Leaves On a Stream

We all tend to overthink situations from time to time. We can feel our anxiety start to rise in our bodies. Our heart rate goes up, our palms get sweaty, our neck starts to feel tense. Thoughts race through our mind faster than we can keep up with as our mind jumps from one idea to another. Nothing productive gets done when we are in this state, we aren’t going to solve any of the problems we are thinking about, in fact we are just going to continue to get more and more anxious.


When you find your mind racing and your body physically responding it’s best to take a few minutes to slow everything down. Reconnect with your body, feel the ground beneath your feet, empty your mind of the racing thoughts that are coming at you.

#1 Find somewhere quiet to sit.

Sit in a chair, uncross your feet and put them both on the ground. Take off your shoes and socks if you can. Take a moment to feel the ground with your toes.

#2 Close your eyes and breath slowly

Inhale for 4 counts slowly and then exhale for 8 counts. As you inhale feel your chest slightly expand, hold your breath for a moment and then exhale. Feel your chest fall as you exhale, notice your shoulders become a bit heavier and pay attention to how your body starts to feel heavier. Repeat this 2-3x. Allow your body to respond to your intentional breathing.

#3 Picture yourself outside sitting beside a moving stream.

Look up and notice the blue of the sky. Picture the clouds floating by, see a bird fly past the cloud. Feel the grass around you and watch the water of the stream move slowly past you.

#4 Place your thoughts one by one on floating leaves.

As you watch the water move, see a leaf floating downstream. As the leaf passes by you take one of your anxious thoughts and place it on the leaf and watch it float away. Once the leaf has floated out of view, picture another one coming and do the same thing. Place your thought on the leaf and watch it go downstream. One by one, empty your mind of all of your anxious thoughts until you have watched all of them float downstream.

This technique will allow you to free yourself from being overtaken by anxious thoughts. It allows you to unburden your mind and to go back to a more peaceful baseline. As you come back to reality, open your eyes and return to the present I hope you will feel a bit more in control. Taking some time to slow down and breathe, often allows us to have a different perspective and, feel as if we can face the day with more power.

To watch a video and learn more about this technique click here.

Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern

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