Mindfulness,

Relaxation and Self-regulation

      Self Rescue from Abreaction & Anxiety.

Abreaction Is often experienced as an overwhelming of negative emotions. This happens when an experience triggers a regression back into the emotions of traumatic events that may or may not be remembered. This can range from mild to extreme levels of intensity. It may show up as shaking leg, wringing hands,  tearfulness,  downward fixation of eyes or hunched over posture. There may be flatness in the tone of speech and a describing of past trauma with present tense verbs. 

In more extreme circumstances there may be shaking, numbness, sweating, shortness of breath, shallow breathing and a racing heart to the extent that it could feel like a heart attack.

 A normal, safe situation may appear dangerous or threatening as your threat response becomes oversensitive. 

Often the difficulty can be recognising the symptoms in yourself, and that is the first step. Through some Understanding of this subject, you will become more familiar with how you respond to certain situations and why. This will give you some space from your situation so that you can become mindful and begin to self-regulate.

 

Emotional self-regulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses. 

One way we can do that is by becoming grounded in our bodies and aware of our environment around us.

The Thre Thre’s

  • 1 Bring your attention to three 3 Physical objects that you can see that are above eye level. Observe the details of these three items in turn. Texture, colour, shape. 

  • 2 Bring your attention to 3  sounds that you can currently here in the physical environment around you. it could be sounds that you create.

  • 3  Pick up 3 different objects and examine them, in detail, one after the other. The texture, temperature, the density or weight of the object.

 

This process is one way that you can bring yourself into the here and now so that you can properly assess if you are in a safe environment. This process can take less than a couple of minutes and most of the time you will find a significant lessening of negative feelings thoughts and images. 

You can make this process more lengthy or even just extract certain parts of it. The main thing is that you are bringing yourself into the here and now so that you can become calm and focused.

    Cooks Hook Up

This is a great way of bringing ourselves into a calm and centred focus. This is a powerful grounding technique that brings together the two hemispheres of the brain and strengthens the head and heart connection.  Noticeable changes happen within 2 minutes of doing this exercise, it creates positive brain wave patterns that can be observed on MRI scans. 


 

  • Begin by crossing one leg over the other,  this can be done sitting or standing.

  •  Facing your palms outwards, cross your arms and place your palms together then lacing your fingers together.

  • Bring your hands down by bending your elbows and then up to your chest, loosening your fingers enough so you are comfortable.

  •  Breathing deeply and allow your out-breath to be longer than your in-breath.

  • Bring your head down to meet with your hands to create a strong head to heart connection. This can be increased by closing your eyes and imagining the connection of the heart and the head at the same time. This creates a balance between our thinking mind and our emotions.

A more subtle way of doing this

can be done while sitting down and crossing your legs.

 

  • Place your right ankle on your left knee.

  • Hold your right ankle with your left hand.

  • Place your right palm on the ball of foot wrapping your fingers around your toes.

  • Gently pull your foot towards you with your right hand.

  • Relax your shoulders and breathe deeply.

This can be done right over left or left over right as a stretching exercise or just as a way of comforting or calming your self down.

7 - 11 Breathing and the Body Scan

When we become aware of the natural rhythm of our breath, it can bring us to the awareness of how we feel within our bodies and gives us the opportunity to relax.  We can decide to breathe in relaxation and breathe out any tension.

When we become anxious, often our breathing is shallow and the out-breath is shorter than the in-breath.  If you decide to take control of your breathing and breathe in this way you will begin to feel anxious. Try it now and you'll see what I mean.

7-11  breathing has the effect of relaxing the body. 

 When you breathe deep down into your tummy and your out-breath is longer than your in-breath, you trigger a real, physiological relaxation response within your body. 

 

You simply breathe in whilst counting to 7,  and breathe out counting to 11.  Alternatively, you could breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 8 seconds or a number that feels the most comfortable for you. Maintaining deep rhythmic breathing you can visualise breathing in relaxation and breathing out any tension. 

 

Another way of doing this is to visualise waves breaking on a beach in time with your breathing. There is the shorter retraction of the wave returning into the ocean and the long wave that washes up on to the beach. You can also imagine the sound of the ocean in time with your breathing, adding to the slowing and calming effects of the ocean. 

 

Distress cannot be felt in a muscle relaxed body. 

When breathing in this way, it is a good opportunity to consciously scan your body for any tension held in your muscles. It takes an effort to hold tension in a muscle and no effort to relax it,  all we need to do is to make the decision to relax. 

You can start from the head and slowly scan down through your body, common places for tension are the jaw, neck or shoulders. Some people clench their hands or scrunch their toes while others may hold a lot of tension in their tummies.  The more you do this, the more you'll become familiar to the way you hold tension in your body and you can direct your attention straight to that spot and make the decision to relax those muscles. You may need to repeatedly focus your attention in this way if the thoughts which caused the tension return.

 

When you feel relaxed, you can clearly see whether you are in real danger or not. If you are in danger, you will be more focused and have the clarity of thought to make the right decisions needed for your situation. 

Progressive Relaxation & Positive Thinking

Begin by imagining a column of healing white light shining down onto your head. It relaxes you bit by bit as it slowly works its way down through your entire body, all the way down to your fingers and thumbs and to the soles of your feet.  You can spend the time to focus on relaxing every part of your body in turn or you can focus on just the main body parts;

Face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, tummy, hips, legs and feet and especially where there is tension in the muscles.

For some people, this process is best done as a visualization, while other people prefer to tense and relax the muscles in turn as the healing column of light slowly works its way down through the body. This can be a powerful sleep tool and is really good for deep relaxation and meditation.

 

The more we practice this simple process, the easier it becomes and we can integrate other aspects, such as mindful breathing and positive affirmations. 

 

If we are suffering from negative thought patterns, one of the best ways to bring positive change is to fill the mind with positive thoughts so that there is no longer any space left for anything other than the positive. These thoughts can be made up, they can be happy memories or could be imagining future events that you want to attract into your life.

If negative thinking creeps back in, you can just acknowledge it and let it go, then go back to thinking about the comforting, more positive thoughts that you were having. 

 

Some negative thoughts may be persistent, but when you acknowledge that you have had these same thoughts over and over again, you realise that you can decide to focus on positive thoughts. Any negative thoughts that are repetitive can either be put safely in a box beside you that you can revisit at a later date or you can imagine putting them in a bubble and letting them float away. Then you can return to meditating on warm thoughts and positive feelings. 

The Talisman Stone 

 

 

A Talisman stone can be a great resource to carry around in our pocket or bag. This is a stone we have given the intention to absorb and carry our pain, worry, fear or doubt. Whenever we have troubling feelings we simply hold or squeeze the stone, imagining those feelings or thoughts to be absorbed into the stone.  

This stone can be cleansed by holding it under running water whilst having the intention to wash away all the negativity it has absorbed, leaving only the positive energies in the stone.

A Talisman stone could be a gemstone or crystal that we have bought from a shop, or a conveniently sized pebble that we may have found in a river, a beach or on a woodland walk.

The power of the talisman is increased by the intention we place in it. If the stone is found on an enjoyable walk or day spent on the beach, it is impregnated with the good feelings from that experience.  We can continue to anchor good feelings and experiences into the stone by holding it when we feel good so that we can reconnect with those feelings in the future when we hold the stone again. The stone gives us somewhere to put our troubled feelings to be washed away later, as well as a place to store good feelings to be accessed again. It also creates an awareness of the feelings we are having, so that we can become mindful of the experience and take control. 

 

Mindfulness is when we become aware of what is happening in the here and now.

When we have a knee-jerk reaction to a situation, the emotions can often sweep us away in a whirlwind of stress and worry. Without realising it, our mind is in control and thoughts and feelings of the past or future can take us from the ‘now’ moment and place us in negative past experiences or a potential future disaster that may never happen. The mind is a wonderful servant and a lousy master.

When we become aware of being in this “now moment”, we can make the decision to take control, we become the master of our own mind. There is only ever the ‘now’, which is a safe place most of the time.

Ask yourself the question  “Am I 100%  safe right now?” 

If your answer is “No”, ask yourself

Am I thinking about this very moment or have I begun to think about what may happen in the future?” Is it a perceived threat or an actual threat right now? 

Just like a sad person will see sad faces in the clouds where a happy person will see happy faces, a stressed person will see danger all around because of their hyperaroused threat response. Bringing ourselves into a mindful, relaxed state of mind and body gives us the opportunity to be focused, productive, happy and at peace within ourselves.

Emotional Freedom Technique ~ E.F.T.

E.F.T. is a process of clearing negative energy and increasing the flow of positive energy in the body. This is done by tapping the energy meridians of the nervous system, also known as acupuncture points of the body. Tapping these energy meridians 7 or more times with your fingers whilst acknowledging a difficulty you have identified, followed by a phrase of acceptance, clears the negative vibration and embeds the positive one.

Begin by tapping the side of the hand called the karate chop point [1] whilst saying your phrase, then follow the sequence, top of the head [2], eyes [3,4,5](left, right or both), then 6,7 and 8, finishing with the side of the body [9] which is about 4 inches below the armpit. 

Less commonly used are the finger points [10],  which can be found on the inside edge of each fingernail.

 

Examples of what a phrase can be:-

“Even though I am (Scared, angry, sad, or whatever emotion it is that you have identified that you want to overcome ) I deeply and completely accept myself”.

Or “Even though I feel that ( I'm not ok as I am) I deeply and completely accept myself”

After tapping out a limiting belief or core issue you can also tap to a positive affirmation like:

~ I can take care of myself. 

~ I am worthy of love. ~ I'm ok as I am.

~ I am true to myself.  ~ I'm open to new freedom and joy. 

~ I am good enough.

~I am willing to change and grow.

~ I am beautiful and everybody loves me.

~  I forgive myself and set myself free.

 

For the best results, this process is done daily, and the affirmations are said aloud. The most common way to do this is to run through the sequence of tapping points 1 to 9 several times, although it can also be beneficial to tap a few of the points whilst holding an affirmation in your mind to give you focus and calm whenever needed.

If E.F.T. appeals to you and you would like to learn more, there is a wealth of information and videos on the internet. 

Hear is one of many Youtube video links on E.F.T. Taping to reduce PTSD.

Innersighttherapies.com

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