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  • Writer's pictureLili Gregory, LCSW

Somatic (Body-Centered) Activities to Manage Your Mental Health

by Lili Gregory, M.S.W.


Focusing on how your body responds to emotional distress will help you feel better equipped to navigate your interpersonal relationships and stress levels more effectively. When we feel flooded and bogged down by intense feelings, the body either tells us to flee the situation, to fight, or to freeze. Through practicing somatic interventions, you can learn to respond to bodily cues with pause, curiosity, and nonjudgement. These somatic (aka body-centered healing) interventions below are some of my favorite ways to help my patients learn this skill.

1. BOX BREATHING: focused attention on breathing in order to come back to baseline by inhaling for 4 seconds, hold breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold breath for 4 seconds….repeat until your body feels more calm.

2. BODY SCANNING: pausing and noticing what sensations you feel in the body from your head down to your feet while breathing deeply. Through this practice, you take the time to notice the various sensations in your body and you try not to push away the feeling that it creates or change the sensation; but rather, just notice that it is there. This creates the practice of mindfulness and being present.

3. LOCALIZED BODY APPRECIATION - practicing communicating to parts of your body where you might feel shame, insecurity, or resentment. While breathing deeply, you can offer gratitude to the specific area in order to help you navigate tough moments with this particular part of your body with more grace and compassion.

We use our bodies to get our needs met everyday. However, when we feel hungry, tired, in need of affection, feel rejected or abandoned, we are not equipped to receive information from others nor to offer support in return. I engage in body work during therapy sessions, because oftentimes our environments may not be set up in a way that allows us to feel safe to ask for our needs. When we can listen better to our bodily cues, we can ask for what we need more effectively.

Start your journey to reconnecting to your body by scheduling your free consultation with us.

Lili Gregory, LCSW Somatic therapist for inner child healing

Lili Gregory, M.S.W is a Licensed Therapist at TOC Therapy. She works with folks who feel overwhelmed, insecure, and who are struggling to get out of unhealthy cycles of coping. She helps her patients better understand their emotions through the sensations they feel in their body and learning to trust themselves. Lili offers individual therapy in-person in Pasadena, CA and online throughout California. Lili is able to accept insurance and offers a sliding scale. Schedule your free consultation with her here.


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