Most of us have experienced those sleepless nights when we just can’t shut our minds off; or, we sleep for 2-4 hours and wake up and can’t get back to sleep-so frustrating!Imagine that helpless and frustrating feeling in the mind of a child. There don’t seem to be any “failsafe”, natural ways to combat this problem that work every single time; however, we can amass a toolbox of resources that one or two can work when others don’t. Here are a few natural options that can be used in combination or alone (and can be used to just ease anxiety or worrying as well):
THE BUTTERFLY HUG
To do the butterfly hug, cross your arms across your chest, as if you were holding yourself, with your right hand resting on your left upper arm and your left hand on your right upper arm. Then, as you experience whatever anxiety or fear you may have, tap alternately – left, right, left, right – at whatever speed you find comfortable. The important thing is that you alternate the taps – one side, then the other. After tapping for a while, stop, take a breath, and notice how you’re feeling. You may be surprised to discover that you’re feeling somewhat calmer. If Just notice that and begin to tap again. If your level of anxiety or fear doesn’t change at all, give yourself some more time with the butterfly hug and see what happens. (No tool works for everyone, so this is truly an experiment to see how whether this something useful to you.) You can do the butterfly hug for as much or little time as you find comfortable, and as many times a day as you feel a need to settle yourself.
The Light Stream Technique
The first part of the light stream technique is to think about what you are experiencing and feeling in that moment. Ask yourself what emotions am I feeling right now (Am I mad? Am I sad? Am I frustrated that I can’t sleep?), and where do I feel it in my body?
The second step is to imagine that those feelings are an object. The goal is to take the first thing that comes to mind after recognizing the emotions, and location. Mentally ask yourself these questions about the object:
“If it had a shape, what shape would it be?”
“If it had a size, what size would it be?”
“If it had a color, what color would it be?”
“If it had a temperature, what temperature would it be? Hot or cold?”
“If it had a texture, what texture would it be?”
“If it had a sound, what kind of sound would it make? High or low pitch?”
Next, you are going to use your imagination:
Pick a color that you most associate with healing. Imagine that there is a stream of light this color that is coming from the center of the universe. This is a magic light, because the more you need of it, the more of it is available to you. Allow this light to flow into your head, and focus it down on the object. Let the light vibrate like a laser beam in and around this object.
Allow yourself to just notice what happens to the object.
Remember that the more light or energy that you need the more is available to you. Allow yourself to feel the light enter your mind, and allow the healing light again to vibrate in and around the object and notice what happens to the object.
When you notice that the object is gone or feels that it is contained, allow yourself to let the energy from the light flow into your body. Allow it to reach the tips of your finger, and the tips of your toes. Allow yourself to be surrounded by the light, and overwhelmed by the energy, count to three and open your eyes.
A B-mail message is a deep breath that tells our body that we are relaxing in the moment.
Lay on your back and put your hand on your belly.
Take a slow deep breath in through your nose and let it out through your mouth with a gentle ah-h-h-h-h-h-h sound. (You should feel their belly rise and fall).
Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth like they are trying to move a feather up in the air.
Breathe in slowly to the count 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.
In 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.
Repeat 10 times.
TIME TO RELAX YOUR BODY
Get ready to relax. You can sit in a chair or lie down on a bed.
Close your eyes, and take a deep breath in…. now breathe out.
Breathe in…. and breathe out.
Keep breathing slowly like this. Feel how it relaxes you to breathe deeply.
Now squeeze your hands closed into fists. Pretend that you are squeezing a ball in each hand… gripping tighter…. squeeze even tighter…. Right now, your muscles are tense.
And now relax. Let your hands go limp. Now your hands feel relaxed. See how relaxed your hands feel. See how tense feels different from relaxed. Relaxation is a way to make your whole body feel relaxed like your hands are now.
One way to relax your body is by breathing deeply. Imagine that your body is like a balloon. When you breathe in, feel your chest and sides expanding, like a balloon filling with air. When you breathe out, imagine your body is like a balloon shrinking with the air being let out.
Breathe in like a balloon being blown up. Now breathe out, like the air is being let out of a balloon. Let the air out by blowing the air through your mouth.
Breathe in through your nose, imagining your body expanding like a balloon…. and now imagine letting the end of the balloon go, and the air rushing out as you breathe out through your mouth.
As you breathe in this time, raise your arms above your head. When you breathe out, lower your arms.
Breathe in. Reach your hands above your head, stretching high up… stretching…. and now lower your arms to your sides and relax. Breathe out.
Raise your arms and breathe in…. lower your arms and breathe out….
Raise your arms and breathe in…. lower your arms and breathe out….
Now relax and keep your arms at your sides, while you continue breathing slowly and deeply.
Remember the difference between tense and relaxed. Tighten your leg muscles to make both of your legs tense. Squeeze tighter…. tighter… and now relax.
Let your legs become very relaxed. Each leg is as floppy as a piece of string.
Your legs feel heavy. The muscles are loose.
Now tense your arms. Make the muscles very tight and tense. Tighter…. and now relax. Your arms are relaxed, limp and loose as pieces of string.
See how it feels to be relaxed. Your legs and arms are relaxed.
Now let your whole body become relaxed. See how relaxed you can make your body…. loosening every muscle…. no tension at all…..
Your body feels heavy and relaxed.
Relax even more by noticing your breathing again. See how calm your breathing is. In…. and out….. in…. and out…
Keep breathing and simply relax. There is nothing you need to do right now except relax quietly.
See how calm and relaxed you feel. It feels good to relax.
PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION FOR KIDS
Breathe in deeply through your nose. Pause and silently count to three. Now, let out your breath very slowly, as if you’re giving a long sigh JUST LIKE YOUR CAT/DOG!
Be aware of the muscles in your face. Relax them beginning with your jaw. Next, relax your shoulders, feeling the tension melt away. Now, feel your tummy. Center one hand right above your belly button. Put your other hand on top of that hand. Breathe in deeply and let out the breath slowly. Notice how your tummy rises and falls. (Repeat at least ten times.)
2. Next, we’ll begin to relax the muscles in your body. Pretend that you have an orange in your right hand and squeeze as hard as you can. (Hold the squeeze for about five seconds.) Pay attention to the tension in your muscles. Now, drop the orange and let your muscles relax. (Repeat for the left arm.)
3. Now, stretch your arms high above your head and back as far as you can without hurting yourself. Now, let your arms drop. Don’t try to stop them. Just let them fall. See how good that feels? Now, reach for the ceiling. Stretch higher. Higher! Go as high as you can. Then pull back. (Hold for three to five seconds.) Now let your arms drop to your side. Doesn’t that feel good?
4. Now, let’s work on your jaw muscles. We’re going to pretend that you have a hard piece of candy in your mouth, and you’re going to try as hard as you can to bite through it. Bite hard. Harder! Now, relax your jaw muscles. Let’s try it again. (Repeat.) Now, relax. Feel the tension melt away in your entire body.
5. We’re going to work on your face and nose. Scrunch up your nose LIKE AN OLD LADY as tight as you can, making lots of wrinkles in your face. Don’t laugh! Just keep scrunching. Now relax. Let’s try it again; scrunch harder. Harder! Relax. Notice how relaxed your face feels.
6. We’re moving to your tummy now. For this exercise, you’re going to squeeze your belly as hard as you can, making you look as skinny as possible. Now squeeze…squeeze…squeeze. Good. You can relax now. Next, you’re going to try to make yourself even skinnier, and hold it for a good five seconds each time. Squeeze. (Slowly count to five.) Relax. Let’s try it one more time. Squeeze as hard as you can. (Count to five.) Relax. Now relax your entire body, and notice how good that feels.
7. Now, pretend you’re on a sandy beach. Squeeze your toes into the sand. Feel the wet sand squish between your toes, using the muscles in your legs to squeeze your toes into the sand as hard as you can. Relax the muscles in your legs. Feel the tension wash away into the ocean. Let’s try it again, only this time, dig deeper into the sand, using your legs once again to help you grip with your toes. Relax your toes. Relax your legs. Now, relax your entire body.
8. Pretend you’re a rag doll, and let your entire body go limp. Notice how good it feels to be relaxed. Now, just enjoy the feeling. Now you know how to melt away the tightness in your body. Whenever you feel anxious, take a few minutes to tighten your muscles; then relax them.