A stressful situation just happened to you. 

Is your heart beating fast?

Is your breathing getting shorter or faster?

Is your body trembling?

Do you feel confused, disoriented, anxious, panicky or helpless?

These are natural reactions in times of stress, trauma or emergencies. These reactions can be calmed and changed on-the-spot if we take the following steps. 

On a scale of 1-10, what is the degree of tension you feel now? If it is 6 and above – follow all the steps; if it is below 6, go straight to steps 4 to 7.  

STEP 1 In a safe place or wherever you are cross your arms and tap alternatively with open palms on your arms 25 times; then take a deep breath

STEP 2 Press your feet hard on the ground and feel the support of the ground. Now look around and count ten different objects with the same color, texture or shape.

STEP 3 Look around you and count 10 different textures, such as wood, glass, plastic, etc.; or 10 different shapes; or 10 objects of any one color. Now notice how you feel less agitated

STEP 4 Put one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach and follow your breath.

STEP 5 Just pay attention to your inner sensations, such as fast heartbeat or pulse, short breath, tightness or pain in chest, arms, neck, etc. Notice one sensation at a time. Just pay attention and be curious with no judgment or analysis and release – discharge- will happen automatically. Signs of release or discharge are deep spontaneous breath, shaking and trembling, yawning; heat wave, warm sweat, goose bumps, gurgling of the stomach

STEP 6 Keep noticing the constricted sensations that come up, one at a time, and release them one at a time, by paying attention and giving time to the discharge, until you have recovered your calm.

STEP 7 In order to strengthen the sense of calm you have achieved, think of something – a resource- that makes you feel stronger, calmer or just happy. Pay attention to the soothing effect the resource has on you. Resources can be internal (faith, inner strength, resilience) and external (friends, family, activities)

Remember, stress is contagious. Our stress affects us and all the people around us, and creates a chain reaction that amplifies reactivity and fear. To prevent this, please use these tools to calm yourself first, and then give support to others. As you experience the effectiveness of these tools, you will know which of these steps to use again when you feel stressed.  


  • Gina Ross, MFCC

    Gina Ross

    A specialist in individual and collective trauma, senior Somatic Experiencing® instructor Gina Ross is the author of a series of books Beyond the Trauma Vortex into the Healing Vortex. The books outline EmotionAid™, The Ross Model and Free From Conflict Protocol:  Successful Conflict Resolution and Communication.   All her work focuses on the 10 social sectors that can amplify or heal trauma. Her latest book Breaking News! The Media and the Trauma Vortex:  Understanding News Reporting, Journalists and Audiences was launched at the Jerusalem Press Club. Gina focuses her analytical and advocacy work on the collective trauma behind politics. She is also a freelance journalist, frequently writing about political polarization. She is a regular contributor to international publications. Gina Ross is available by email [email protected].

    The mission of the International Trauma Institutes in the USA and Israel is to promote peace at the community, national and international levels by bringing awareness to trauma as a root cause of suffering conflict and violence; and to the resources available for trauma’s resolution and healing.