· Pen Exercise: Take a pen and pretend you’re describing the detail of the pen to someone who has never seen a pen before. Pay attention to what happens when you focus on describing the pen. While describing the pen, how often were you thinking about what needs to happen tomorrow? How often were you thinking about what happened last week? The more you focus and concentrate where you’re at in the moment, the more you’ll be present focused rather than thinking about the past and the future. Being present will help you to prioritize what needs to happen now versus later.
You can apply the same principle by describing other things. For instance, pretend you are a novelist and you’re describing what you see in a room to the reader. By the way, this helps to reduce people’s anxiety as well.
· Foot On Tennis Ball: I learned this little trick from my colleague, Camille DeLong, LMFT. This is a grounding technique to alleviate pressure in the feet as well as relax the body. Take your shoe off and place your foot on top of the tennis ball or other round object. Press your foot in the spots where there’s tension. The bottoms of your feet have acupuncture points connected to the rest of your body. When those points are massaged, it helps to relax the rest of your body. It’s like having your own mini-foot massage. I’ve had clients do this while they’ve talked about stressful situations and it started to calm them down. Another added benefit to doing this is that it helps with plantar fasciitis.
· Calm place: Close your eyes and imagine being in a place where you feel calm. This can be up in the mountains, at a beach, your front porch, or bathtub, etc. Really put yourself there in your mind. Focus on the sounds you would hear, the smells you would smell, the temperature, and the textures you would feel. Once you get that visual in your head, take deep breaths. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. If counting your breath is too distracting, just focus on deep breathing. Steadying your breath will relax the mind and the body. Once you’ve visualized being in your calm place and steadied your breath, visualize how you want the rest of the day to go.
Each exercise only takes 2 minutes. Some spend longer than 2 minutes to get a longer lasting result. In any case, experiment with it and enjoy!
Thanks for reading and feel free to share this with others!
Heather Severn, LMFT & Coach
*Here's the KUTV Channel 2 News Clip demonstration of it with Mary Nickles & Heather Severn: