Re-centering activities

Re-centering activities

Re-centering activities

Pause to clear your mind

Take 60 seconds to close your eyes (if it feels okay) while sitting in silence. This may help you to reduce stress and better focus on what matters to you.

Place your hand on your stomach and focus on your breath as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Go ahead, hit the pause button…. literally. A new page will open up with a 60-second timer to help you relax and breathe.

Breathe & stretch

We don’t just hold stress and trauma in our minds, it’s also in our bodies. Take some time each day to breathe and stretch. Pay special attention to any areas of your body that get tense under stress.

Try a standing or sitting side stretch to release tension in the shoulders, chest, and side body:

  • As you breathe in, lift your arms overhead (feel free to hook the thumbs, keep the arms apart, or keep the arms down if this is too much on the shoulders)
  • As you breathe out, reach towards the right (just enough to get a stretch)
  • As you breathe in, stand or sit up tall
  • As you breathe out, reach towards the left
  • Repeat 3 times on each side

*Contributed by

Grounding to keep you focused

This is a simple technique to bring you out of your thoughts and into the present. While sitting in silence:

  • Listen for any sounds. Identify what you hear.
  • Look around for anything in your immediate surroundings, including out the window, that you had not noticed before.
  • Touch the closest surface and pay attention to the texture.
  • Notice any scents or smells around you.
  • Breathe deeply in and out.

Choose your self-talk

What we say to ourselves when the going gets tough, can make or break us.

Develop your own saying, mantra, prayer to remind yourself that you can do this.

Choose from among the following or make up your own:

  • I choose how and if I pay attention to my thoughts.
  • A river of compassion washes away my anger and replaces it with love.
  • I have what I need to be successful.
  • I am enough just as I am.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Today I abandon habits that no longer serve me.
  • I radiate charm and grace.
  • Tomorrow is another day.

Wearing a Mona Lisa smile

Researchers have shown that the simple act of positioning your face into a (natural) half smile can lift your mood. It sounds too simple to be true, but it works!

Think about a recent situation that made you angry.

  • Close your eyes, clench your fists, lean forward, and squish your face into a “mad” expression.
  • Hold this posture for 60 seconds while thinking about the situation and your anger in detail (try to remember what was said or done, how you felt and why the situation made you angry).

After 60 seconds answer the following questions:

  • What thoughts are going through your mind?
  • What emotion(s) are you experiencing?

Rate the intensity of the emotion(s) on a scale of 0 to 100.

Now, unclench your fists and sit back in a relaxed fashion.

  • Relax your face and put on a gentle half smile (similar to the woman’s expression in the Mona Lisa painting).
  • The muscles around your eyes and mouth should feel relaxed, and your mouth should be slightly upturned.
  • Think again about the situation above for approximately one minute, while holding this posture.
  • What thoughts are going through your mind?
  • What emotion(s) are you feeling now?

Rate the intensity of the emotion(s) on a scale of 0 to 100.

Notice if there is was any (even if slight) reduction in the intensity of your emotional reaction.

Try practicing throughout the course of your day. Actively remind yourself to smile (you may want to put a reminder on your computer or telephone, or place a sticky note in a place where you can easily see it). Although it can take some practice, over time you may find that the simple act of placing your face into a half (or Mona Lisa) smile can reduce the intensity of negative emotions you are experiencing.

*Adapted from Building Stronger Teams


The best medicine

Research has shown laughter can boost our immune system and lower our stress levels. This YouTube video explains more.

Just search “make me laugh” online and find something to make you laugh every day.

Better yet, enjoy a laugh with friends or family every day.