Visual Bilateral Stimulation

Introduction

Welcome to this module about the visual bilateral stimulation exercise. Visual bilateral stimulation involves engaging both sides of your brain by following a moving object back and forth across your visual field.

This technique is similar to one used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. EMDR is a therapy method used for processing trauma, and one of the techniques used involves following a moving object with your eyes whilst recalling distressing memories to be able to process them. It’s important to note that EMDR should only be done together with a professional therapist who can guide you safely through the process.

Today, we’ll be using a simplified version of this technique to help you regulate your emotions and find a sense of calm. Let’s begin by explaining how this exercise works and then we will practice it together.

Instruction

This exercise is best done together with the video below. If you however want to try this without a screen, you can replace the circle by holding out your hand stretched out in front of you and holding one finger up that you will be moving from left to right and back at your desired speed.

Step 1: Prepare Your Space

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Ensure you can see your screen clearly from where you are sitting.

 

Step 2: Set Your Intention

  1. Take a moment to set a positive intention for your practice.
  2. Think of something like, “I am here to find calm,” or “I am taking this time to relax.”

 

Step 3: Begin the Exercise

  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Focus your eyes on the screen where the circle will appear.
  3. Keep your head still and only move your eyes to follow the circle.

 

Step 4: Follow the Circle

  1. As the circle begins to move from one side of the screen to the other, follow it with your eyes.
  2. Breathe deeply and slowly: inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  3. Keep your focus on the circle and your breathing.

 

Step 5: Maintain Your Focus

  1. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to the circle.
  2. Continue to breathe deeply and follow the circle with your eyes.

 

Step 6: Reflect on Your Experience

    1. After a few minutes, stop following the circle and close your eyes.
    2. Take a moment to notice how you feel. You might feel more relaxed, calm, or centered.

Tips

Here are some tips to make this exercise even more effective:

  1. Consistency: Practice this exercise regularly, even when you’re not feeling stressed. This helps train your brain to use this technique more effectively when you need it.
  2. Post-Practice Reflection: After completing the exercise, take a few moments to journal about your experience. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process and deepen the benefits of the exercise.
  3. Gradual Lengthening: Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the length of time you practice. This allows you to build up your focus and tolerance for the exercise.
  4. Be Patient & Kind: It might take some time to notice significant changes. Be patient with yourself and the process. Also make sure to be kind with yourself. Learning new skills can be difficult at first and no technique can work instantly.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If you feel it would be helpful to get additional support processing your feelings and thoughts, please seek professional help to support you with this.

If you enjoyed this practice and would like to have a copy in the form of a worksheet. Please feel free to download it by pressing the download button.

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