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Mindfulness and Breathing
Our online outreach woker Kat, has provided us with some easy grounding excersises that you can do alongside any breathing and mindfulness, that can support you in managing flashbacks or unwanted memories. We hope you find them useful:
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
For this exercise you need a small piece of card, (the size of a bank card) that you can keep in your pocket or bag. The idea is that if you are having a panic attack or flashback, you can take it out and it will help you to ground yourself. On the card is written a reminder to you to notice:
- 5 things you can see.
- 4 things you can hear.
- 3 things you can touch.
- 2 things you can smell.
- 1 thing you can taste.
We felt the 54321 exercise would be good if you are in the middle of the city or in a public place, when you’re out and about. It can help to bring you back to the here and now and you could easily keep the piece of card in your bag or pocket. It also might be helpful to give the card to a friend or partner, who can prompt you to notice your senses.
Let’s practice! Take in your current surroundings…
- What are 5 things you can see? A wall perhaps, what colour is it? Is there an object near you, is it smooth or soft?
- What are 4 things you can hear? Something outside perhaps, people talking, the wind blowing…
- What are 3 things you can touch? Are they rough or smooth? Warm or cold?
- What are 2 things you can smell? The air perhaps, what does it smell like?
- What is 1 thing you can taste?
We are going explore objects that make us feel good and safe within ourselves.
- So, we invite you to take a moment to think about when you felt good and safe within yourself. Is there an object from that memory? Is there an object for you that represents that feeling? A pebble or stone or shell perhaps? Something small you can hold in your hand.
- Now, if that object is in your house, we invite you to go and get it if you want to, or if not just to picture it in your mind.
- Hold this object in your hand or in your mind.
- Look at it really closely as though you have never seen it before. How many colours can you see? Is there anything you find interesting about your stone or shell?
- Notice how the object feels. Is it rough or smooth? Is it warm or cool? Does the temperature change as you hold it?
- Notice how you feel. Remember – there is no right or wrong way to feel!
- If you notice that you feel calmer when you are holding your stone or shell, you might find it helpful to carry it with you so that you can pick it up when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed
We invite you to carry that object with you, put it beside your bed or in a place that feels safe so that you can touch it whenever you feel triggered or hold, look at or imagine that object it brings you back to that positive and safe sensation.