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We are offering a weekly blog series with a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques and exercises that can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Wednesday for the newest skill of the week. Try them all out and find what works best for you.

This weeks exercise comes from Mary Miller, LCSW:

This exercise is designed to help reduce any tension and pain your body may be harboring. Our bodies frequently have hot spots where we tend to hold tension and often when we are experiencing stress, illness, or fatigue, they can flare up. This mindfulness exercise is intended to help manage these symptoms and to provide a simple guide to help release any discomfort. When our bodies are calmer, more relaxed, and experiencing less pain or tension, this can have a powerful effect on how we are able to move through our day and can help improve mood and our emotional and mental state. Find a quiet spot where you can lie or sit comfortably, and follow the guide below:

  1. Tune into your body. Scan your body from head to toe. Slowly, and mindfully, notice and explore how each part of your body is feeling in this moment without trying to change it. Notice your breathing and begin to slow it down. Allow yourself to approach with curiosity, anything you might be feeling at this moment.
  2. Tune into your discomfort. Ask yourself where you notice the most pain or tension. Allow yourself to tune into your body and notice the place where you are feeling it the most. How big is it? How much space does it fill? What kind of sensation are you feeling? Is it sharp? Dull? Use this moment to give what you are feeling a color, shape, and texture. For example: “I feel a knot in my back that feels like a red, hot ball, it throbs now that I’m really thinking about.”
  3. Visualize your inhale. Use your breath in to connect with this space. Observe your breath as you intentionally move it into the space where you feel this pain. For example: “I am breathing down into my back, my breath is going straight into this hot, red knot of pain”.
  4. Visualize your exhale: Slowly, breath out your pain. Visualize it leaving your body through your breath. Example: “I am breathing out a fiery, hot, red. I am watching it exhale my mouth like a cloud of red smoke”.
  5. Repeat. Continue this inhale/exhale process mindfully until you notice a change in the discomfort. This can happen in a few breaths or after several minutes or continuing this exercise. Continue as many times as needed until this area feels better.  End this exercise by picturing a color or image that represents healing to you. Breath this color or image into your body space that harbors the discomfort.