Over 170 days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people in Ukraine continue to experience uncertainty, distress, and unimaginable loss. While residents in the country may not have control over their surroundings, a number of mindfulness programs, groups, and initiatives are underway to help Ukrainians cope with the ongoing situation. The three initiatives below highlight those working to help people find solace through mental training, community meditation practice, and mindfulness-based interventions.
“This war showed us how we can lose everything in an instant, it made us see what is truly a priority. It taught us that we need to connect with our own selves and learn how to better manage external situations, or manage ourselves. We’re the only ones in charge of our own emotions. And that can actually save our lives. Even in the middle of a war.”
Over 1,000 employees of MHP, a large Ukrainian food manufacturing company recently joined SIY Global’s online resilience training program. The Adaptive Resilience program was offered to employees by SIY Global at no cost, and included eight weeks of live programming from teachers Chade Meng Tan, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Daniel Goleman, Amishi Jha, Trudy Goodman, and Karen Doyle Grossman.
“This online program is designed to help you learn new and helpful ways to respond to the trauma, loss and stressors in your life since the war. Mindfulness-SOS will teach you to pay attention to your experience in the present moment in ways that are accepting and compassionate towards yourself and your experience.”
Moments of Refuge for Ukraine (Mindfulness-SOS for Ukrainians) is an online, mindfulness intervention program being offered to Ukrainians. The free program aims to empower and enable Ukrainians to cope with the trauma and stress of the war and to help them start to recover. The initiative is part of the global Moments of Refuge Project, a social impact initiative to help survivors of conflict and forced displacement to heal and recover. The free program takes place over seven weeks, with includes eight brief sessions and nine audio mindfulness meditation practice exercises audio recorded in both Ukrainian and Russian.
“For the first weeks of Russia’s full scale invasion in my country it seemed like there was no place for formal practice at all. Yet, as terrible as things were and still are, I noticed an underlying sense of calm and resilience in the face of what previously I would have found overwhelming.”
Individual mindfulness teachers and MSBR practitioners are offering mindfulness training to Ukrainian first responders, volunteers, refugees, children, soldiers, and civilians. In this article from the American Bar Association, Valta, a mindfulness teacher in Ukraine discusses his experience working with nonprofit organizations and volunteer groups to bring mindfulness and meditation practices to his community while safety is uncertain, and how online technology has impacted meditation spaces.