Hands Up, Hands Down

Put your hands in your lap. Ask God for his loving presence, and then lift up your hands and turn them palms down saying something like “I release anxiety.” Now turn your palms up and say “I receive peace.” You can repeat this with these same emotions or different ones as often as you need until you are calm, or at least calmer than when you started! Name whatever negative emotions you want to release, picture these emotions flowing down from your down-turned palms and disappearing in mid-air, then picture the positive emotions flowing down from God, settling in your palms, and moving through your body.

Breath In, Breath Out

This exercise is similar to Hands Up, Hands Down, except you do it with deep breathing. Say, “I breathe out fear,” as you breathe out, and “I breathe in love” as you take a deep breath. Picture the positive emotions filling your body as does the fresh air.

If your deep breathing threatens to put you to sleep (it happens!) you may also do a series of chest breaths to energize your body and mind. To do these, take five deep breaths from the top of your chest, sucking in air and breathing it out with a deep sigh.

As you breathe, center and focus your thoughts. It may help to have a visual focus such as a candle or a picture. I use pictures of beautiful landscapes because I feel especially close to God in nature, but it can be anything that touches your heart and makes you feel closer to God.


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  1. Pingback: Soulbridge Retreats » Personal Retreat: Walking on Water

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