Friday, 5 September 2014

An Image for Emotion Regulation and Mindful Breathing

Here is another picture that I use when dealing with difficult emotions like anger, or anxiety.

I use the picture to focus while bringing my breathing under control. I imagine myself in a small boat on the river. I allow it to carry me forward carried along on the river, as I lie in the bottom of the boat watching the sky above with its clouds and beautiful sunset. As I am carried forward on the water I change my focus from my breathing in and out to notice negative thoughts and feelings as they arise, I then change my focus to the clouds floating by above, returning to focus on my breath until it has slowed and become regular. As I notice the thoughts and feelings, I notice as they float up from the boat to the clouds above. I give them the form of words, often with characteristic size, shape and colour, so Anger cna be spiky, red, and large when I first notice it. I then watch the negative feelings grow smaller as they drift upwards away from me towards the clouds until they dissolve completely. As each thought or feeling arises and floats away I watch, then return my focus to my breathing, until I feel completely calm.

It works for me because it helps me to balance control of my breaths along with identifying and controlling the emotions as they arise. Managing to identify and manage the emotion until it grows less intense takes time and practice. Concentrating on slowing down your breathing is a good first step.