Do you ever have days when you just feel STRESSED out, like you are at your breaking point?
Most of us feel that way from time to time! You may notice tension in your neck, clenched jaw, racing heart rate or sweaty palms. You feel this way because your adrenal glands are pumping you full of stress hormones and sending a message to your brain that you are not safe.
I wanted to share a very simple and classic visualization technique that you can use anywhere, anytime to help your stressed out nervous system calm down so you can feel better. This really works, and is also a GREAT thing to teach your kids and do together!
This calm place meditation is quick and easy, and it helps!
In my office we use this type of visualization as preparation for difficult trauma work. My favorite thing about it is that I get to go to the calm place too. You might also think of it as a happy, peaceful or safe place. The key is to think of a place where nothing bothers you. You are completely at peace away from the cares of the world.
This could be somewhere you have been in real life, somewhere you want to go or simply a place in your imagination. I find that it is better to imagine yourself in your safe place without other people, because many times people can bring up memories or mixed emotions. This place is just for you.
Some people choose the beach, a lake or a sunny meadow. You can have as many as you like! One of my favorites is to visualize myself in front of a roaring fire on a snowy day, curled up with my blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. What place comes to mind for you?
5-steps to calm:
You might find it helpful to record yourself reading these steps aloud.
- Take a moment to settle into the present moment. Feel your feet and your body supported by whatever you are sitting on. Take a slow breath in and really pay attention as you exhale. Close your eyes or just gaze softly a few feet in front of you.
- Think of a place that makes you feel happy, calm or relaxed. It could be a real or imaginary place.
- Allow all five of your senses to come into focus. What do you see? Notice any colors or shapes. What sounds do you hear? What do you feel in your body or what could you touch in this place? Is there a taste? Maybe you imagine that you have a fruity drink in your hand, a piece of candy in your mouth or can taste the salty air. What smells are in this place? Smell is one of our most powerful links to memory and relaxation.
- Take a few moments to sit and enjoy this place. If you get distracted or your mind starts to chatter- don’t worry! Just notice that your mind is a bit busy today, gently bring yourself back to the scene and take another nice, slow breath.
- When you are ready to open your eyes and come back into the present. Take your time! Move your body gently. Shake out your hands and arms, wiggle your toes. And try to bring this peaceful happy feeling with you as you go about your day.
Are you feeling better?