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Saprea > Online Healing Resources > Our Approach >Healing Resources: Meditation

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Meditation is an excellent way to practice Mindfulness by focusing your attention intentionally and with purpose.

Oftentimes, our minds tend to wander away from the present and towards the wounds of the past or the unknowns of the future. This is especially the case for survivors of child sexual abuse, who may sometimes find themselves feeling stuck in the trauma of what has already happened or experiencing anxiety about what has yet to occur. One of the most effective ways to help bring your focus away from these anxieties and back to the present is meditation, a technique of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness  is purposefully paying attention with kindness and curiosity to the present moment. When you actively practice Mindfulness regularly, you’ll soon find that you feel calmer, more in control, and can live your life in a more intentional way. Being mindful can take many forms, which all have a benefit. Exploring different ways to practice Mindfulness and finding the ones best suited for your needs, interests, and experience is certainly worth the effort.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me Heal?

We have thousands of thoughts each day. Chances are, if you’re a survivor of child sexual abuse, you have thoughts you wish would just go away! You may sometimes encounter triggers, or reminders of the abuse, that bring up painful memories or exacerbate certain symptoms linked to your trauma. You might feel stuck in the unwanted associations of the past, or you might feel anxious and overwhelmed by what the future holds. That’s where Mindfulness can help you. If you can stay grounded in the present instead of fighting or focusing on intrusive thoughts, you can be more empowered to move forward on your healing journey.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation is an especially powerful way to practice Mindfulness; it includes anytime we direct our focus with intention and purpose. Each time we practice directing our attention in this manner, we are increasing our ability to create new neural pathways in the brain and to shift our focus from thought patterns that are unwanted or unhelpful and towards thought patterns that are uplifting and empowering.

Sometimes this type of focus can feel difficult, especially when we have a lot on our minds. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle to maintain your focus for lengthy periods of time, especially if you are just starting to explore mindful practices. Remember, it’s natural for the mind to wander, which is why a key part of Mindfulness is learning to redirect your attention back to the present, gently and without judgment. A meditation activity can be just the way to get some experience and lay a foundation for more mindful action!

Disclaimer: While practicing meditation, there's a chance you might experience dissociation and/or triggers. If this occurs, we encourage you to pause the meditation and redirect your attention to your breath or to a detail in your present environment (the color of a lamp, the sound of a fan, the feel of the carpet beneath your feet, etc.). From there, reassess if you'd like to continue the activity or try something else that may better meet your needs right now.

Activity Steps


Choose an anchor to focus on such as a word, image, quote, or sensory detail. You can even choose your own breath.


Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and pick a time of day that works best for you. Some people prefer mornings, others prefer nights; experiment to find what feels most effective for you.


Choose a specific amount of time to meditate. You might start with five minutes and, over time, work your way up to whatever your desired amount of time will be. Or, you might adjust based on what you feel you need that day. Setting a timer may help; that way you’re not constantly checking the clock.


Relax, with eyes closed or opened with a soft gaze, and focus on the word(s), image, or other detail you’ve selected as your anchor.


Breathe slowly and fully. Find the speed that works for you (or you can refer to the Paced Breathing resource on our site).


When your mind wanders, notice what your mind is interested in examining, and then bring it back to your anchor. Be patient with yourself, refocus, and keep going.


As you wrap up your meditation, take a moment to reflect on the experience and its effectiveness. What feedback are you getting from your body? What thoughts or emotions are you experiencing? Observe your responses with kindness and curiosity.

You could also try following along with this guided meditation to claim a moment of Mindfulness.

Using guided meditation and guided imagery is an excellent way to build up your ability to practice Mindfulness and focus on themes and actions that will help you heal and grow.

How Do I Know if My Meditation Is Working?

You will know you are making progress when you are more able to gently redirect your focus toward the present moment or toward ideas you enjoy meditating about. As you do so, you calm the limbic system, which will allow you to take more control when it tries to protect you in an unhelpful way. You also strengthen your frontal lobe by teaching your mind how to respond to your direction. It may feel unnatural to meditate at first but working through these exercises will strengthen your ability to address intrusive thoughts you do not want to dwell on by grounding your attention to the present and building more control over where you direct your focus.
Your mind is not the only part of you that will benefit from including meditations into your routine. There is much evidence being collected regarding the physical benefits of mindful practice. Regular Mindfulness promotes improved concentration, decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, helps manage blood pressure, and decreases physical stress and tension. Be attentive to what you feel and experience and use your judgement to continue what brings you positive results.

Mix It Up

There are many different meditations available that you can explore. Here are some great search terms you can use to help find the next one you want to try:

  • Grounding meditations
  • Guided imagery meditation
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Visualization meditation

And if you are having trouble finding fresh ways to meditate, here are some ideas and examples of how you can take a new approach to these important moments of Mindfulness:

  • Your location: If you tend to meditate outside, try meditating in a library.
  • Your anchor: If you usually focus on a physical anchor like breathing, pick out a word or phrase to focus on next.
  • Time duration: If you meditate for five minutes one day, try meditating for ten minutes the next day.
  • Your physical position: If you usually meditate lying down, try meditating sitting up.
  • Who you’re with: If you’ve already meditated by yourself, try meditating with another person or a group of people.
  • The ambiance of your meditation space: If you’ve meditated in silence, try meditating with calming music.
  • The pace of your breathing: If you usually breathe 4-2-6, try 3-2-4

    As you seek out what meditations work best for you and apply those meditations to your daily routine, you are practicing:

    • Acknowledgement by accepting how the trauma of child sexual abuse may be impacting your thought patterns and increasing your need to reconnect with the present.
    • Mindfulness by guiding your attention where you’d like it to go, and gently redirecting it with compassion and curiosity whenever it begins to wander.
    • Aspiration by learning to calm your limbic system, guide your frontal lobe, and build new neural pathways that will strengthen the connection between the two.