- Play a categories game with yourself. Try to think of “types of dogs”, “songs I like”, “crayon colors”, “sports”, “authors”. . .
- Pick a letter and try to think of words that begin with that letter that are emotionally positive or neutral
- Say or think the alphabet backwards
- Count by 3s up to the highest number you can – very slowly
- Describe an everyday event in great detail, listing all the steps in order as thoroughly as possible (how to cook a meal, how to get from your home to a familiar destination, how to do a dance . . . )
- Read something, saying each letter backwards, so you do not have to focus on the meaning of the words
- Try to remember the words to your favorite song
- List as many facts as you can about a familiar topic (everything you know about different mammals . . .)
- Say or think to yourself, “My name is _____. I am safe right now. I am _____ years old. I am at _____. The date is _____. I am with _______. I am safe right now.”
- Ask yourself what day of the week it is, what month it is, what season it is, what year it is . . .
Visualization / Imagery
- Imagine yourself gliding away from your pain/fear on skates
- Imagine holding a remote and changing the channel to a better show
- Imagine a strong wall stretching to the sky that separates you from your pain/fear
- Imagine distressing thoughts passing away from you on a conveyor belt and getting loaded into boxes that are closed up and sent far away
- Breathe slowly. Imagine that when you inhale you are breathing in peace/safety/love. Imagine a soothing color to go with those things you’re breathing in. Imagine that when you exhale you are breathing out worry/fear/pain. Imagine a different, more intense color to go with those things you’re letting go of.
- Imagine a soothing, golden light slowly moving up your body, warming and relaxing every part of you it touches
- Picture yourself calm and peaceful. Pay attention to your facial expression and posture. Imagine what would need to change in your body to be like that, and gently transition to your image.
- If you have a clear image of what is troubling you, imagine it being transformed into something silly or harmless. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you can imagine yourself saying, “Riddikulus!” to banish the negativity.
- Rub your palms and clap your hands (pay attention to how this feels)
- If you are sitting, grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can
- Jump up and down
- Dip your heels into the floor – literally “grounding” them. Notice the tension centered in your heels as you do this. Remind yourself that you are connected to the ground. You are held and supported by the ground.
- Walk slowly, noticing each footstep, saying “left”, “right” with each step
- Touch objects around you: your shoe, a pen, a water bottle . . . Notice textures, colors, materials, weight, temperature. Compare them (Is one lighter than the other? . . . )
- Closely observe neutral or reassuring things around you and try to describe what you see in specific, concrete detail (“my shirt is pale pink and wrinkled” . . . )
- Drink some water, and concentrate on how it feels as the bottle touches your lips, as the water moves into your mouth, as you swallow . . .
- Rip up paper
- Do a basic yoga pose that you think will bring you comfort; hold the pose gently for as long as possible
- Mentally say kind statements, as if you were talking to a small child (“You are a good person going through a hard time. You’re loved. It’s okay” . . . )
- Say a coping statement (“I can handle this.” “This feeling will pass.” “I’m strong and I will get through this.”)
- Picture people you care about.
- Remember a safe place. Focus on everything about that place – the sounds, colors, shapes, objects, textures . . .
- Think of favorites and things that you enjoy: your favorite color, animal, season, food, time of day, TV show . . .
- Plan out a small treat for yourself: a piece of candy, a warm bath . . .
- Think of things you are looking forward to in the next week or things you would like to do in the next week