Somatic resourcing involves focussing on things or performing exercises that invoke positive emotions and feelings to signal safety to our nervous system. They help calm our whole body and mind to provide relief when experiencing uncomfortable symptoms and emotions and feeling overwhelmed during difficult moments and events. Below is a 5 step process for creating a list of resources.
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- What is somatic resourcing?
- 2 types of somatic resources
- 5 steps to develop somatic resources
- Video guide
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What is somatic resourcing?
Somatic exercises strengthen the mind body connection. They’re based on the principle that how our body feels physically affects our mind, the emotions we feel and how we think.
Somatic resources are anything that makes us feel good, safe and secure and communicate safety to our nervous system (1). They help calm our whole body and mind to provide relief when experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, sensations and emotions and feeling overwhelmed (1). Developing a range of somatic resources is recommended before beginning bottom up brain retraining exercises like somatic experiencing, EDMR and Faster EFT and thinking, talking about and addressing uncomfortable emotions, situations and events that we experience in life to heal trauma and emotional wounds (2). If we find the symptoms and bodily sensations too uncomfortable or become overwhelmed talking about or reliving difficult experiences, we have these resources we can bring our awareness to to allow us to return to a calm and relaxed state to provide relief (2).
2 Types Of Somatic Resources
There are 2 types of resources (1):-
- Internal – things within us that create a positive change in how we feel – a body part, gesture, self soothing touch, movement or breathing exercise.
- External – anything outside of us, in the environment we’re surrounded by, or a person, place or thing that makes us feel good. This can be real life or imaginary.
5 Steps To Develop Resources & Maximise The Benefit Of Them
1). Create a list of resources covering each category
It’s recommended to have a range of internal and external resources that have a positive effect, so we have different options available to help during various situations. Some examples for each type are listed in the table below.
|Body part that feels relaxed||Flowers|
|Grounding – the feeling of your feet on the ground||Photo of a happy memory|
|Feeling of your legs resting against the chair||Painting/piece of artwork|
|Slow deep breathing||Sound of the breeze|
|Self hug||Your favourite song playing|
|Visualisation||Your best friend or family member|
|Place your hand on your heart||Park|
|Gently swaying from side to side||Day at the beach|
|Applying pressure to acupressure points||Piece of jewellery|
2). Describe it thoroughly
For each chosen resource, focus all your attention on it. For external resources, describe them in as much detail as possible, engaging as many of your 5 senses as possible, describing what you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste). The more of our 5 senses we engage the greater the positive effect and stronger positive emotions like happiness, calmness and peace will be felt (3). When focussing on a person, place or thing, consider the following questions:-
- Thing. What makes this thing special to you? Does it have any special memories connected with it? Does it remind you of anyone important to you? What do you love most about it?
- Person. What do you value most about them and your relationship with them? What are the happiest memories you have with them? Relive them.
- Place. What makes this place special to you? Describe it in as much detail as possible. What can you see, hear, touch, smell and taste? What are your happiest memories there? Relive them.
Then observe the specific emotions each internal and external resource produces and the positive effect it has on how your body feels physically, observing any sensations that arise and the specific location of them (eg. how it affects your breathing rate, heart rate, muscle tension, the feeling in your chest and stomach and overall calmness).
|Happiness||Slower heart rate|
|Joy||Settling of the stomach|
|Calm||Release and openness across chest|
|Gratitude||Deeper slower breathing|
|Peace||Relaxation of muscles|
|Love||Whole body feels energised and lighter|
|Contentment||Shoulder drop and relax|
|Relaxed||Softening of head and neck muscles|
Examples of Resources
Internal Resource 1
- Place in the body – relaxation across upper back.
- Emotions produced – feel calmer and less anxious.
- Physical sensations – easing and release of muscle tension in neck and chest and slower heart rate.
Internal Resource 2
- Self hug.
- Emotions produced – safe, protected and love.
- Physical sensations – deeper breathing and settling and lighter feeling across the chest.
Internal Resource 3
- Applying pressure to vagus nerve acupressure points.
- Emotions produced – calm and grounded.
- Physical sensations – stillness across whole body and slowing of heart and breathing rate.
Related Post: Vagus Nerve Acupressure Points
- Eiffel tower ornament from a trip to Paris.
- Emotions produced – joy, fulfilment, amusement.
- Physical sensations – whole body feels energised.
- Emotions produced – love, safe, secure and happy.
- Physical sensations – warmth in heart and chest and a relaxation and settling in the stomach.
- Park. Relive the sound of birds tweeting, the feel of the sun and breeze on your face, take in the texture and colours of the different plants and flowers you’re surrounded by, the feeling of your feet walking along the grass and the taste of food as you enjoy a picnic with friends.
- Emotions produced – happy, relaxed, calm and gratitude.
- Physical sensations – calmness across the whole body, neck and shoulders drop and relax and breathing becomes slower and deeper.
3). Bilateral Stimulation
Use bilateral stimulation to install and strengthen the resource in our system so we can access it more easily and return to it when needed (4). To perform, focus on your chosen resource and the emotions and physical sensations it produces in the body. While focussing on it, perform 1 of the 4 bilateral stimulation exercises below for 30 seconds:-
- Cross your hands and alternately tap your left and right shoulders with your hands in a slow rhythm.
- Alternately tap your feet on the ground in a slow rhythm.
- Alternately tap your left and right thighs in a slow rhythm with your hands.
- Hold your finger or object at eye level and move it from left to right, following it with your eyes while keeping your head facing forwards.
4). Connect To Resources Frequently Throughout The Day
We’re often told to connect to resources when we’re struggling with heightened symptoms and emotions. However, to maximise the effectiveness of them, connect to your resources regularly throughout the day, regardless of how you feel. Doing this consistently trains your brain to automatically notice these things, which makes it easier to focus on them and invoke positive sensations to calm the body and mind when feeling overwhelmed to provide relief from uncomfortable sensations, symptoms and emotions when they occur.
Examples of how to incorporate it into your daily routine include:-
- When laying in bed focus on a part of your body that feels relaxed and calm.
- When making meals, focus on the colours, textures and smell of the food you’re preparing.
- When out for a walk, focus on the warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of birds, the colours and shape of the branches and leaves of trees.
- When waiting for the kettle to boil, gently sway from side to side.
- When having a drink relive a happy memory with a loved one.
- When watching the tv, give yourself a hug.
5). Use resources when needed when experiencing difficult symptoms, emotions & stressful events
Now you have a list of resources that you can revisit and draw upon to ground you, bring the nervous system back into balance and calm the body and mind when experiencing uncomfortable symptoms and emotions like anxiety, stress and overwhelm, and during difficult and stressful moments.
Resources can also be integrated into other somatic exercises by, for example:-
- Finishing a somatic tracking exercise by focussing on our resources or
- Performing somatic pendulation, alternating back and forth between focussing on an uncomfortable symptom or event and a more comfortable and positive resource.
It’s an effective nervous system reset tool as it regulates our nervous system by teaching it that it can experience uncomfortable symptoms and stressful events and then return to a calm and relaxed state. It also allows the body to fully express itself to release tension and trauma stored in the body and the emotions that accompany them.
Related Post: Nervous System Reset (10 Easy Ways)
Below is a video guide taking you through the 5 steps to create internal and external resources.
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