7 Ways to Calm Down Blog Series, Part One
Creating a calm place visualization helps you to feel calm and relaxed, and can also increase other positive feelings such as love, joy and playfulness. Using a calm place has been an important part of EMDR from the beginning.
I’ve found that while it may seem strange at first, the more people practice their calm place visualization the more effective and enjoyable it becomes. Using a calm place to relax at the end of a therapy session can often be a treat, leaving people smiling and calm as they walk out the door.
Here’s how to create one for yourself:
1. Find a few quiet minutes to relax
You’ll likely want to sit somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
2. Pick a location
Imagine a place where you can feel calm, grounded and relaxed. This can be a real place or a fictional place, indoors or outdoors. For instance, a beautiful beach or forest, a comfy living room, or a castle up on a hill. Wherever you can imagine feeling at ease.
3. Use the five senses
Fill in the little details of this scene in your mind using the five senses. Notice and add in whatever sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations on your skin that would help make this place calming for you. For example, the smell of your favorite food, a fresh breeze, or the sound of lapping waves. Focusing on all five senses helps to make the scene more real.
4. Notice your emotions
Imagine yourself in this place, and take time to notice all the positive emotions attached to it. Then notice where you feel those emotions in your body. There may be opening, relaxation, a sense of lift, or release of tension. Let yourself really enjoy how those emotions feel in your body.
If you have any negativity come up, change the picture by adding or removing details, objects, or people, or changing the location.
5. Use as needed and enjoy
Once you create a calm place that works for you, it’s yours to use and enjoy whenever you need it. Calm places are strengthened using EMDR, but even without it they are useful in everyday life.
The more you use your calm place, the more you strengthen your ability to calm yourself and access positive emotions. This can help to prevent negative thoughts and difficult emotions from running you life, allowing you to be more present and to respond to stressful situations in ways you can feel good about.