This is my go-to relaxation for when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
1. Pick something you can focus on. My visual is a shiny, perfect green apple, yours might be anything that’s easy for you to form a mental picture of.
Practice conjuring up this image as often as you can, and it will get easier and easier. This is your grounding image.
2. While keeping the picture in your minds eye, begin "box breathing": slowly breath in for a count of 4, hold gently for a count of 4, exhale slowly for a count of 4, hold gently at the bottom for a count of 4.
Keep the this up for a minute or two (or longer! But even 30 seconds will help).
If you find your thoughts drifting, that’s okay, just gently return to your count and your image. Why does this work? A couple of ways. It may feel “busy” to be counting and picturing, but actually, it gives your conscious mind something to do so it gets a break. When it’s occupied with busy work, a deeper relaxation takes place.
I picture this as giving my mischievous monkey mind some bananas to juggle- he’s occupied so I can relax. Then, the breathing is stimulating your vagus nerve and relaxing your pineal gland.
Yes- there is much to be gained by meditation and mindfulness, NO it does not have to look a certain way. At times, trauma and anxiety have made “still” meditation difficult, painful or impossible. At those times, ACTIVE MEDITATION has been a lifesaver, and starts the unraveling process. Sometimes I tap, sometimes I chant, often I count. Sometimes I use a spray to bring me back to the moment or beads to ground me, to occupy my hands so my subconscious can wind down.
The good news- the more I practice, the easier it gets to settle my mind, and the place of stillness becomes more readily available and quick to access. It only has to work for you- and the science is there for positive benefits, however it looks for you.
AND- as always, drink water! Dehydration causes anxiety (and dry skin!).
Have you tried this? How has it worked for you? I want to hear your thoughts, comment below.