Simple Sensori-Motor Strategies To Reduce Anxiety, Nervousness And Negative Thoughts

Simple Sensori-Motor Strategies To Reduce Anxiety, Nervousness And Negative Thoughts

"Sensori-motor" just refers to how we sense things (so touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste) and how we move and do things (muscles). Eg. sensori-motor can be the process of unwrapping a lolly, putting an earring in, doing up a zip or floating in the ocean.. Anything where we combine the sense of touch with doing something with our hands and/or fingers.


These strategies are all about combining that sense of touch with holding or manipulating something with our hands in order to direct our mind away from any chaotic unhelpful thoughts and focus on something positive and pro-active. The good thing about this style of strategy is that:-

1. you can do it without making a big fuss or even being noticed usually

2. it seems to work at a level which doesn't impose on your ability to still remain aware of what is going on around you (so it is not meditation!) so it's useful for in school, or boardroom, or in public, amongst friends,  or at the family dinner table even.


Simply put - these strategies are about what you can fidget with AS SOON AS you get negative, anxious or "on edge". There is absolutely no right or wrong way to do any of these! They are suggestions, NOT instructions, and are just ideas to try to see if you can come up with something that suits you as an individual. So take these ideas and get creative.



This is easy if you wear any sort of jewellry or watch etc. Without appearing to lose focus on what you are supposed to be listening to or watching you can take your earrings out and swap ears, change your watch from one wrist to the other, change fingers for rings, do up shoelace, check your tie, fold up or down your shirt sleeves and rebutton, clean your glasses. 



Most of these you can take in your pocket and you can "use" in your pocket just by sticking your hand in. Just something that when you touch it, hold it, play with it, manipulate it, move it reminds you to breathe slow and be calm.


Keep some paperclips in your pocket, different shapes or sizes is good so you can focus on having to "feel" the shape or size in order to connect a set pattern or sequence of paperclips. 



Get arty or crafty and plait some different textured ribbons into a piece for your pocket and try to pick the different textures just be feeling them. Or have something like I have made from some cheap twine, a paper clip and some alphabet beads and limited macrame skills. I have spelt C A L M with the beads and you can use the little mantra:

"Breathe in,

Breathe long,

Breathe out,

Be strong "

as you touch each C A L M bead.


Lego blocks are pretty good too for keeping in your pocket. Have different sizes loose in your pocket, and when you need to, start putting them together (one-handed if you can) in a pattern eg short long short long.

Other things you may like to try using is dice, bobby pins, pen lids, lip balm, a domino piece or a necklace chain.

This isn't a complete list at all, just some basic ideas. Give it a try, and come up with some of your own. If you find something else that works for you, let me know and I can share it on here so it can help others too!


Love and light,
Sjana x