s own abilities and capacity to stabilize the nervous system. Individuals are often surprised about how many resources they have in their life. If a person cannot identify a resource, the hope of creating a resource can also bring about changes within the nervous system. As the person begins to sense pleasant, neutral, or less distressing sensations in the body connected to the identified resource, they begin to feel hope and possibility. Resourcing is a strength-building skill. There are three types of resources, which can be drawn upon to enhance nervous system reorganization: 1) external resources, 2) internal resources and 3) imagined resources. Imagined resources are those we have not yet experienced, but can imagine.
- Grounding refers to the relationship between a person’s body and the present moment. When we are anxious, we are often focused on something that has happened in our past or something that might happen in the future. However, by bringing our attention to the present moment – literally to the parts of our body making contact with a supportive surface – we can communicate a greater sense of safety to our nervous system. You can ground through your hands, feet, and your whole body. We have found that not everyone can ground sitting down, so providing options for grounding is paramount. You can ground standing, sitting, and lying down. You can ground while floating in water by paying attention to the support of the water holding your body up. You can also ground by being aware of your hands, feet or another body part making contact with a surface.
"One person said that the exhibit taught them that touching things can sometimes be calming, even when you don't realize it. They also said that the exhibit taught them that focusing on things can be a coping mechanism, even when something is intense.”
- Gesturing can emerge spontaneously and is usually below conscious awareness. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gesture as a “movement usually of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea, sentiment, or attitude and the use of motions of the limbs or body as a means of expression.” Gestures have a special meaning to the words that they accompany. In CRM, it has been repeatedly observed that individuals all over the world, regardless of their culture and ethnicity, make gestures while they speak about healing experiences in their lives. In addition, there are also gestures that are inherently self-soothing that can be a part of an individual’s repertoire for self-regulation. Types of gestures that might be observed include protective gestures, joyful gestures, or powerful gestures.
- Help Now!/Reset Now. This skill involves specific strategies to bring down activation within the nervous system when a person is stuck in either the high or low zone. The strategies help the person focus on something else besides the distress and the sense of being overwhelmed. The strategies activate other parts of the body and brain that help the person come back into balance. For example, slowly pushing again the wall, using the strength of your arms and legs and the large muscles of the body, helps to regulate the nervous system and bring it back into balance. Conversationally helping someone with this skill can for many quickly get them back to their RZ. Help now! Strategies can be shared with family and friends to help an individual get back to his resilient zone. In the iChill App, there is a button on the front of the app that says Help Now! that can be readily accessed if you are bumped out of your Resilient zone.
- Shift and Stay is the sixth and final wellness skill. Shift and Stay integrates all five skills learned so far. This skill emphasizes that the person has the ability to shift awareness to one of the skills they have been practicing throughout their activities of daily living when trauma and/or stress-related reactions arise unexpectedly. There are many internal and external reminders that can create fear, anxiety, volatility, and isolation. When this occurs, the person can use the Shift and Stay skill to shift their attention from the distressing sensations in the body to a Resource, to Grounding, to a self-soothing Gesture, to a Help now! strategy, or simply to a place in the body that feels calmer or neutral. The person then stays with those sensations until stabilization has occurred. So, tracking is an important part of Shift and Stay.
"I was particularly impacted by a group of first graders who visited the exhibition. I was delighted when I overheard the group talking about "Resourcing" and looking at Ginnie Hsu's Self-Care series of illustrations in the galleries. When students were asked about the kinds of things they did to feel better, they excitedly shared various activites, from searching for rocks for their rock collection to taking a walk outside to playing with siblings, friends, and classmates. They were sitting in a group on the floor of the gallery and began to wiggle, scoot closer, and became more engaged as they volunteered their answers." - Laura Winkle, Associate Curator of Engagement