Simple Steps to Soothe and Calm your Nervous System

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  1. Pay attention to your breathing; notice the out-breath (forget about the in-breath – it’ll take care of itself) and slow it down; first breathe out for 6 seconds. Tap the seconds or look at the second hand of a clock or an App. Just keep doing this until it’s not difficult. Then introduce a breath-hold after the out-breath – hold your breath out for 5 seconds and go very still as if time has stopped. Keep doing this – 6 second out-breath followed by a 5 second breath-hold out – for a minute or two. If you find you need to take a big in-breath every now and again – no problem. That’s normal.
  2. Now feel your feet; notice –
    • if they are comfortable
    • if they are warm or cool
    • if they are placed symmetrically or not (it doesn’t matter)
    • if they are tired or energized (or neither)
    • if you can feel the pressure or contact with the floor – if not, push them against the floor to enhance this feeling. Enjoy this ‘grounding’ feeling.
    • if you can feel any slight tingling in the toes (wait for this to happen – it can take up to a minute to appear), then follow the tingling for a minute
  3. Now notice if there’s any tingling in your finger-tips – again, you may have to wait and watch for up to a minute to spot it. Follow it for a half a minute.
  4. Now notice the tingling in the hands and feet at the same time. Maybe half a minute.
  5. Now whilst noticing the tingling in the hands and feet at the same time, ALSO keep the out-breath slow. Keep focused on doing these things. This uses a part of your brain you don’t often use, and needs practice.
  6. Now imagine sunlight playing through leafy green trees in your mind’s eye, AS WELL AS continuing to be aware of your slow out-breath AND your tingling fingers and toes.


Do this whole exercise for a good five minutes as many times a day as you can. Doing this is a skill that needs learning – like any new skill – until it becomes easier. It trains up the part of the brain that is capable of relaxing the nervous system.