When living with a phobia, one of the best things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing is to learn how to cope with triggers. This may seem a bit daunting at first, as just the idea of facing triggers is scary. However, simply knowing that you have a few coping mechanisms up your sleeve can bring you a lot of comfort during tricky situations.
In this article you can find a quick guide to 3 different relaxation techniques for emetophobia. Give them a go yourself to make life with emetophobia that little bit easier!
When our anxiety levels rise, it affects our breathing, which in turn has an impact on brain function. As a result, even slight changes in breathing rhythm can completely change the way we think and feel. The positive side to this is that if you can learn how to control your breathing, you have the power to regulate your nervous system and manage anxiety symptoms.
There are a range of breathing exercises that can reduce anxiety. What makes them so useful for phobias is that they are easy to do and can have an immediate impact.
For our first relaxation technique for emetophobia we’re going to explain 4-4-8 breathing. Here’s what to do:
- Breathe in for a count of 4
- Hold the breath in your lungs for a count of 4
- Exhale for a count of 8
- Repeat for at least 1 minute
Drawing out the exhale causes your heart rate to slow and can even reduce blood pressure, which will leave you feeling calmer and more focused.
“The Riverbank” meditation
It’s becoming common knowledge that meditation is a great tool to help people live happier, healthier lives. Unfortunately, the idea of sitting in silence while trying not to think about anything in particular is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Let us assure you that meditation is not as boring and/or difficult as it may sound. In fact, how one person meditates may look completely different to the meditation style of someone else, and that’s fine! Meditation is a practice you can really make your own—there is no “right” way to do it.
Some people like to meditate in silence, while others may choose some kind of background music or chant while they practise. You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair, or lying down. The list goes on.
The technique we’re covering here is particularly well-suited to beginners, as it involves using a visualisation that will help you to focus your mind. Watch the video below to learn how to do it.
Grounding with objects
Grounding exercises offer a useful way to distract from anxious thoughts and feelings and focus on what you can control. Rounding off our list of relaxation techniques for emetophobia is a simple grounding technique that can help you remain calm and collected when facing a trigger.
The next time you find yourself in a situation that raises your anxiety levels, reach for a nearby object and hold onto it. It doesn’t really matter what the object is — you can use anything from a book to a piece of cutlery. The important thing is that you use your hands and really focus on the features of the object. Ask yourself:
- Is it warm or cool?
- Is it smooth or rough?
- Is it firm or flexible?
- Is it heavy or light?
- What colour is it?*
*Try to use an exact shade. So instead of “red” you might think “crimson”.
Performing an exercise like this prevents your mind from flooding you with worries and worst case scenarios. It’s hard to become overwhelmed when your brain is focusing on one, clear task.
To ensure that you are able to use this relaxation technique on the go, you might want to keep certain objects on your person that you can reach for in emergency scenarios. Choosing smaller items like a keyring or lip balm also allows you to do the technique in public without drawing attention to yourself.
We hope you find these relaxation techniques for emetophobia useful! The more comfortable you can become in the presence of triggers, the closer you get to being able to manage your emetophobia for good.
Looking for more self-help tips like these? Check out 8 Calming Techniques for Emetophobia.