Living through the Covid-19 pandemic is hard work. You need to take self-care measures to stay sane. Firstly, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a buddy.
Secondly, the exercises below will help you deal with strong emotions, stress, triggers and sleep. You have to try what works best for you.
Tapping can help to rewire the brain’s neural pathways. Use it to feel more calm and relaxed and more positive about the present and future.
How to tap:
Sit back in a comfortable chair with your arms and legs uncrossed. Ask yourself: what is the emotion I feel? Then consider: Where do I feel this in my body? What does it feel like? Now note down your significant level of discomfort (SUD) from zero to ten. Zero being no discomfort and ten being the worst you can imagine.
Tap at the side of each eyebrow alternately ten times each.
Now tap on both cheekbones just under the eyes alternately ten times each.
Then tap on the front of your chin ten times each.
Now tap on your collar bones alternately ten times.
While keeping your head still look to your left, then right, ten times each.
Now take a deep, diaphragmatic breath while saying in your mind to yourself, slowly, “I’m okay”.
Assess and write down your significant level of discomfort (SUD) between zero and ten.
Havening is a very efficient tool to reduce intense emotions quickly as you create delta brain waves via sensory touch.
HOW TO STOP A PANIC OR ANXIETY ATTACK
Take a deep breath in through the nose and watch your tummy rise. 2) Release the breath very slowly out through your mouth. 3) Do this ten times. 4) Now close your eyes and place one hand just below each shoulder. 5) Start stroking down your arms, downwards to your elbows. While doing so, say to yourself “I am safe. I am calm. I am safe. I am calm”.
HOW TO STOP FUTURE EVENTS FROM WORRYING YOU
- Think of an upcoming event that is worrying you and rank it on a scale of one to ten of how distressing it is. 2) Close your eyes and fold your arms and put one hand under each shoulder. 3) While you are still thinking of the worrying event, SUDDENLY CLEAR YOUR MIND. Start stroking your arms repeatedly downwards. Imagine you are walking in your favourite place (beach, forest, your favourite place). 4) Count 20 steps aloud. 5) After you have counted the 20 steps, move your eyes while keeping your head still – 6 times from left to right. 5) Now hum a tune. 6) Continue to think of the future event as you stroke down your arms. But this time play the event like you want it to go. Play it all going perfectly. (You can also use this on past events, play them the way you wanted them to go).
GENERAL RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
1) Fold your arms with one hand just below each shoulder. 2) Start stroking downwards repeatedly down your arms. As you do this say to yourself the words “cool calm relaxed”. 3) Do this for five minutes. Notice how much calmer you feel.
REDUCE INTENSE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
1) Identify the negative emotions. Is it anger, guilt, shame, sadness, fear, anxiety, rage, helplessness, frustration, hurt, shock or disappointment?
2) Now fold your arms and put one hand just below each shoulder. Start stroking your arms downwards, all the way to your elbows. 3) As you stroke downwards, repeatedly chant the negative emotion that you are experiencing, so for example ‘anger, anger, anger’. You will notice that after a few minutes, the feeling has either disappeared or reduced dramatically. Continue to stroke downwards until the emotion has gone.
This version is to help you fall asleep.
1) Lay down and close your eyes. Fold your arms with one hand under each shoulder, and start repeatedly stroking down your arms to your elbows. 2) As you stoke your arms, say silently in your head, in a monotonous tone, whatever images you notice in your mind. (for example, now I see a tree, now I see a flower, now I see a dog). Whatever it is, say it silently in your head, in a sleepy, monotonous tone.
The Hakalau is from the Huna, the ancient people of Hawaii. It is a powerful tool to quieten the critical inner voice and overactive mind and ‘chatty’ inner dialogue. It allows you to place yourself in a state where there are no negative emotions and you have complete awareness.
It also helps to study more efficiently as it places you in a ‘learning’ brain state. Steps of the technique:
- Ho’ohaka – Just pick a spot on the wall to look at, preferably above eye level, so that your field of vision seems to bump up against your eyebrows, but the eyes are not so high so as to cut off the field of vision.
- Kuu – “To let go.” As you stare at this spot, just let your mind go loose, and focus all of your attention on the spot.
- Lau: “To spread out.” Notice that within a matter of seconds, your vision begins to spread out. You can see more in the peripheral than you do in the central part of your vision.
- Hakalau: Now, pay attention to the peripheral. In fact, pay more attention to the peripheral than to the central part of your vision.
- Ho’okohi: Stay in this state for as long as you can. Notice how it feels.
- Notice the feelings that begin to come to you as you continue the state.
A session of Hypnotherapy can help you further.
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