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  1. Use the 4 Elements to Lower Stress


    Back to the Real Basics: Lower Stress with the 4 Elements

    Managing stress is key to wellbeing. Meditation and mindfulness help countless people around the world stay calm and maintain good mental health.

    One technique relies on the four elements: earth, air, water and fire. It’s free, easy, and can be done anywhere at any time.

    Sit down comfortably and go through this series of thoughts.

    1. Earth. Feel both feet firmly on the floor, maybe the chair supporting you. Look around and take note of three things you see, without judging. Take a moment or two to ground yourself wherever you are.
    2. Air. Take a deep breath, and release it slowly, paying attention to the air going in and out of your mouth, nose, throat, lungs… Deep breathing is calming, and the focus helps center us.
    3. Water. Do you have saliva in your mouth, and can you make more? Anxiety can leave the mouth dried out. Take a sip of water if you need to, and notice how it feels in your mouth and as you swallow it.
    4. Fire. Bring up a warm memory, look forward to something special, or go to your “safe place” mentally. What do you feel? Where do you feel it in your body? You’re “firing up” your imagination to show all the possibilities.

    Sit with these thoughts, repeating as necessary, and notice how you feel less stressed and more in control.

    Sources: EMDR Research Foundation, Elan Shapiro

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