What is 'ventral bookending' and how could it help you unwind?
In this day and age it can be hard to have some quality down-time.
A lot of us work from home and it’s hard to leave the laptop at the end of a stressful day and not check the emails that ping in.
So how to you separate the stressful parts of your day from the parts that are meant to relax you?
Ventral bookending could be your answer. But what is it, you ask?
It refers to ‘bookending’ (starting and finishing) an activity that is stressful or emotionally challenging with a calming, reset action.
The key to what is being called ‘ventral bookending’ lies in understanding that the purpose is to ‘down-regulate’ one’s emotional state.
The activity chosen can be anything that helps you focus on your surroundings and breath.
How does it work?
Psychologist Gemma Harris said: ‘Essentially, these techniques are brain hacks designed to switch us from “fight or flight” to “rest and reset”.
‘We know that being in threat mode (fight or flight) for extended periods is hard on us physically and emotionally, and by building in these resets into our day, we benefit biochemically and train our brains and bodies to be able to switch out of aroused states.
‘This is the basis of meditation, mindfulness and self soothing.
‘It’s important that the relaxation or soothing of choice doesn’t have to be something expensive or significant like a massage or a meditation retreat.
‘The idea of these mini resets is that you can often do them by just visualising yourself in a calming, soothing place or simple breath techniques.
‘Other hacks that are shown to reset our nervous system include getting out for some ‘green time’ in nature and exercise.’
How do you do it?
Instagrammer Lachrista Greco spoke about how she practices ventral bookending.
‘So, for me, going to work is hard some days. So I try to have a slow morning, that’s the first part,’ she said on her Instagram.
‘Then go to work. Come home. I get in bed with my weighted blanket over me and my eye mask and I just sort of rest and lay there for 30 to 45 minutes every day after work and just breathe.’
But, what do the experts say?
Mark Vahrmeyer, psychotherapist and co-founder of Brighton & Hove Psychotherapy, said: ‘I would suggest that it is a form of mindful self care and by ensuring that it is incorporated as a practice either side of a stressor, it can help regulate emotions.
‘It is not really a new concept and is one that many of us probably practice without even thinking about it.
‘For example, someone who is good at self care may choose to take a walk in nature or even just spend a few minutes taking some deep calming breaths before a difficult meeting.
‘And after the meeting they may come back to a calm state of mind through enjoying some yoga or a piece of music to decompress.’
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