Thursday, July 6, 2023

Build Your Resiliency With Tactical Self-Care

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Every day, first responders put their lives on the line to protect our communities, often facing high levels of stress and cumulative trauma on a daily basis. The demanding nature of their work exposes Fire, Police, EMS, and 911 Dispatch to trauma, and prolonged exposure to difficult circumstances. These experiences can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress injury  (PTSI). Recognizing the impact of these challenges and providing the necessary support is essential.

By prioritizing the mental well-being of first responders, we can not only improve their overall health but also enhance their ability to perform their duties effectively. Resilience training, counseling services, and creating a supportive environment are just some of the ways we can promote their mental strength.

Rodger Ruge, a renowned mental health expert and advocate, has dedicated his career to supporting the well-being of first responders. As a former police officer himself, Ruge intimately understands the unique challenges they face on a daily basis. With this vast knowledge and experience, Rodger and Dr. Renee Thornton have developed a groundbreaking approach called Navigating Adversity: Tactical Self-Care for First Responders.

Through practical strategies and tools, Navigating Adversity equips first responders with the skills to take care of themselves while fulfilling their demanding roles. The program incorporates mindfulness techniques, stress reduction practices, and effective communication strategies to promote overall well-being.


Rodger shared the following with us in his recent interview on Responder Resilience:

Recently, I've shifted my format to writing books, because a book empowers the individual to their own learning, their own growth. Navigating Adversity: Tactical Self-Care for First Responders is one of the books I wrote with Dr. Renee Thornton. It’s a lifelong resource that first responders can call upon so that when critical incidents occur, they are prepared to Navigate Adversity. Another nice aspect of writing a book that calls out the issues, but also offers solutions. Things you can try and experiment with to find what really resonates with you. And the beauty in all of that is no one has to know you're doing it.

So if you're feeling a little self-conscious about studying breath work or doing a meditation practice, or maybe you're going to re-engage with your spirituality in a different way than you have before, but you're worried about what people might think of you, here's a book. Study it all you want, practice it all you want and don't tell anyone if you want. Let's empower the individual. 

What ends up happening here is a ripple effect because all of a sudden the person who starts doing this work will shift. It is impossible not to. And then people notice, and then people start going, “Hey, you seem like you're really relaxed and happy and peaceful. What are you doing?” 

“Well, I found this and I found that and I've been doing this and that, and it's just been helping me a lot.”

“Really. Tell me more about that.”

And then we create a little grassroots ripple where the individual's empowered. And if you have a highly dysfunctional organization, now it doesn't matter. You have empowered yourself to this enhancement, this upleveling of your human potential. How awesome is that?

A lot of folks really struggle with creating some form of behavioral change. A paradigm change is really difficult to achieve. But somebody said something interesting to me: It's about doing inch pebbles, and inch pebbles lead to milestones. 

If you're really stuck, here's my advice to you. Please go and seek help. We are really pressed hard to try to do this on our own. To me it is a sign of strength when you reach out and ask someone for help. It doesn't matter what that looks like, but ask someone for help. Maybe you decide you're going to pick up James Clear's book Atomic Habits, because you want to build a new habituated pattern in your life. Okay, great. That's also reaching outside yourself from some assistance. But look at all the things that are out there now. Or if you can't find something, come talk to me. 

The next time you surf the internet, surf for you and go find something for you. You deserve it. Trust me, it's worth it.

(To be continued)

By: Dr. Leslie Valle & the Prevention101 Editorial Team

During the Covid-19 surge, interviews with emergency medical professionals showed dramatic cases of ICU and ER responders exposed to major signs of advanced fatigue and risk of burnout.  This significantly raised major risks to their work performance where lives are to be affected, including theirs.  Over time, double and triple shifts resulted in "a different type of pandemic" on a national scale- where this level of exhaustion and overwhelm.  

Where a leave of absence, a vacation or regular rest is not an immediate option, we can start with addressing BRAIN HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH.  Modern meditation solutions (like BrainTap®, Loving Meditations® and other such technologies) are now available for exactly this emergent case as a portable personal "Rescue" dose. By tap ping the mind/body connection into a Vital Re-charge mode, we can induce a "Refresh- Revitalize-Renew" condition.  As with conventional meditation, bringing you into a regenerative meditative state offers that level of rest, clears the mind for renewed focus and new energy to continue with the 'battle' at hand. 

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As a resilience tool, meditation is interesting. When I first started meditating, and this is not an exaggeration in the least, I couldn't even sit for 60 seconds.  Now I've worked my way up to six hours.

Don't let that metric concern you because even two or three minutes actually counts. I literally teach people in meditation. The very first thing I teach them is a three minute meditation. And studies have shown that if you do this quieting of the mind for three minutes, you'll stay in a parasympathetically restorative state for up to six hours. Imagine if just between each emergency call you did a meditation for three minutes, you don't need to close your eyes, you don't need to be in a cave in the Himalayas staring at a candle flame while a guru rubs patchouli oil on your feet. 

You can do this very quickly, reset yourself. And by the way, just so we're clear, these practices have been part of ancient warrior societies for millennia. This is about stepping fully into being a warrior.

I challenge anyone to try to argue with me that there's no benefit to meditation. Try. You can't do it. It improves every metric you can come up with. And it can be done quickly and efficiently. And here's the beautiful part: When you begin to have some success and prove this to yourself, which is a key, do not believe a thing any of us are saying to you. Go out and experience it and prove it to yourself, then you own it. It's not an intellectual exercise, you’ve got to go play and be grateful.

As a responder, I even got to the point where I would get the “hot call" and I'd be rolling with lights and sirens. And I would begin breath work that is designed to literally center my body, mind and spirit to what I'm responding to. 

Now imagine you're driving really fast and you don't have this calming skill. Your adrenaline's coming up, the cortisol and 1400 other stress chemicals are flooding your body, preparing you, and you're getting more and more and more amped. You arrive on scene.. What would be the difference if you got out of your vehicle alert, ready, calm, centered, not mentally hijacked, with your physiology completely under your control. Do you think your cognitive processing would be better? I'm telling you, it is an absolute game changer to own meditation. And it starts with very small practices. And what is really cool is when you start having those experiences, you want to do it more and more because the return on investment is so profound.

I'm always trying to bring science in to show that there is a connection between these things and scientific principle. With meditation, I show the science of what's happening to your physiology. Here's the science that shows what they've been saying for thousands of years is actually true. Once we light that up a little bit and you get that understanding now it's not “woo-woo” anymore.

It's really hard to go into a room of first responders who are indoctrinated into their culture and talk about things that might feel a little bit threatening, or certainly outside the box. And how's everybody going to take this? I've been in some tough rooms, and if I can get a room full of hardened police officers to meditate, you know you're getting somewhere. You make it safe. 

I think by showing the science and showing by your heart that you're really there for them and that you've been where they are is the key. This is what separates everything and begins to help them wrap their mind around the beauty of what’s possible.

Rodger Ruge is a retired police officer, master law enforcement instructor, resilience coach and published author. Rodger took his diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder into his own hands and 'cured' what most psychologists say can only be managed by taking a deep dive into every alternative modality he could discover. Rodger now shares his discoveries with other first responders to empower them to the grandest expression of their human potential. His books include Keeping it all Together: Building Resilience at Home while Serving the Community (with Dr. Renee Thornton), Navigating Adversity: Tactical Self-Care for First Responders (with Dr. Renee Thornton), Reasoned Resiliency: A Rational Devotional For First Responders (with Joseph Courtemanche), and The Warrior's Mantra.

By:  Jessica Connell, LCSW



Written by: Roberta Kline, MD 

Analyzing STRESS & ANXIETY from a holistic point of view means identifying the body’s interconnected systems (ie. circulatory, cardiovascular, nervous, lymphatic, endocrine etc.) and its many touch points for stimulation.   This analysis should also offer a comprehensive breakdown of the body's HEALING capacity- which includes our hormones, digestive system, immune system, brain, heart-- all the way down to our cells and mitochondria.  

Stress is part of life, and comes in many forms including physical, emotional, mental and environmental. Foods we eat, unhealthy relationships, difficulties at work, toxins in our environment, even poor posture or lack of sunshine can all create stress on our bodies. But when stress is catastrophic or becomes chronic, it creates imbalances in this functioning that are much more likely to promote disease while at the same time preventing healing from taking place. [1]

With people under record levels of chronic stress, it is no wonder we have an epidemic of people suffering from all sorts of health issues and chronic diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, pain, anxiety, depression, infertility, cancer, autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s …. These are just some of the many health conditions that have been linked to diet and lifestyle including chronic stress. [2, 3] But how does this work? And is meditation the answer to reversing this trend? Science is revealing some interesting clues.

See complete feature by Dr. Roberta Kline

2/27/2023- If it is to be human to recognize our weaknesses and to allow ourselves to indulge (for but a short while) in pleasures, releases and escapes, ADDICTION is the neuropsychological disorder that may result in the overuse and abuse of any specific substance.  Learn about Dr. Valle-Montoya's custom approach to addressing addiction clinically and her non-invasive modalities of choice. In a recent in-depth interview, IPHA-TV presented Dr. Leslie Valle-Montoya (Sta. Barbara, CA) and the framework behind her Smoking Cessation program at the Biomed Life Center. This unique and specialized protocol addresses the core cravings behind “one of the hardest habits and health hazards to quit”.  She is joined by Mr. Howard Binney, (now) former smoker and ex-firefighter/EMT who volunteered to undertake Dr. Valle-Montoya’s rehabilitation and recovery project exactly one year ago today. (See complete feature)

feat. Dr. Robert Bard -Hosted by: Marvin Scott WPIX-11
6/22/2023- Dr. Robert Bard @ Bard Diagnostics in NYC is featured in this special report about the latest innovations in non-invasive therapies for pain and inflammation.  This includes the expansion of Bioenergy Therapies like PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) and Photobiomodulation (Near Infrared) devices to offer cell regenerative solutions to address a wide set of inflammatory disorders. As a seasoned radiologist, Dr. Bard recognizes the demand for non-invasive solutions in the medical field.   Dr. Bard is also introducing the latest advancements in ultrasound and elastographic scanning as part of his "Scan and Treat" protocol for real-time efficacy tracking.  This special report was brought to us by legendary journalist for CH11 news Mr. Marvin Scott, senior correspondent for WPIX-TV.   Mr. Scott has served in multiple capacities: as an anchor, reporter, host and producer. Mr. Scott is a member of the NYS Broadcasters Hall of Fame and recipient of 12 prestigious Emmy awards for journalistic achievement.  (See full report)

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