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Creating Trauma-Informed Environments.

Understanding the profound impact of trauma on individuals is the first step in creating supportive, trauma-informed environments in groups settings such as schools and workplaces. Building spaces where people can thrive and heal is essential, and a crucial aspect of this process is co-regulation. Co-regulation refers to the ability to provide external support to help others regulate their emotions and behaviors. Here are five easy-to-apply interventions for teachers and leaders to promote co-regulation and create trauma-informed environments:

1. Mindful Breathing Breaks

Encourage the practice of mindful breathing breaks in your school or workplace. Start meetings or classes with a brief period of focused breathing. This can be as simple as taking three deep breaths together, inhaling for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for four. It sets a calm tone and helps everyone get centered.

Why it Matters: Mindful breathing is a powerful tool to reduce stress and promote emotional regulation. By practicing it collectively, you create a shared space for emotional balance and connection.

2. Sensory Calming Corners

Designate a sensory calming corner in classrooms or offices. Equip it with sensory items like stress balls, soft lighting, and noise-canceling headphones. When someone is feeling overwhelmed or dysregulated, they can go to this space to self-regulate.

Why it Matters: Sensory calming corners offer a safe retreat for individuals to reset and self-soothe. Knowing this space is available reduces anxiety and promotes emotional safety.

3. Emotional Check-Ins

Start meetings or classes with a quick emotional check-in. Invite participants to share their current emotional state using a simple color or emoji code. For example, green for calm, yellow for worried, or red for upset.

Why it Matters: Emotional check-ins create an atmosphere where it's okay to express feelings. This promotes understanding and empathy, and others can offer support if someone is not in a green state.

4. Cultivate a Culture of Feedback

Promote open and constructive feedback as part of your workplace or school culture. Encourage individuals to express their thoughts, concerns, and feelings about policies, decisions, and initiatives.

Why it Matters: A culture of feedback fosters a sense of agency and involvement. It helps individuals feel heard and valued, reducing feelings of powerlessness often associated with trauma.

5. Transparent Communication

Prioritize transparent communication about policies and changes. When decisions are made, provide clear explanations and opportunities for discussion. Use inclusive language that acknowledges the potential impact on individuals.

Why it Matters: Transparent communication builds trust and reduces uncertainty. Knowing what to expect helps individuals feel safe and secure, fostering emotional regulation.


Creating trauma-informed environments in schools and workplaces is a collective effort. It starts with understanding the impact of trauma and the importance of co-regulation. By implementing these easy-to-apply interventions like mindful breathing breaks, sensory calming corners, emotional check-ins, cultivating a culture of feedback, and transparent communication, educators and leaders can support individuals the educational process and create a healthy learning and work culture for all individuals. These practices create spaces where individuals can not only survive but thrive, and they contribute to a more compassionate and empathetic community.

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