By Gina Ross, MFCC

When we learn to identify whether we are coming from a polarized stance (polarized thoughts, feelings of despair, hopelessness coupled with anger) or coming from the centered place (open mind, compassion, capacity to listen, understand and communicate) then we are able to identify what feelings are controlling us and what feelings we elicit in “the other.”  If centered, we keep our moderation and we are the right people to help our Jewish world heal and become more united.  We recognize the need for humility in order to promote a civil culture.  We learn to avoid the words that trigger each other and instead seek words that create safety and healing.

In the Jewish world, we must look for the fundamental bonds:  Israel, religion, culture, and history, music and literature, before we attend to the political issues.

We can agree to disagree agreeably.  If we can allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, we can be with people we don’t agree with, allowing room for diversity and possibility for dialogue, allowing unification.

EmotionAid© techniques help people navigate polarized situations, lower stress, traumatic activation and verbal aggressiveness and empower effective and positive actions. EmotionAid© can help release stress-on-the-spot, manage strong emotions and control reactions. The steps for the technique are available at this link.  

This page can be kept nearby to regain self-regulation when needed. Whenever there is a stressful situation, it is good to notice how stress manifests in the body. Is the heart beating fast and the breath get shorter or faster? Is there confusion, anxiety, disorientation, panic or helplessness? Is there dread and hopelessness or explosive anger?

These are natural reactions in times of stress, trauma, or emergencies that can be changed on-the-spot. On a scale of 1-10, what is the degree of tension felt now? If it is six and above, follow all the steps below. If it is below six, go straight to steps four to seven. You can choose one from the four following “grounding” exercises, when you are at six and above:

Step 1: In a safe place or wherever you are, cross your arms and tap them alternately with open palms 25 times; then take a deep breath. Keep doing it until you feel calmer.

Step 2: Press your feet hard on the ground and feel the support of the ground. Look around you and count ten different textures, such as wood, glass, plastic, etc.; or count ten different shapes, or ten objects of any one color. Now notice how you feel less agitated.

Step 3: Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach and track your breath.

Step 4: With the tips of your fingers slightly together, make the shape of a heart. Touch the tip of your tongue to the top of your palate. Close your eyes and track your breath; focus on the top of your head. To center yourself, focus on a word, phrase or image which is a resource for you. This exercise can calm you but also take you into a spiritual space.

Step 5: Just pay attention to your inner sensations- fast heartbeat or pulse, short breath, pain, heat or tightness in chest, arms, neck, etc. Choose one sensation. Focus your attention on that sensation and see what happens next. Just be curious, with no judgment or analysis, and the release will happen automatically. Some signs of release include deep spontaneous breaths, shaking and trembling, yawning, heat wave, warm sweat, goose bumps, gurgling of the stomach.

Step 6: Keep focusing on the constricted sensations that come up and release them one at a time, by paying attention and giving them time to release, until you have recovered your calm.

Step 7: To strengthen the sense of calm you have achieved, think of a resource – something that makes you feel stronger or calmer. Pay attention to the soothing effect the resource has on you. Resources can be internal (faith, inner strength, resilience) and external (friends, family, activities).

Remember, stress is contagious. Stress affects us and all those around us and creates a chain-reaction that amplifies reactivity and fear. To prevent this, use these tools to calm yourself first, and then give support to others. The calm we gain with this process allows us to impact others and empower resilience and balance all around us.

For more information about our next workshops on EmotionAid© and Conflict Resolution and Successful Communication, contact us at: (323) 954.1400 or email: [email protected].


  • Gina Ross, MFCC

    Gina Ross

    A specialist in individual and collective trauma, senior Somatic Experiencing® instructor Gina Ross is the author of a series of books Beyond the Trauma Vortex into the Healing Vortex. The books outline EmotionAid™, The Ross Model and Free From Conflict Protocol:  Successful Conflict Resolution and Communication.   All her work focuses on the 10 social sectors that can amplify or heal trauma. Her latest book Breaking News! The Media and the Trauma Vortex:  Understanding News Reporting, Journalists and Audiences was launched at the Jerusalem Press Club. Gina focuses her analytical and advocacy work on the collective trauma behind politics. She is also a freelance journalist, frequently writing about political polarization. She is a regular contributor to international publications. Gina Ross is available by email [email protected].

    The mission of the International Trauma Institutes in the USA and Israel is to promote peace at the community, national and international levels by bringing awareness to trauma as a root cause of suffering conflict and violence; and to the resources available for trauma’s resolution and healing.