Stress Self-Help

Practice:

Establishing safety

Option 1: Short Silences

Option 2: Long Silences

Sense of safety

Slowing yourself down, calming your nervous system, letting your body and mind rest, and fostering the state of stillness can only be achieved when we feel safe. In this first practice you develop a sense of when it is ‘safe enough’ to switch from movement to stillness and from stress to calmness.

Evidence safety

Even if you can logically understand that you are currently in a safe space to slow down, remain still, and become restful, your subconscious mind does not equate logical conclusions with concrete evidence. Unless your mind is convinced beyond any doubt that at this present moment it is safe enough to let your body and mind rest, it will remain vigilant and keep your body mobilized to defend itself. Visual scanning of the environment and repeated checks for the absence of imminent danger provide your mind with experiential and concrete evidence of the current safety to make the important switch from movement to stillness and rest.

Closing eyes

Sight and hearing are crucial for survival, which can make it challenging to close your eyes and let your guard down. However, for the practice of stillness and rest it is essential to encourage yourself to close your eyes and become more vulnerable. Doing so sends a message to your mind that at this present moment it’s safe to let your guard down and foster restful and calming stillness.

Moreover, remaining still for a while, especially with your eyes closed, and discovering that no harm has come to you, provides your mind with additional experiential evidence that are in a safe enough place to suspend movement, remain still, and let your body and mind rest.

Posture

The practice of rest can be explored while sitting, standing, or laying down. However, it is recommended to prioritize the sitting posture as it emphasizes that rest is a waking state between sleep and movement. While lying down naturally draws sleep and standing invites movement, sitting establishes a balanced and stable position that combines rest with wakefulness and heightened awareness.

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