- Kara Tolman, LCSW
Somatic Mindfulness Exercise: 6 Steps to Cope with Triggers
Begin by asking yourself these questions to orient yourself to your body:
What does your posture feel like? Are you slumped, rigid, or do you notice flexibility in your body?
What is your natural heart rate? Quick, slow?
Where do you carry tension? Does it present as a knot in your stomach, neck/back pain, a headache, a tingling in your fingers or twitching of your eye?
What external or internal elements offer a sense of calm? For example, a favorite sweater, drink, place (beach, sofa), or experience with a loved one?
What external stimuli often trigger you? For example, loud sounds, darkness, social interactions?
Using that information, complete the following exercise.
6 Step Somatic Mindfulness Exercise
1. Notice Your Body. Close your eyes. Lean into your chair, couch, or seat. Inhale and exhale slowly, focusing only on your breath. Notice what you feel on, in, or around your body (the softness of the chair, the sand in between your toes, the way your shoes feel under your feet).
2. Think back to safety or your safe place. Think of a time when you felt the most calm, safe, or at your best “Self”. If you struggle with this, imagine a safe place and how that safe place makes your body feel.
3. Identify. Start to notice when your mind or body starts to float away from this safe place. What point in time did you notice the disturbance or stress?
4. Replay. Replay the scenario from calm state to stressed state, in slow motion (as if watching a slow movie). Identify people, conversations, objects or behaviors that may have made you stressed, uncomfortable or that stand out to you as you're replaying the recent events.
5. Tuning in. Tune in to your body sensations as you recall the events and slow down and notice if there is any shift in your body- a sensation of tingling, tensing, warming, numbing or cooling in your chest, arms, legs, face or an overall change in body temperature.
6. Healing Hands. Place your hand on the area that has experienced a shift or change and breathe deeply. If it is an overall feeling, you can simply place your hands on your heart.
Doing this allows the body to process the somatic experience and creates a passageway to release the tension.
To get scheduled with Kara, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org