It’s so easy to get stressed out by the people around us.
- You have a parent with a different political or religious perspective than you.
- Your coworker consistently finds ways to push your buttons.
- Your partner can’t seem to understand how to squeeze the toothpaste correctly.
Whatever it is, you’re a living, breathing unique individual in a world full of living, breathing unique individuals, and all of that interaction is hard.
EMDR re-wires traumatic memories
The negative experiences in your past create a code in your brain, coaxing you to feel stressed, depressed, or angry in response to certain triggers. EMDR is a therapeutic process that helps you re-access these memories to change the code, helping you discover the peace you long for. This is achieved through stimulating the left and right sides of the brain rhythmically, something you can do with simple actions like tapping your knees in an alternating pattern.
Memories are likely stored in the brain during left-right eye movements that occur while we sleep, and EMDR appears to mimic this process in order to heal the effects of negative memories, whether we are conscious of those memories or not.
Remember that situation that was stressing you out? You can practice the bilateral stimulation from EMDR at home to turn down the negative volume of this trigger in your life.
How to practice EMDR today
First: Imagine your distress.
Who’s that person you want to get along with better? What’s the emotion you feel when you bring their face to mind? Try to really feel it. Make their face vivid in your mind until the pain becomes present. Now take a distress measurement, where 0 is no distress and 10 is the most distress you can possibly imagine. Write this down.
Next: Find your mental safe place.
Close your eyes and wander. Perhaps you’re walking along the ocean. Maybe you’ve found a hidden temple in the forest. As we distract your fight, flight, or freeze response with this safe place, choose a positive intention that combats the negative emotion in the previous step. Perhaps it’s “I’m worth it,” “I’m a hard worker,” or “I am loved.”
Finally: Tap your knees.
Begin tapping your knees, alternating between left and right. Keep this slow, about 1 tap per second, keeping in mind both your safe place and your positive intention. Stay in this moment, relaxing if you can, for the next 5 minutes. Now take a deep breath, take another distress score from 0-10, and stand in power knowing you’ve taken a small step towards bettering the relationships in your life.
How do I know when I need therapy?
Perhaps you wonder if you should take the next step into therapy. Are you stuck in the same thought patterns and nothing seems to help? Maybe you’ve spoken with a friend and don’t feel much better. Maybe you took a day to pamper yourself but find you’re still depressed. Or maybe you feel engulfed by the same relational patterns that seem to get you nowhere.
It could be time to look into EMDR therapy. I help people make sense of their past to find hope for their future. Click on my information below for more information.
EMDR makes a difference where it matters most
You long for peace in your relationships. You hope to be less fazed when your parent doesn’t understand. You want to focus on yourself and your efficiency when your coworker says something ridiculous. Remember these three steps. Take them with you on your bathroom break. Use them in bed to help you sleep after a difficult argument. See how empowering changing the code of your brain can be.
Practice EMDR Worksheet
Want these questions in an easy to use free downloadable worksheet? This worksheet will help you take steps forward in dealing with anxiety. You’ll also get access to all our worksheets in Here Counseling’s Resource Library!