Surviving COVID-19 Panic - Simple Somatic Experiencing Tips for Settling the Nervous System


22 Mar
22Mar
Across the world, the majority of societies are feeling incredible stress and overwhelm.  

Some ideas from Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy to help you to ground and settle:

1.)  There is an app called iChill that is free and is available across platforms.

In the "resources" section of the app, you can take photos of things that are calming and soothing for you, to focus upon to help  your nervous system to calm and settle.  You can also write memos to yourself of things that will help you to ground, and you can record sound that are soothing for you.

In my own :resources" section of my iChill app, for example, I have photos of my dogs, and of the lake at my cottage, and I have recorded the sounds of the waves on the lake, and have some positive affirmations in there.

In the "skills" section of the iChill app, there are somatic experiencing skills/exercises there that you can use to help your nervous system and body to settle.  If the sound is on on your device, the app will be speaking to you and guiding you through the exercise you tap on

If you practice these skills several times/day - it only takes a minute or two each time - your nervous system will re-learn how to regulate itself better so that you don't have to work so hard to feel good.

2.) Choose where you put your focus.

 In SE therapy we talk about the colours blue and red as representing different feeling states - just as a shorthand.

The colour blue represents things that make us feel happy, calm, settled, peaceful etc....  Basically, blue feels good.

The colour red representing things that make us feel angry, sad, scared, in pain, etc..  Red feels bad.

The trick is to - as much as you possible can, and I get that right now this is way easier said than done - when you catch your thoughts and focus going to and staying in the red, stop and shift your focus to blue.

You WILL need to do this over and over and over again - as human beings our brains are hard wired to focus upon the negative.   If, from an evolutionary perspective we spent more time admiring the daisies than we did watching for sabretooth tigers, we weren't going to make it.

BUT our early ancestors lived in a totally different world

Keep pulling your focus  back to the positive pieces of information you can find.  OR, to an entirely different topic. 

Hyperfocusing upon news and reading voraciously about it and sitting and worrying about all of the things that might happen, is only going to make you feel worse and more scared.

Yes, all those scary things are happening and also - what a beautiful sunny day.  You can focus upon all of the "what ifs" that may or may not happen, or you can focus upon watching the leaves sway in the breeze, and let your body settle as they hang out with that.

You got this!

Even if you just take the edge off of the panic and worry you may be feeling, it will then be easier to back way from your phone or computer monitor and go take a warm bath or read a book or cuddle your dog or make a delicious meal, so that your emotional and mental health experience does not become one of being a constantly escalating crisis.

3.) Consider speaking to a professional, if further assistance is needed.  

Check with local mental health professionals to see if they are offering telephone and/or online sessions.  I am offering both and am covered under many extended health plans as a clinical social worker - no referral needed. 
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