Next time you feel scared, try this. 

(by Sarah Murphy, LPC)   One of the simplest ways to reestablish feelings of safety is to reconnect with your body and come to rest in the present moment. Here’s one easy way to do that. Apply gentle but firm pressure to your arms and upper torso using Simplified Self-Havening. This simple body-based technique helps your body become calm and centered. Practice the technique right now by watching the video below and following along. You can also download written instructions in EnglishSpanish, and Portuguese. You can use this technique any time you feel scared and want to re-establish a sense of safety.

How it Works

It is exceptionally simple to do! Cross your arms over your chest with your hands on your shoulders. Using firm but gentle pressure, draw your hands down your arms to your elbows. While you do this, hum a little tune. 

Why It Works

Simple self-havening helps bring us back into the body and into the moment. The gentle pressure on the chest area activates the parasympathetic, relaxing part of our nervous system. By crossing our arms, we are causing brain activity across both hemispheres, which helps us feel more grounded. 

This technique is also helpful if you feel numb or disconnected, or just need some self-soothing. Havening was developed as a trauma technique by neuroscientist Ronald Ruden. You can read more about it at

If you haven’t tried Simplified Self-Havening yet, do it now. Notice how your body feels both before and after you use the technique. This technique is just one of many you can use to feel calm and safe. 

More Techniques to Feel Better Fast

If you found Simplified Self-Havening helpful, here are a few more tools you can use next time you feel scared or anxious: Calming Hug, the Soothing Butterfly Hug, and Calm Breathing. All of the videos and techniques in our “Try This” series were created by ACEP’s Humanitarian Committee in order to help people heal by spreading the word about the powerful effects of energy psychology techniques. We invite you to help by sharing this information!

Need Help from a Professional?

Many people are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Body-based techniques like Simplified Self-Havening can help with issues like anxiety and trauma. ACEP is a nonprofit, 501c3 dedicated to the research, education, and sharing of energy psychology.  Check out the ACEP practitioner directory to find a certified ACEP therapist in your area or online.

Author: Sarah Murphy, LPC

Sarah Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and coach with more than 12 years of clinical experience. She is Communications Committee Chair for ACEP and staff therapist for Unite for HER. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and hypnotherapy. Learn more at

Video Resources Provided by the ACEP Humanitarian Committee

The mission of the ACEP Humanitarian Committee is to develop and implement humanitarian projects that alleviate emotional distress caused by catastrophic natural and man-made events around the globe. We do this by encouraging and assisting ACEP members in developing humanitarian projects that utilize recognized energy psychology and other modalities that meet ACEP’s standards and guidelines. Learn more here.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

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