The Blue Knot Foundation provide a range of resources to support survivors and practitioners. Blue Knot focus on how best to support individuals who have experienced trauma early in life with a focus on adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
1800 RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service where you can receive support on the phone 24/7. They all have a website that can provide vital information around staying safe.
There are many services and health professionals available for you to get support from, including counsellors here at Laurel House. For each person experiencing anxiety, the causes and treatments will be different. It is important that you have a talk with your counsellor or GP about what the best treatments might be for you.
Below are a few techniques that are useful to do at home:
Slow Breathing Exercise
Time the number of breaths you take in one minute. Breathing, then out is counted as one breath.
Breathe in, hold your breath and count to five. Then breathe out and say the word ‘relax’ to yourself in a calm, soothing manner.
Start breathing in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth, in a six-second cycle. Breathe in for three seconds and out for three seconds. This will produce a breathing rate of 10 breaths per minute. In the beginning, it can be helpful to time your breathing using the second hand of a watch or clock.
Count to yourself.
Continue breathing in a six-second cycle for at least five minutes, or until the symptoms of over breathing have settled.
After practicing this exercise, time the number of breaths you take in one minute.
Practice the slow breathing exercise each day before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. Use the technique whenever you feel anxious. Gradually, you’ll be familiar enough with the exercise to stop timing yourself.
Muscle Relaxation Exercise
This exercise helps to reduce physical and mental tension. Practise this exercise regularly and at the first signs of muscle tension.
- Sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room
- Put your feet flat on the floor and rest your hands in your lap
- Close your eyes
- Do the slow breathing exercise for three minutes
- After three minutes of slow breathing, start the muscle relaxation exercise below
- Tense each of your muscle groups for ten seconds, then relax for ten seconds, in the following order:
Hands: Clench your hands into fists, and then relax
Lower arms: bend your hands up at the wrists, then relax
Upper arms: bend your arms up at the elbow, then relax
Shoulders: Lift your shoulders up, and then relax
Neck: Stretch your neck gently to the left, forward, right, then backwards in a slow rolling motion, then relax
Forehead and scalp: Raise your eyebrows, and then relax
Eyes: Close your eyes tightly, and then relax
Jaw: Clench your teeth, and then relax
Chest: Breathe in deeply, then breathe out and relax
Stomach: Pull your tummy in, then relax
Upper back: Pull your shoulders forward, then relax
Lower back: While sitting, roll your back into a smooth arc, and then relax
Buttocks: Tighten your buttocks, and then relax
Thighs: Push your feet firmly into the floor, and then relax
Calves: Lift your toes off the ground, then relax
Feet: Gently curl your toes down, and then relax.
Continue slow breathing for five more minutes, enjoying the feeling of relaxation
A full session of relaxation takes about 15-20 minutes. Once you are good at relaxing your muscles, start relaxing tense parts of your body during the day while you are going about your daily activities.