Leaves on a Stream is the second most utilized tool I use at home. This was the first tool my therapist taught me the very first day I saw her. This exercise has been helpful if I have a lot of thoughts going through my head at a fast pace or if I am in a crowded space such as a restaurant. This tool is a great way to slow those thoughts down, process and release them in an effective way.
To begin, find a quiet spot to relax. If you are unable to find a quiet spot you can use headphones or earplugs to drown out the background noise. Imagine a stream in the woods (finding music that matches helps.) Spend a good amount of time imagining the stream and the forest surrounding it. The weather, the fall leaves, the location, the rocks in the stream, whatever you come up with as long as it is relaxing. Get a good feeling of being there.
Now you are going to imagine leaves going down the stream. They travel from upstream heading downstream at a steady speed from right to left. Are there a lot, a little? Take each thought that crosses your mind and place it on a leave on the stream. Each one of your thoughts gets placed on a leaf. You begin to watch your thoughts go from left to right in a steady speed. Watch these thoughts come and go. If one is hard to let go and wants to linger go ahead and pick it up. Examine it, acknowledge it then place it down to let it continue it’s journey down the stream. Do this however long you feel necessary.
If you need more help to visualize this exercise there are many videos on http://www.Youtube.com
Let me know if you have done this exercise before or you just tried it for the first time? What did your stream look like? Did this exercise help you? Any deviations you think would be helpful?