Seven fast, drug-free methods for lifting any emotional burden

Jun 16, 2013 12:00 AM

There are fast and effective, drug-free ways to lift emotional burdens that your doctor or psychiatrist will not tell you about because he or she is - almost certainly - not trained in mental health.

That's right, psychiatrists are not trained in mental health and stress reduction. They are trained to prescribe medication, so they are very short on the kinds of effective mental health strategies that really work to reduce stress and lighten any emotional load.

In this article, I have listed seven ways to quickly and effectively release emotional burdens without the use of drugs of any kind. I have been careful to choose methods that you can use with some effort on your part, yet no formal training.

All of the methods here are effective within five minutes and some of them will begin to make a difference after just a few seconds.

My advice is to use each method combined with a tool called Subjective Units of Stress (SUS). To measure your SUS, just rate on a scale of 1-10 how stressed you are as a result of your emotional burden. How intense are your feelings?

Ten is maximum stress and one is minimal stress. This is a totally subjective measurement - no right or wrong answer. The goal is to reduce your SUS with the following methods.

There are prompts to check your SUS built into the steps for each method below.

Here my top seven ways to release any emotional burden

Four Count Breathing Exercise
1. Measure your SUS on a scale of 1-10.
2. Clear your mind take a deep breath in, a four-second inhale.
3. Hold breath for four seconds.
4. Exhale for four seconds.
5. Pause four seconds before the next inhale.
6. Repeat four cycles.
7. Check your SUS.

Repeat as often as necessary. The theory behind four-count breathing is that rapid, shallow breathing signals anxiety in the brain. When breathing is deliberate and slow, the brain cannot activate its anxiety programs.

Eye Circling
When you are stressed or stuck in an emotional rut, do the following:

1. Check your SUS.
2. Take a deep breath, then begin slowly moving your eyes in big, wide circles, all around the outside edges of your eye sockets.
3. Make 4-6 complete circles.
4. Take another deep breath.
5. Check SUS.Repeat until SUS is whittled down.

There are several more involved eye movement therapies. NLP Eye Movement Integration and Francine Shapiro's EMDR, for example.

Cheek Taps
This simple method really works!

1. Check SUS.
2. Gently tap on the upper side (on the upper ridge) of either cheek done. Tap lightly with your middle and index fingers put together. Again lightly tap - do not bruise yourself. Tap 10-20 times.
3. Another deep breath.
4. Check SUS.Repeat as necessary.

Source: Dr. Roger Callahan's Thought Field Therapy (TFT). This is the original tapping method. All other tapping methods are knock offs.

Tuning in to White Noise
Tuning into white noise may be the most soothing thing you can do.

1. Check SUS.
2. Listen intently to white noise, such as the sound of a fan, the hum of the refrigerator, sound of rain, radio static or any mundane and consistent background noise. NOT music, words or intermittent noise.
3. Listen for 10-30 seconds, then take a deep breath.
4. Check SUS.Repeat as necessary.

Pacing your Inner Critic
This is a great tool for dealing with emotional stress that comes from a negative inner voice.

1. Check SUS.
2. Listen for your negative inner voice.
3. After it completes a sentence. Say the words, "I just had the thought.....(then repeat what the negative voice said here).

For example, if your inner critic says, "You are an idiot." Listen, then repeat in your mind the following, "I just had the thought, I am an idiot."

4. Do this for 5 minutes, or until your inner voice quiets down.
5. Check SUS.Repeat as necessary.

Watch a video of a modified version of this method here.

Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation
This one involves inner visualization. It's a great way to get some distance from problems and see the big picture.

1. Check SUS.
2. Imagine seeing yourself in the problem situation off in the distance. You are looking at yourself as if you were a neutral observer. The "you" over there is caught up in the problem.
3. Deep breath and observe yourself for a up to a minute or more.
4. Write down any new insights that come from this observer perspective.
5. Check SUS.

Source: V-K Dissociation is classic NLP technique.

Stream of Consciousness Writing
Sometimes you need to get the thoughts out of your head by simply putting them on paper.

1. Check SUS.
2. Write down every thought that goes through your mind for up to 15 minutes. Do NOT edit - if you think it, put it on paper (you can throw it away later).
3. Deep breath, check SUS.

Stack the deck in your favor!
You can use the seven methods in combinations, too. For example, take a few minutes to journal, then do four count breathing, followed by listening to white noise. Use any combination you choose. Don't forget to use SUS.

It really helps track your progress from moment to moment. Imagine yourself using these methods daily, as soon as you begin to feel uncomfortably stressed. Nip it in the bud! It really makes a difference.

If one or more of these methods works for you, but you don't use it, then you should consider learning about self-sabotage. Self-sabotage occurs when we know the best course of action, but don't follow it, as if there were some hidden agenda to attract more negativity into our lives.

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