Relaxation techniques

This page is to share resources from the therapy room for everyday life. I have created it during the Covid19 outbreak, so my clients and others who might find it useful can access tools from sessions and general advice in relation to living under lockdown whilst the therapy clinics are closed.

Included are:

Rational positivity – rational positive thought processes to help get unstuck and to sleep

Compassion for body / mind

container exercise, for setting aside unhelpful thoughts

calm place relaxation exercise

and 4 elements relaxation exercise

The sound files can be listened to directly from this blog post: where they are embedded rather than linked to. This is the original platform:

Below are some Relaxation Techniques  for quick reference:

Butterfly hug: Self soothing, cross arms over and alternate gentle tapping of the shoulders. You can also stand behind someone and gently alternate tapping of their shoulders (with permission).
Calm place: Think of a time in a place that you felt calm, if you can’t remember one imagine one. Preferably where you are by yourself.  What could you see? What can you hear? What temperature is it? Relax with your eyes closed remembering being in that place.
Breathing: When feeling tension rising you can concentrate on breathing, with counting for a longer out breath. Try breathing from the belly, in for 6 seconds and out for 8.
Open palm: If your fist is clenched open your palm, sending a signal to the body / brain that you are relaxed.
Relax the jaw: Touch the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth with your tongue, to help relax your jaw.

Tips for grounding oneself:

  • Feel your feet on the floor
  • Have a mint or a citrus sweet 
  • Sip some cold water 
  • Reflective / free writing
  • Remember a place or time you felt calm
  • Sit down and take some time to notice three things you can see, hear, and feel where you are now.

If you are working from home or self isolating, it can be a lot of time; when you have either too much or too little on it can be helpful to build in some of your own structure.

Time management

You might do well to keep your aims modest and celebrate little wins where possible. Try to log one achievement each day no matter how small it might be. You can use a time management technique such as the pomodoro technique and work in 25 minute or two hour chunks. One hour of focused productivity is worth more far more than a day of berating yourself and is of course more pleasant. This technique can help you to monitor what you achieve, how long tasks take and where your distractions are. I hope you will create done lists as well as to do lists and build in breaks.

Self care

Watching endless news and social media updates can be emotionally unhealthy at the best of times. Try to be mindful of what works for you and make a note of it. You can build your own habits and schedules. If you do end up having an online binge or a day under the duvet it’s OK, just notice and remember what you prefer; one step at a time, one day at a time, one task at a time and the future will take care of itself. It might feel like a time for action as things change rapidly, but it’s also a time for allowing yourself to absorb news, feel your emotions and recalibrate; take your time and be kind to yourself.

Fraudsters alert, taking your time, asking for help

With change in habits, isolation, stress and signing up to new technologies and rules it is a golden time for scammers, fraudsters and people on the make. Please check in with each other if you’re unsure of a contract, payment, new offer and never be pushed or rushed into signing something you don’t understand or are new to.

People Like being asked their opinion particularly if it’s their field and though things are changing fast we all have plenty of time for questions by phone or email. When tired or stressed it’s the worst time to make an important decision or trust people you don’t know with your property, passwords, PIN numbers and cash! Do remind your parents, friends, kids or neighbours to be aware and of their points of contact.

There are numerous new fraud attempts taking place right now from people phoning pretending to be the bank fraud department and encouraging customers to move (lose) money, criminals impersonating HMRC regarding tax payments and even using Government Covid19 funds as a hook.

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During EMDR processing we often shine a light on past trauma and dysfunctional self beliefs, whilst using the bilateral stimulation to help desensitise and reprocess experiences to become less distressed and have a more balanced personal identity.

Between sessions it can be unhelpful to dwell on difficulties and negative self beliefs, it might become depressing and make things feel worse. If you find yourself focusing on that which is going wrong in the world, with yourself and others, your faults; perhaps you can allow yourself to pause, take notice and be kinder to yourself.

Let your mind wander to something that you like about the world, yourself and others, or that you are able to do.

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