(This blog was originally posted on September 28, 2016)
|Image courtesy of Microsoft|
The thought of bubbles makes me smile. I would even go so far as to say that it’s impossible to think or say the word “bubbles” without feeling a grin begin to form at the corner of my mouth. It doesn’t take long after that for me to feel lighter and less stressed. As the image of that bubble takes form in my mind, whatever was worrying or annoying me a minute ago starts to disappear.
I think bubble imagery is a great stress-relieving technique for several reasons. First: in nature bubbles are composed of two elements: air and water (or some other liquid). We all need air to breathe, so the physical form of a bubble is a great inference or metaphor for this behavior/response. The slow, deep breaths of diaphragmatic breathing and the more forceful action of power breathing are simple techniques I teach my hypnotherapy clients to help them relax and release stress/anxiety and negative emotions.
Second: bubbles are moved by the air, whether that is through our breath or simply being lifted up and carried by a breeze or air currents blowing through a ventilation system. The pocket of air within the thin film of water that envelopes it makes the bubble buoyant as it floats and bobs its way along its seemingly invisible path. Bubbles do not seem to travel in a purposeful direction; they just exist for a brief amount of time and just travel with the flow of activity around them. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to feel and be so carefree, if only for a little while?
Third: the image, sensation and sound of water—whether it is the ocean, a stream or a placid lake—are very soothing and relaxing for many people. The fact that there are two molecules of oxygen (air) in each drop of water reinforces the subconscious association with breathing. Meanwhile, the soft form of a bubble drifting through the air is so whimsical that it is easy to get temporarily distracted and from what’s going on around us temporarily get carried away on its short journey.
Next time you find that you are annoyed, frustrated or stressed out about something, give yourself permission to take a couple seconds’ imaginary journey with some bubbles. It doesn’t matter what kind of bubbles you envision. Perhaps you are thinking of the tiny, fragrant and frothy suds in a bubble bath or the ones you create in a kids’ bubble-blowing kit. Draw in a long, deep breath and slowly, gently release the air through your mouth. Visualize, imagine, picture or pretend that you are blowing some bath bubbles off the top of the tub or creating the largest bubble you ever made using the straw in the bubble kit. The goal is to keep the bubble form as long as possible before it naturally disintegrates in the air. To do this, make sure that your exhale is just strong enough to send the bubbles aloft/create the shape without being so forceful that it pops right away. When the bubble finally does pop, visualize, imagine, picture or pretend that you are also watching the release of any negative energy, stress or anxiety you have been carrying around. Then take another deep breath, drawing in confidence and relaxation in your knowledge that this unwanted negativity is gone can no longer affect you or anyone else.
Now, go blow some bubbles!
Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.