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  • Vincent Mendes

Relaxation Rainbow

We've been talking about different relaxation techniques, or stress and anxiety reduction techniques, and I learned this from an absolutely brilliant mentor of mine, Dr. Wally Schmitt. This is called Relaxation Rainbow because it has you think over the colors of the rainbow. It is very interesting because apparently, the areas of our brain that think about the colors line up the way the colors line up in a prism, or in a rainbow. Do you remember ROYBGIV? That's Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet (and honestly, blue, indigo, and violet are all so similar I usually just smoosh those together and go from blue straight to violet). The areas of the brain that think about those colors line up and if you think about those colors one at a time it makes your brain calm down because you are going from one area of the brain to another.

This technique can be used in a couple of different ways. You can think of each color as a step that you are standing on, and go to the next one and the next one. You can think in terms of stepping into a pool of water that is entirely that color and visualize that the whole world turns that color when you get there. I have to admit that I am pretty poor at visualizing. Mentally it's hard for me to draw up a picture, especially if I am stressed! If I am feeling anxious my brain is even less willing to calm down and visualize something, so I can sometimes just think of the word or the name of that color. You can also try thinking of an object that is the color. If I am thinking about red I may be visualizing a child's red sand pail on a beach. Whatever works for you! When I use this technique the most it's when I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain is racing and I need to fall back to sleep.

Take a moment now and think of these colors to help your brain kind of calm down and go in successive order one color after another it may work as a falling asleep technique or it may work as just a chilling out technique.








Then you can go back over and start again as many times as you want. For me, oftentimes at 2 in the morning if I've woken up and I can't go back to sleep I just go through the list of colors like that and I'm asleep by the time I hit green. If it doesn't work for you it won't cost anything and won't hurt anything and anything that is free and harmless I think is worth trying.

If you are having severe anxiety or depression you'll probably need more help than that and you should reach out for help. If you have thought about harming yourself you should reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Hotline or to a counselor.

I wish you the best!

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