AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
FIVE SCIENCE-BASED TIPS TO MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Slowly breathe in for 4, hold it for 4, and then breathe out for 6. Repeat 10 times.
Slow your racing thoughts by counting backwards by three in your mind from 100 (100, 97, 94, etc.).
One by one, tense each muscle group in your body for 10 seconds and then release. Notice how it feels to let your muscles relax and have the tension leave your body.
Do a quick scan of your body and notice the air around you and any surfaces you are touching.
If possible, close your eyes and focus on the sensations, textures, and temperatures.
You are dealing with huge challenges. Think about 3 things that went well today. If they involved another person, recognize and thank them whenever possible.
Visualizing Your Special Place
1) Pick a special place that makes you feel calm and relaxed. This place can be real or imagined. If you need some help, look at different pictures of peaceful places to get some ideas. For example, you might look at pictures of lakes, oceans, beaches, wooded areas, cabins, camping spots, planets, clouds, etc. If your place is real, go visit it or look at a picture of it. Cut out, draw or print off your picture if you would like a copy.
2) Next, make a mental picture of your special place and keep it in your head. When you feel anxious, imagine yourself in your special place. What would you smell? What types of sounds would you hear? What would you be doing? What colors would you see? Would it be day or night? All of these questions will help you visualize your special place.
3) Imagine yourself calm and relaxed in your special place. If it helps, look at a picture as a reminder of your special place.
4) Practice visualizing your special place even when you don't feel anxious. Practice at night when you're trying to fall asleep.
My Guided Visualization
Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take 4 nice, deep breaths. Feel your body relax. Now, imagine yourself floating on an air mattress in the ocean.
The waves are gently rocking you on the mattress. The sun is shining down on you, making you feel warm and relaxed. There is a slight breeze, so you don l t get too warm from the sun. If you want to, you can roll onto your stomach. The air mattress is clear. You are able to see many colorful fish swimming below you. Once in awhile, you see a turtle pass underneath you. Sometimes they stop and look up at you, almost as if they are saying hello. You feel very relaxed. Out of the corner of your eye, you see something swim towards you. When you turn your head to look, you see a beautiful dolphin making its way towards the air mattress. The dolphin stops and looks at you. It is like he is telling you he is glad you are here and hopes that you will come back to visit often. You spend a few more minutes enjoying this peaceful place.
When you feel ready, you can take 4 nice, deep breaths. Then, wiggle your fingers and wiggle your toes. When you feel ready, you can open your eyes.
I CAN REACH MY GOALS
I HAVE GOOD IDEAS
I AM CREATIVE
I KNOW HOW TO TALK TO PEOPLE
I AM GOOD AT LOTS OF THINGS
I KNOW HOW TO PROBLEM SOLVE
I TRUST MYSELF
I AM A WINNER
I AM PEACEFUL
I AM PROUD OF WHAT I’VE DONE
I AM BRAVE
I LIKE MY BODY
I MAKE GOOD CHOICES
I AM STRONG
EVERYTHING WILL WORK
OUT JUST FINE
I’LL BE OK
MOVIES AREN’T REAL
I’M IN CONTROL OF MY MIND
I CAN CONTROL MY ANXIETY
EACH TIME I FACE
ANXIETY IT GETS EASIER