The Scottish Mail on Sunday

The mental trick that eases stress and sadness


CREATED by American doctor Ronald Ruden, the Havening sequence uses patterns of repeated touch combined with specific eye movements and visualisat­ions to relieve sadness and reduce stress, trauma and psychologi­cal blocks. Scientific studies have shown that it is amazingly effective – even if we don’t know what the block is. I recommend doing this exercise daily for 21 days. It has helped me, and countless people I know, improve their relationsh­ips immeasurab­ly. 1. Pay attention to the discomfort or the block you wish to remove and notice what it looks like in your imaginatio­n. Now, rate its strength on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most powerful and 1 is the smallest.

2. Clear your mind, or just think about something nice.

3. Cross your arms, place your hands on the tops of your shoulders and close your eyes.

4. Stroke your hands down the sides of your arms from your shoulders to your elbows, down and up, again and again.

5. Carry on stroking and imagine you are walking on a beautiful beach. With each footstep in the sand, count out loud from 1 to 20.

6. Keep your head still while you keep stroking your arms and move your eyes to the left and right 20 times.

7. Still stroking the sides of your arms, imagine walking down a flight of 20 stairs. Count out loud with each footstep.

8. Open your eyes and check, on your scale from

1 to 10, the number of the feeling of sadness, stress or trauma now.

Repeat the Havening sequence until it is reduced as far as you want.

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