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What a psychologist says we can learn from Simone Biles' step back

"I’m constantly preaching to people to be aware of what their body needs, and give themselves permission to give whatever that is," says Dr. Colleen Cira.
Credit: AP
Simone Biles of the United States trains on the floor exercise for artistic gymnastics at Ariake Gymnastics Centre venue ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

PORTLAND, Maine — Simone Biles has been responding to what she called "know it alls" on her Instagram page, after dropping out of the Olympic gymnastics team competition and individual all around this week.

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit," read a caption over video of her practicing a dismount from the uneven bars. Biles says her mind and body are not in sync right now, making her maneuvers incredibly dangerous. 

NEWS CENTER Maine's Amanda Hill spoke with Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Colleen Cira, who says we can all learn from Biles' decision to prioritize her health.

"I think the sports world is at a place where they could really use some implementation of trauma informed care, which is essentially just assuming that we have all experienced difficult things or will experience difficult things at some point in our lives and we should respond with kindness, empathy, and believing people when they tell us that there’s a problem, and respecting their decision to prioritize that problem," says Dr. Cira.

She says rest is one of the best ways to handle trauma or stress, or even the outside world weighing in on our decisions, and that's something anyone should be getting more of, regardless of whether they're athletes or not. 

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"I’ve engaged in a lot of anti-racism work and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that rest can be a form of resistance against all of the people in the systems that dictate what’s important to us, how we should be living our lives, how we should be conducting ourselves, what we should and should not feel, what we should and should not say, so the importance of rest and honoring our need for rest cannot be understated," Cira explains. 

"[Taking that rest] is absolutely the lesson that we should be teaching our children, if we have any hope or expectation of reducing the suicide rate, reducing the amount of people who get prescribe psychiatric medication," says Cira.

To learn more about the work Dr. Colleen Cira does, specifically with women who've experienced trauma, click here