Feeling rage and uncertainty over the killing of George Floyd? A mindfulness expert explains how to cope

·4 min read

Two weeks after the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer, many people are still trying to come to terms with his death. For some, watching the video of Floyd dying as Officer Derek Chauvin is seen kneeling on his neck triggers feelings of rage and uncertainty. So how do we cope with those feelings?

“This is a time to reflect, to be angry and to think about what we can do,” says Mallika Chopra, a meditation and mindfulness expert who remembers feeling like she herself could not breathe after seeing the video. “We have to face the systemic racism in this country. And unless we do, we’re going to constantly be living in a state of fear and not feeling safe.”

Chopra says that she is a big believer in protesting and expressing rage as long as it does not end in violence. She also says, “As people protest, as the world gets more educated because of the protests, I think then we need to find real solutions.”

She suggests voting and focusing on social justice and legal issues to change the system.

“It’s so important for us as a society to say the words Black Lives Matter, to say enough is enough,” she says. “Racism is really a public health crisis that affects every aspect of our society. So we need to address it head-on.”

Yahoo Life asked Chopra to answer questions about coping from readers.

Trevor, a young man in his 20s from Queens, N.Y., asks, “With so much uncertainty in the world from the coronavirus crisis and the fallout from the murder of George Floyd, how do I prepare for a new normal with hope and not fear?

“Accept the uncertainty but find ways to feel safe and grounded,” Chopra advises. She also offers three steps we all can take to work toward living a more fearless existence.

Step 1: Get grounded

“Stand ... take a deep breath in and out, saying, ‘I feel safe. I am grounded.’” Feeling grounded is the first step.

Step 2: Find gratitude

“Put your hands on your heart and take a deep breath in and out and think of one thing that you are grateful for today, because gratitude even in the midst of suffering is powerful.”

Step 3: Connect to yourself

“Feel the expansiveness of space around you and just say, ‘I am.’ And that’s a way to again get connected to your body in the chaos and uncertainty of today’s world.”

Erika from Laurel, Md., wanted to know what she could do to “avoid being overwhelmed with anger,” after watching the George Floyd video.

“It’s OK to be angry. It’s important to express your rage. It’s important to cry and to feel it,” Chopra says. “And then consciously take a deep breath, go for a run, find ways to physically let go of that stress, find a meditation, a yoga practice, and then ask yourself, ‘What can I do now?’”

Chopra explains that we should all find ways to serve, like going to a protest or making a donation, to cope with anger and rage. Channel seemingly negative feelings into something positive. “Start with small steps, and the more small steps we all take, the further we’re going to get along on this journey for social justice.”

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