Optional:      As you begin, think about setting an intention for this practice. Are you doing this to help improve your concentration, prepare for the day ahead, achieve a goal, or just to give yourself some extra care? While you do each step of this exercise you can keep this intention in mind, or even repeat an affirmation out loud as you go. If you would like some ideas of affirmations or self-talk, you can check out a list of examples here, or you can simply use the PACE acronym: "I am positive, active, clear, and energetic".

  1. Water - Take a sip of water. Hold it in your mouth as you inhale and exhale through the nose for one breath, then swallow. If you don't have any water handy, you can just imagine doing this as you take an intentional breath in and out. 
  2. Brain Buttons - Place one hand on your lower belly. With your other hand, make a wide 'U' shape and use your thumb and two fingers to massage or lightly press the soft spots just below your collarbone. Do this for 30 seconds, or three full breaths, then switch hands and repeat for another 30 seconds. 
  3. Cross Crawls - Lift your left knee and bring your right hand across to tap it. Then lift your right knee and bring your left hand across to tap it. Continue crossing opposite arm to opposite knee and repeat rhythmically for about 1 minute, or counting to 60.
  4. Hook ups - Cross the left ankle over the right ankle. Extend your arms in front of you, cross your left wrist over the right with both thumbs pointing downward, and then interlace fingers. Draw your clasped hands down and then up through the middle, and gently hold against your chest. Stay like this and breathe evenly for 30-60 seconds, with your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. Then swap and do the same with right ankle and right wrist crossed over the left. 
  5. Hook ups part 2 - Place your feet flat on the floor. Hold your hands in front of you with your fingertips touching. One by one, tap each finger to its counterpart as you take a breath in and out, starting at the thumbs and moving down to the pinkies. 
  6. Once you’ve finished, notice if anything is different from just a few moments ago. Are there any shifts, however tiny or subtle, in how your body feels? See if you can put words to what you notice, remembering that whatever comes up is okay.

( i )      PACE is a Brain Gym exercise that stands for Positive, Active, Clear, and Energetic. Each technique builds on the last to help improve your brain-body connection: 

  • Water helps to hydrate and energise the brain,
  • Pressing the 'brain buttons' underneath the collarbone improves blood flow to the brain which helps "switch on" the thinking brain,
  • Using bilateral stimulation across the midline of the body during 'cross crawls' improves coordination between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and helps to inhibit the amygdala and improve focus,
  • Crossing your wrists and ankles and holding them close to the body during 'hook ups' helps to settle the nervous system and restore equilibrium after an experience of stress.