(607) 280-1198
Mary Lauppe, LCSW
317 North Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Phone: (607) 280-1198 (confidential voicemail and telephone number)

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Stress Reduction / Meditation
Here are some relaxation exercises that I have found to be particularly helpful.  These can be used by both adults and children, and are chosen for their simplicity and effectiveness.  I hope you find them useful.

Safe Place

You can do this by yourself, or have someone read this to you.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.  Imagine you are in a safe place: whatever comes up to you first is probably the right place for now.  Imagine looking around, what objects are there?  Are they alive, or inanimate?  You are in charge, so bring in or remove things to make the space feel just right for you.  Now imagine touching the things in your safe place. Feel them with your hands. Feel what is under your feet. Notice texture, temperature. Stay a moment with this. Now notice the sounds you hear in this safe place. Make sure they feel good. Listen for a few moments. Take a deep breath, and breathe in the relaxing fragrances.  Allow yourself to sink in and feel completely safe and surrounded by comfort in your special imaginary place.  As you end, give it a name. And promise yourself that you will return to this special place whenever you feel the need or wish. 

Full body muscle relaxation

Lie down or sit in a comfortable position.  For this exercise, you might wish to play relaxing music.  Start by focusing on the crown of your head, softening and loosening.  Then move to your face, scrunch it up, let it drop, and feel your face relax, no need to hold up an expression.  Sit quietly for a moment.  Now move your attention to your neck and, letting any tension there be released.  Next, lift up both shoulders, and drop them.  Travel down your right arm, feeling it get heavy, being supported by the chair.  Tighten the right fist, then loosen.  Do the same with your left arm and hand.

Now focus on your chest, feeling the breath come in and out.  Take a deep breath to open up your chest and stomach, filling it like a balloon, then release, and allow to soften.  Now move your attention to your seat, letting yourself sink into your chair.  Stretch out your right leg, and let it drop.  Scrunch out your right foot, and loosen, feeling your foot soften and relax.  Repeat with your left leg and foot.

Now sit for a while in this relaxed state, if your mind wanders, just bring it back, until you are ready to end this relaxation exercise.

A simple meditation
Choose a positive self statement, such as: “I am safe”  “I can accept myself as I am” “I am strong”.  Then with your breath in, say the sentence to yourself, and let out your breath.  Take another inhalation as you say your positive statement, exhale to relax.  Repeat this with gentle, natural breaths.  If you get distracted, just return to your breath and statement.  Do this for about 10 minutes.

Meditation on the go to help reduce anxiety

Often in our busy lives we do not seem to have time for formal meditation/relaxation.  Here are some ideas to weave this into your daily life:

  • At every red light take a deep breath in and out.
  • Pause before you answer phone, checking in with how you are feeling.
  • When you walk to work from your car, walk in a mindful way, without phone or distraction, looking and taking in your surroundings.
  • Before opening emails, close your eyes, breath, notice and loosen points of tension.

Breathing in, I calm my body

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment,

I know this is a wonderful moment!

Quote by Thich Nhat Hanh