Use of a Touchstone to Help Manage Anxiety
A touchstone is really any small object that fits into the palm of your hand that you imbue with positive feelings so you can use in the future to help you reconnect with those feelings. They’re actually quite easy to set up and use. Plus, they can be used very subtly and so can be used in public without drawing attention to yourself. Once you have your touchstone set up, I’d recommend that you carry it with you wherever you go so you will have it when you need it. Because of this, choose an object that is easy to carry in a pocket or a purse.
How to Prepare Your Stone
There are some preparations you’ll need to do before your stone is ready. I’ve listed the steps below:
1. Find an object to use. It should be small enough to be held easily in your hand and have a texture that you find interesting, whether it is smooth or rough. It can also be a piece of jewelry that you wear all the time because then you will be sure to have it when you need it. A ring would be ideal.
2. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and get comfortable. This step might take 20-30 minutes. Close your eyes and think about a time when you felt at peace and calm and happy. Where were you? What were you doing? Were you alone or with someone else? Imagine you are back in that place and remember as much as you can. Use all of your senses. What do you see around you? Can you hear anything? What do you smell? Feel? Do you taste anything? Try to get back to those feelings of calmness and happiness- this part is really important! You want to be experiencing feelings of calmness, contentment, happiness, etc.
3. While you are experiencing those feelings, hold your object in your hand and gently squeeze it, imagining that you are pouring your feelings into the object. Look at the object in your hand. Move it around, rub it and feel all the different features of the object while you’re focusing on the feelings of calmness, happiness, and contentment. You can also do some deep breathing at this time to increase your relaxation and feelings of calmness.
4. You may have to do this several times. The idea is that the object becomes connected in your mind with these feelings. You will know that your object is ready when handling it makes you feel happy or calmer.
How Do I Use my Touchstone?
Once your object is ready, carry it with you in your pocket or in your purse so it’s with you when you need it. Then, if you feel yourself starting to get anxious, hold your object in your hand, manipulate it, feel its features and look at it. You can help the process by taking a deep breath or two while you’re doing this as deep breathing will help to calm your fight or flight response. The more you use your touchstone, the stronger its connection to a feeling of calmness should grow. If this isn’t happening, you can always go through the steps again to strengthen the object’s connection to that feeling of calmness.
Why Does A Touchstone Work?
The touchstone works in a couple of different ways. First of all, it disrupts your focus on whatever it is that is making you anxious and moves your attention elsewhere (on the touchstone!). This in itself should help to decrease your anxiety. But the touchstone also can become a trigger for calmness after repeated use because the touchstone was conditioned to induce this feeling in you when you handle it.
Anxiety can be tough for anyone to deal with, but using a touchstone can help. If you’d like to talk with someone about your anxiety or depression, or are looking for anxiety treatment, follow the link! I’d love to hear from you.