These are emergency practices, for when you are afraid or beginning to panic. They help break the trance of what-if catastrophic thinking and reset your nervous system. These are simple practices to self-regulate your nervous system, like bringing your hands together and feeling the warmth or reading these sentences out loud.

When you also practice these regularly, they build a strong, resilient nervous system.

Sometimes moving the energy is just what we need. Breathe, shake, dance playlist here!

Covid-19 resources are here.

Scroll down for options. Don’t try to do them all. Pick one that catches your eye. Then if you like, you could try another one.

Make a list when you’re calm. When we’re emotionally flooded or highly anxious our cognitive faculties go off line and it can be hard to remember what to do. You might add some of your favorites into a note on your phone or an index card to carry with you or print them out and keep them handy.

Use this guided Resting the Mind practice to experience several of these grounding, orienting and relaxation practices

Start: Look around the room for cues of safety
1:01 Orienting Through Your 5 Senses
2:21 Compulsive thoughts
3:22 Tapping on your forehead noticing the sound and sensation
4:10 Visualize your thought as an image and put a frame around it
With your eyes, trace the space around the frame in each direction
5:54 Relax your body, soften your belly – signal safety to your system
14:42 One to five, five to one breathing practice
17:08 Acknowledge your experience during this nourishing practice

Grounding and Orienting Using Your Eyes

Orient by Looking Behind You

Sit in a chair and slowly look to your right, let your head come around, your shoulders and down to your hips. Look behind you and let your eyes move from floor to ceiling. Is there anything that could hurt you? Slow look front again and repeat to the other side. Even when we know there is no threat in the room, this is a non-verbal or somatic way to let your nervous system “see for itself”.

Orienting Through Your 5 Senses:
Notice and say each out loud

5  LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see or 5 things a specific color.
4  FEEL: Notice 4 things that you can feel, like your warm skin, soft shirt.
3  LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds.
2  SMELL: Say two things you can smell or name your 2 favorite smells.
1  TASTE: Say one thing you can taste or your favorite thing to taste.

Go Into Nature

Face Heart Connection, Deb Dana

Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
Place your hands at the base of your skull, focus on the place where your brain stem meets your spinal cord. Rest here for a moment in the hub of your social engagement system. Sense the beginnings of your quest for connection.
Place one hand on the side of your face and the other over your heart. Feel the flow of energy flowing between your hands in both directions.
Explore the ways your face heart connection searches for contact and signals safety
Sense this system reaching out into the world, listening for sounds of welcome, looking for friendly faces, seeking safety
Now feel your heart joining in the search and sending its own welcome.
Move between the two experiences of sending and searching, broadcasting and receiving.
Savor the pathways of your face heart connection.

Grounding and Orienting Using Your Breath

Some practices like box breathing are useful as an emergency intervention when you’re feeling anxious or panicky

On a regular basis, do practices to reduce tension and allow your body to breathe to support your health:

– Diaphragmatic (feels like belly rises on inhale, softens back toward the spine on exhale)

– Breathe through your nose (filters and warms air and stimulates the vagus nerve)

– Continuous and smooth (break the habit of holding your breath)

– About the same length on exhale and inhale

Use Your Breath to Calm Yourself

Longer exhales of at least six seconds help to activate the body’s Relaxation Response

Breathe in three seconds, breathe out six

Sing, chant, speak in longer sentences

Breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 7, exhale 8

Inhale through the nose, exhale very slowly through the mouth as though you are breathing out through a straw

Double inhale, extended exhale : Breathe in deeply through the nose, then inhale again. Then do an extended exhale, breathing out through the mouth. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Box Breathing, a quick reset

Box breathing is a pattern of counting 4 on the inhale, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4. Repeat a half dozen times, gradually lengthening your breath.

4, 7, 8 BREATHING

is another pattern that can reset our nervous system. Breathe in to 4, hold for 7 and breathe out for 8. Repeat several times, gradually lengthening your breath.

Dr Peter Levine: Exhale with Vooo

Exhaling at least six seconds activates your relaxation response. Sing. Hum. Talk in longer sentences. Practice extended exhalation breathing.

Grounding and Orienting Using Touch

Hold your own hand: or rub your hands together, put 1 or both hands on your heart, feel the warmth.

Warm hug: Place your right hand under your armpit and the left on your opposite shoulder. Feel the warmth as you give yourself a hug.

Rub your hands together until they are warm.
Cup them over your eyes and absorb the warmth into your eyes.

Butterfly Hug: Place your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder. Slowly tap alternating hands, giving yourself a butterfly hug. In addition to the warmth of your own hug, this also provides bilateral brain stimulation which is helpful for releasing trauma.

A second way to give yourself a butterfly hug is to place your right palm on the left side of your chest and your left palm on the right. Link your thumbs together and gently alternate lifting your “wings”. Try it at different speeds to see which is more grounding.

Hug an animal or safe person

Grounding and Orienting Using Movement


Shake the Tree

Stand up and shake your hands, arms, shoulders, legs, hips.

Flick tension off the ends of your fingers.

Throw It Down!

Stand with your arms above your head, fists clenched. Exhale forcefully while you throw your hands down and open your fingers. Throw the energy out of your body and into the ground.

Somatic Mindfulness Inquiry, Relaxation, and Meditation

Let Go of Worry guided practice

Tools for Healing: 3 for Thought, 2 for Energy

Thoughts are images and words. When they are associated with energies, sensations and feelings in our body, they can feel true and grab our attention. Learn these simple tools to break the trance and learn what these sensations are here to let us know.

Selected Guided Practices

2 minute practice of neuroception (unconscious perception of safety or threat)

15 minute practice of relaxation and guided inquiry

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