By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)
This is an article I never wish I had to write, but with the high recurrence of mass shootings and pure inaction of the powers that be to do anything to stop them, our reality in the USA is that mass shootings have become a normalized part of everyday life. Yet, for the communities in which these shootings occur, the trauma from such an event will forever change and shape that community.
Collective trauma is when people share an emotional reaction to a bad event and leads to people feeling powerless, alone, scared, and uncertain about the future. As a society, we’ve all experienced collective trauma when we’ve seen our communities affected by natural disasters, acts of terrorism, global pandemics and just about everything in between. Collective trauma can be viewed as a fractal measure of scale, that is self-similarity in the emotions involved regardless of size. It can be experienced by small few, say a sports team affected by the injury or death of their teammate, a large group such as a school that experienced a mass shooting, an entire city that has been partially burnt down by a wildfire, a social community that has experienced a mass shooting, a country that has been subject to a terrorist attack and even the entire planet hit by a global pandemic. Unfortunately, I write these out as examples of collective trauma I and many others have directly experienced. In this article, I am sharing some of my anecdotal experiences in this regard as well.
By Bryson Kelpe & Dirk Smith
Mindfulness is about attention and awareness, which are important in high performance situations and in maintaining good mental health. Mindfulness is often a topic of conversation and even the theme of many apps.
‘As long as you are breathing there is more right with you than wrong with you’- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Just saying ‘being more mindful and less judgemental´is not just a philosophy but a way of living and being. In performance, it can be a transformative practice and help practitioners get out of autopilot.
The nonjudgmental part gets people out of negative thought cycles and
ruminations that hinder performance and mental health.
The mind can get caught up in unhealthy thought cycles or states (ruminations). Even basic mindfulness practices can cultivate awareness that allows people to take a step back and observe that they are in a negative thought cycle.
By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL (He/Him).
It is safe to say that this last year living in the Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy for any of us. From the political instabilities, uncertainty regarding jobs, finances, health, endless lockdowns and never-ending incompetence from governmental institutions, a lot of people (including myself) are really struggling with our mental health during these uncertain times. It is safe to say that once this is all behind us, this time will turn into our generation’s “uphill both ways” metaphor of struggle we bore kids with. However, in order for us to get to that point, we need to take care of ourselves now.
David "Dirk" Smith M.Sc, SDL, CSCS, (He/Him), is a sport psychology expert, performance coach, teacher, writer, journalist, and athlete. He brings over 10 years of experience as a coach, athlete, personal trainer, fitness instructor, and sports psychologist to drive athletes to build their own self efficacy and express themselves through sport. Learn more about Dirk here!