Nancy Adler-Jones, MSW

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Quieting Reflex

Quieting the “limbic system”, the emotional part of the brain is useful in conquering any habits linked to emotional triggers. Twenty minutes of meditation twice a day has been the standard prescription for accomplishing this calming effect.  I find that most people have been unable/unwilling to carve this much time out of their day.  Plus, there is another way! In 1982, Charles Stroebel discovered that taking 6 seconds to relax in the following way had the same effect.

Here are the instructions:

The quieting reflex is used to cope with urgent and emergent stress.  The technique needs to be practiced often, the more the better, in order to improve the skills when needed during a stressful time period.  The quieting response may be used with eyes closed or open, and at anytime or place.  The goal is to have the quieting reflex become an easy to use skill that works.

Be aware of what is distressing and irritating.  The annoyance is the trigger or cue to begin using the quieting reflex now.

Say and repeat the phrase “Alert mind, calm body” to yourself.

Smile inwardly with your mouth and your eyes. The inward smile is a feeling and is not obvious to anyone. This “smile” prevents the facial muscles from adopting negative, hostile and stressful expressions.

Inhale slowly to three. Imagine that the breath comes from down at the bottom of your feet! Let the breathe go slowly…Feel the breath travel back down your legs and out of the bottom of your feet…Allow your face, jaw, tongue and shoulder muscles to relax and become loose and limp.

With practice, the “quieting reflex” will become an “automatic skill”.

Sun, March 15 2009 » Stress