Building a happy place in your own mind is one of the most powerful and simple tools I guide others to use for coping with strong emotions and stress. Do you have a happy place yet? Even if you do, you can make it stronger by following these tips.
Just so you know…our research project providing EMDR in a group setting is still awaiting research panel approval. I often am asked how EMDR would even work in a group setting. One example I provide is this: Think of it as more of a class with your therapist as the teacher/guide/coach. The experience will be guided and you will be processing wordlessly, privately and in your own mind.
And now, on to my topic of this blog post. I plan on helping group members build a happy place before we do any processing of trauma with EMDR. Each individual would first be guided to build a ‘happy place’ in their own mind which then they would practice 4 times a day over the next week. This is preparation for the actual EMDR work which can be emotionally upsetting. A happy place is a good tool to have to calm yourself if you become agitated. Practice times I often recommend are these:
- When you brush your teeth – sticky note reminder on your mirror
- When you wake up
- When you take a shower
- When you get into your car
- When you go to bed
Even 10 seconds four times a day helps you build the capacity for calming yourself and provides you with an internal resource for combating stress, especially when you need it. As an example, many people think of the beach and to build a happy place with the beach in mind, you would conjure up into your imagination all the sensations associated with the beach – what you hear – waves…what you smell – coconut oil or seaweed, what you taste, feel and see are all added in and in this way you stimulate all the different parts of your brain.