These are emergency practices, for when you are afraid or beginning to panic. They can also help break the trance of what-if catastrophic thinking. They help 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.

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

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.

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.

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”.

Face Heart Connection – from 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.

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.

Shake the Tree

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

Flick tension off the ends of your fingers.

Shaking and Dancing

Inspired by Dr James S Gordon, who does this with large groups of people.

Focus on your breath for 2 minutes, in through the nose, out through the mouth. As you inhale, think soft. As you exhale, think belly.
As you stand, feel your feet on the ground. For the next 2 minutes, shake your body. Begin in the lower legs, upper legs, hips, chest, shoulders, arms and hands, and head. Vary the tempo and level of vigor.
Come back to soft belly breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth. As you inhale, think soft. As you exhale, think belly.
Put on music you like to dance to, like Pharrell William’s Happy. If you watch on YouTube, you may get inspired by the dancers as I do. Dance!
Come back to soft belly breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth. As you inhale, think soft. As you exhale, think belly.
Notice how you feel. I love this practice and do it often. The shaking loosens something up and makes it easier to let go. The breathing is grounding. The dancing is creative and inspiring. Give it a try.

Breathe out at least six seconds

(5 min)

Exhaling at least six seconds activates your relaxation response.

Sing. Hum. Talk in longer sentences. Practice extended exhalation breathing. Dr Peter Levine recommends exhaling with the sound Voo.

Relax Your Forehead While You Worry

Keep softening your forehead and eyebrows and experience letting go of anxious thoughts.
(2 1/2 min)


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.

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.

Hug a safe person or animal, call a friend

Go out into nature

Read Out Loud

Read the text on this page or something else out loud.

Stand Down for just 3 minutes

For a few minutes, let yourself know you are safe and its okay to relax.
(3 min)

(6 min read)

When you have 10 minutes

Watch this informative video about how to handle crisis when it hits

Tools for Healing playlist: Five 2 minute videos describing how to investigate the energy/ sensations/ feelings in our body and learn what they mean.
1. Tapping: How to stay in today while remembering an incident.
2. Tracing: Another method to keep us in the present moment.
3. Changing Focus: Placing the image, the memory on a wall.
4. Locate and Describe: Viewing the sensation like a scientist would.
5. Mining Energy: Why is it here?

A twenty five minute guided practice

Twenty minutes of kindness and compassion for you.