This simple grounding exercise is called 'The Rainbow' and is great for moments when you are feeling panic or anxiety and need a quick calm down grounding technique - just look around you and spot an object you are drawn to for each of the colours of the rainbow - red, yellow, green, orange, indigo, purple and blue. Describe each object in turn, pausing to notice the shades, the textures, the feelings and body associations with each item.
5- 4 -3 -2 - 1 Grounding Technique
Take a breath... breathing gently in through your nose, pause then out through your mouth, get into a gentle rhythm as you start to look around you.
SIGHT -notice and name 5 things you can see
SOUND – notice and name 4 things you can hear, really tune in
TOUCH – notice and name 3 things you can feel, notice the textures
TASTE – notice and name 2 things you can taste or enjoy tasting, really imagine the flavours and taste sensations
SMELL – notice and name 1 thing you can smell or enjoy the aroma of, really imagine the scent sensations. And finally, breathe...
Peace Begins With Me - Calming Mini Meditation
Stuck in a tricky situation or feeling anxious? this lovely meditation helps to restore calm, resetting the system. Only takes a moment - use it as a soothing mantra to start the day or whenever you need it. You can try it walking, sitting or standing - whatever feels comfortable for you. Ready to Try?
Start by placing your each of your thumbs gently on the index finger of the same hand. Now, take a slow, gentle breath - inhale through your nose, just pause for a moment and then exhale through your mouth. Take a couple more gentle breaths then:
- touching your thumbs to the index finger of the same hand, say - PEACE
- with thumbs touching the middle fingers, say - BEGINS
- with thumbs touching the next/ring finger, say - WITH
- with thumbs touching the little fingers, say - ME
Take another gentle breath, inhaling through your nose, just pausing and then breathing out through your mouth. You can repeat the cycle above a few times if you want to, touching each finger in turn to your thumb.
A movement meditation with Licia Sky
A moment of gentle connection with Licia Sky from the Trauma Therapy Foundation to help restore calm. Find a 'sphere of space' to practice this standing, moving meditation - you are invited to try what feels safe for you and to notice your body, your breath and to join in where you can.
Tracee Stanley - 'Reclaim the Breath' meditation practice
A short practice to 'reclaim your birthright of life force in the form of breath and prana'. Tracee says 'I am calling on my ancestors for protection and strength and on my breath to remind me that it is my birthright to thrive'.
More from Tracee at her website here.
The Butterfly Hug
This charming practice, also described as 'the alternate handclasp' is a portable, peaceful way to self soothe wherever you are, bringing yourself back in to the present moment. A gentle gesture of self care, kindness and compassion that's a great grounding technique. See how it's done in the video link below.
Positive Affirmations - Calming Mantras
Start your day well with some positive affirmations. Say them out loud and repeat. These positive mantras or affirmations should be things that you believe or want to believe (even if you quite believe it yet), 'I'm loved and experience love wherever I go', 'I'm calm and I'm in control', 'I have done this before I can do it again', 'This feeling will not last forever', 'I can manage the next minute'. If you notice unhelpful, negative thoughts getting in the way, repeat a calming or empowering mantra thats feel good to you. Try and find a few key phrases and say them as if they are true and then act as if they are. Stuck for ideas? check out books of Louise Hay.
"Lazy 8" Breathing - Go with the Flow
This simple ‘figure 8’ practice is a great way to calm the breathing and relax - if you’ve ever drawn shapes with a sparkler, you'll be easily able to imagine this!
Sit yourself somewhere comfortable, with a tall spine and breathing in a natural rhythm - in and out; gently close your eyes( if you want to) or look slightly upwards with a soft focus ; now imagine you see a figure 8 being drawn in front of you ,starting at the centre … gently follow the flow of the curves with your mind’s eye… all the time gently breathing in as you trace round the first, smaller circle and then breathing out as you imagine a slightly larger circle. You might want to draw the shape with one of your fingers at the same time… don’t rush, take your time, just follow the curves at your own comfortable pace, breathing gently in and out. Repeat for a few rounds, all the time gently breathing. And when you are ready, open your eyes…
TIP: If you find it hard to visualise, you might want to follow along by watching/painting with this little video below.
'Take Five' - Finger Breathing
A lovely breathing technique to help bring you right back into the present moment.
Put one hand up in front of you with your palm facing towards you and fingers gently apart, like a star. With your other hand, using your index (longest) finger, slowly trace up the outside of your thumb as you gently breathe in through your nose. PAUSE at the top, then gently trace your finger back down the other side of the thumb as your breathe out through your mouth. Continue on, up the other fingers as you breathe in through your nose, pausing at the finger tip and then breathe out through your mouth as you follow the finger down. Notice the feeling as you trace the fingers. When you have done all of your fingers, reverse the direction till you end up back with your thumb. Take one last gentle breath and check in with yourself - how are you feeling now, are you noticing any difference?
Breathing Exercises to Calm, Balance and Reduce Stress
Breathing exercises can really bring huge benefits such as building emotional resilience and soothing the nervous system to help us regulate. The lovely people at School Breathe have allowed HYCS to share two lovely breathing exercise videos with you here: the first is the Mountain Breath with Stuart Sandeman (link here) and the other is Belly Breathing with Aimee Hartley (link here) - try them out, remember to practice little and often!
Wake the Senses - Try this....
- Splash some cool water on your face - really take notice as to how it feels. Notice the cool feeling. Notice the texture of the towel as you gently pat your face dry. Name the sensations, name the textures, notice how you feel.
Work It Out of Your System
If you're adrenalin's really flowing and you're just too full of energy to try the ideas above, try working it out of the system a bit first... march on the spot, dance round your bedroom, sing at top volume, take a brisk walk, do some star jumps, run round the garden... and then when you've let off some steam, try some of the ideas above for grounding and restoring calm...
Box Breathing Video
Another simple breathing video here... just watch and breathe along, find your pace...
Simple Breathing Animation (No Panic)
Breathe along with this lovely animation by anxiety specialists No Panic which is designed to help people experiencing a panic attack tocalm by concentrating on their breathing.
Hot Chocolate Breathing Practice
'Hot chocolate' breathing is a winter-warming, calming practice to help you wind down on chilly days.
Close your eyes and breathe gently... breathing in and then out with a longer outbreath; hold out your hands imagining that you are holding a mug of hot chocolate (or your favourite warm drink - your favourite coffee or a zesty ginger and lemon tea). As you breathe in slowly through your nose, imagine you are breathing in the lovely aromas of the drink, smiling as you take in the warm air. Enjoy the rich, warm, velvety smell... then, breathe out slowly with a longer outbreath, imagining that you are trying to cool the drink down as you breathe out. Repeat for a few rounds.... and relax...
Divert Your Thinking With Simple Brain Games
Playing a simple brain game may help to occupy your mind in the moment and divert attention from worrying thoughts, allowing you to settle. You can try this in different ways - choose a colour and find 10 things around you in that colour; choose a word or your name and find things that begin with each letter of the word around you; how about coming up with an A-Z of things such as animals, cars or celebrities?; take on a counting challenge - counting backwards in 4's or 7s.
Bee Breath - Helps Anxiety to Buzz Off!
Try this lovely pranayama yoga practice called Bee Breath. So called because of the humming sound you make as you exhale, this breathing exercise is a great way to calm and soothe a racing mind... with a lovely long exhalation.
H.A.L.T. Technique - Self Regulation
Ever said or done something in the heat of the moment that you regret? H.A.L.T is a really simple way to self=-regulate and take back control- it stands for Hungry, Angry/Anxious, Lonely and Tired. This practice invites us to pause ... to check in to see if we are physically or emotionally feeling one (or more) of these things when we feel the urge to act in a negative way. Taking that reflection time allows us to respond rather than react and gives us choices. We can address the base cause - give ourselves some time out, a pause to breathe, have a bite to eat, take some exercise, reach out to others... whatever we need.
Comforter - Grounding Item
You may like to carry something with you that helps to ground and calm you, something small that means something to you. It might be a small toy, a pom pom key ring, a smooth pebble or something else that's comforting in the moment.