Havening Techniques: A Beginner’s Guide to Reducing Anxiety

Are you struggling with anxiety and distress? Discover the power of Havening Techniques, a proven method to reduce these overwhelming emotions. In this blog post, we will explore what Havening Techniques are and how they can help you find relief from anxiety and distress. Learn the steps to practice Havening Techniques effectively and access additional resources for support on your journey towards better mental well-being. Let's dive in!

What are Havening Techniques?

Havening techniques are a type of therapy that can effectively reduce stress and anxiety. By combining elements of touch and visualization, these techniques help individuals release negative emotions and achieve a state of calm. The gentle touch used in havening triggers the production of delta waves in the brain, promoting relaxation and reducing distress. This innovative approach has shown promising results in helping people overcome traumatic experiences and improve overall well-being.

Definition and Background

Introduction to havening techniques: Havening techniques are a form of therapy that can reduce stress and anxiety by utilizing sensory touch. By tapping into the power of touch, these techniques aim to rewire the brain's response to distressing memories or emotions.

Havening techniques use the power of sensory touch to rewire the brain's response to distressing memories, reducing stress and anxiety.

Explaining the concept of sensory touch: Sensory touch refers to physical contact with specific areas of the body, such as gently stroking the arms or face. This type of touch triggers a relaxation response in the nervous system, helping individuals feel calm and safe.

History and origins of havening techniques: Developed by neuroscientist Dr. Ronald Ruden in collaboration with his brother, Dr. Steven Ruden, havening techniques draw inspiration from various therapeutic approaches like psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The technique was first introduced in 2013 and has since gained recognition for its effectiveness in addressing trauma-related symptoms.

How Havening Techniques Work

Overview of the neuroscience behind havening techniques: Havening techniques are a form of therapy that utilize touch to promote healing and reduce stress. The underlying science involves the activation of delta waves in the brain, which are associated with deep relaxation and emotional processing.

Explanation of how sensory touch activates delta waves in the brain: When specific areas of our body are gently touched during havening techniques, it triggers a cascade of neural activity. This stimulation leads to increased production of delta waves, promoting a state of calmness and allowing for emotional release.

Step-by-step process for practicing havening techniques: To practice havening techniques, start by identifying an issue or stressful situation you wish to address. Then, begin stroking your arms from shoulders to elbows while focusing on that issue. Gradually transition to rubbing your hands together briskly before placing them over your eyes and taking deep breaths. Repeat this process multiple times until you feel a sense of relief and resolution.

Benefits of Havening Techniques

Reduction in anxiety symptoms is a key benefit of Havening Techniques. Through the use of self-soothing tactile movements, individuals can effectively manage their stress and find relief from overwhelming feelings. Additionally, practicing Havening Techniques enhances emotional resilience and equips individuals with valuable stress management skills that they can apply in various aspects of life. As a result, overall well-being and quality of life improve significantly.

  • Reduction in anxiety symptoms through self-soothing tactile movements
  • Enhanced emotional resilience and stress management skills
  • Improvement in overall well-being and quality of life

Understanding Anxiety and Distress

Anxiety can be caused by various factors, such as genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences, or chronic stress. Common symptoms of anxiety include excessive worrying, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and physical manifestations like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. By implementing havening techniques, individuals can effectively reduce anxiety levels.

Distress has a significant impact on mental health. It can lead to feelings of sadness or hopelessness, impaired concentration and decision-making abilities, and even physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches. Recognizing the detrimental effects of distress is crucial in addressing mental health concerns proactively.

Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety

Biological factors, such as imbalances in brain chemicals and hormones, can contribute to the development of anxiety. Environmental stressors, such as traumatic events or chronic pressure, also play a significant role. Additionally, individuals with a genetic predisposition may be more susceptible to experiencing anxiety symptoms. Understanding these causes is crucial for effective treatment and management of anxiety disorders.

The Impact of Distress on Mental Health

Increased risk of depression: Distress has been found to significantly increase the risk of developing depression. The constant state of emotional turmoil and stress can overwhelm individuals, making it difficult for them to cope with daily life and maintain a positive outlook.

Impaired cognitive function: Prolonged distress can have a detrimental effect on cognitive function. It can impair memory, attention, and decision-making abilities, hindering individuals from effectively problem-solving or engaging in tasks that require mental focus.

Negative impact on relationships: Distress often leads to strained relationships as individuals may become socially withdrawn or exhibit negative behaviors towards others. This can create misunderstandings, conflicts, and feelings of isolation among family members, friends, or colleagues.

  • Emotionally overwhelmed
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Memory lapses
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased arguments/conflicts

The Role of Havening Techniques in Reducing Anxiety and Distress

Havening techniques, rooted in neuroscience, offer a promising approach to alleviating anxiety and distress. By utilizing gentle touch and distraction techniques, havening can help individuals rewire their brain's response to traumatic memories or triggers. Numerous case studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of havening for reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting emotional healing. With its scientific basis and proven success stories, havening techniques have the potential to provide much-needed relief for those struggling with anxiety and distress.

Scientific Basis of Havening Techniques

Neuroscience reveals that havening techniques play a crucial role in regulating brain activity. By engaging specific touch and eye movements, havening triggers the release of delta waves, promoting deep relaxation and reducing anxiety. Moreover, research highlights the connection between havening techniques and the amygdala, a key brain structure involved in processing emotions. Havening helps to soothe an overactive amygdala, leading to decreased fear response and improved emotional well-being. Furthermore, havening assists in rewiring neural pathways associated with anxiety by facilitating neuroplasticity—the brain's ability to form new connections and reorganize itself based on experience—which can lead to lasting relief from distressful symptoms.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Real-life examples of individuals who have successfully used havening techniques to reduce anxiety include Sarah, a young professional struggling with social anxiety. Through regular havening sessions, she was able to overcome her fear of public speaking and confidently deliver presentations at work. Another success story is Mark, a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Havening helped him process traumatic memories and significantly reduce his anxiety levels.

Specific situations where havening has shown significant results are in managing phobias such as fear of flying or heights. Clients who underwent havening reported feeling calm and composed during airplane journeys or when facing heights that previously triggered intense panic attacks.

Testimonials from clients who have experienced positive outcomes through havening highlight the transformative power of this technique. One client expressed how they were finally able to sleep peacefully after years of insomnia caused by chronic worry and anxiety. Another shared how havening allowed them to let go of past traumas and experience greater emotional resilience in their daily lives.

  • Sarah conquered her fear of public speaking
  • Mark reduced his PTSD-related anxiety
  • Havening effectively manages phobias like fear of flying or heights.
  • Clients experienced peaceful sleep after persistent insomnia due to chronic worry.
  • Letting go past traumas led to emotional resilience in daily life.

How to Practice Havening Techniques


1. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus on your practice without distractions.

2. Begin by bringing awareness to the specific issue or feeling that you want to address with havening techniques. Allow yourself to fully experience it without judgment or resistance.

3. Use gentle touch, such as stroking your arms, face, or hands in a slow and repetitive motion while focusing on the distressing memory or thought.

4. As you continue the physical touch, engage in positive self-talk and affirmations to shift your mindset towards feelings of safety and calmness.

5. Gradually decrease the intensity of the physical touch while maintaining a state of relaxation and mental well-being.

Tips for Effective Havening:

1. Consistency is key: Set aside dedicated time each day for practicing havening techniques to allow them to become ingrained habits.

2. Customize your approach: Experiment with different variations of havening techniques (e.g., eye movement havening) until you find what works best for you.

3. Seek professional guidance: Consider working with a certified therapist who specializes in using havenin

Step-by-Step Guide to Havening

Understanding the Science Behind Havening: Havening techniques are based on the science of neuroplasticity and memory reconsolidation. By stimulating specific areas of the brain through touch, distraction, and visualization, these techniques help to disrupt the encoding of distressing memories and reduce their emotional impact.

Preparing Yourself for Havening Sessions: Before starting a havening session, it is important to create a safe and comfortable environment. Find a quiet space where you can relax without interruptions. Take a few moments to center yourself and set your intention for the session. It may also be helpful to have some water nearby in case you feel thirsty during or after havening.

Identifying Your Triggers and Distressing Memories: To effectively use havening techniques, it is crucial to identify your triggers and distressing memories that contribute to anxiety or other negative emotions. Reflect on situations or experiences that consistently evoke strong reactions in you. These could be past traumas, phobias, or even current stressors in your life. The more specific you can be about these triggers, the better equipped you will be to address them with havening techniques.

Tips and Considerations for Effective Havening

Creating a safe and comfortable space for practice is essential in effective havening. Find a quiet room where you can relax without distractions, and make sure the temperature and lighting are conducive to relaxation. Use pillows or blankets for added comfort, and consider playing soft music or using aromatherapy to enhance the calming atmosphere.

Practicing proper breathing techniques during havening can greatly enhance its effectiveness. Focus on slow, deep breaths that fill your abdomen rather than shallow chest breaths. Inhale through your nose, hold for a moment, then exhale slowly through your mouth. This rhythmic breathing will help regulate your nervous system and promote deeper relaxation.

Seeking professional help when necessary is important in achieving optimal results with havening techniques. A trained therapist can guide you through the process, provide valuable insights into your specific needs, and offer support as you work toward healing and emotional well-being. They have expertise in tailoring havening sessions to address individual concerns effectively

Additional Resources and Support

If you're looking to explore more about havening techniques, there are a variety of books and websites available that provide in-depth information on the topic. These resources can give you a deeper understanding of how havening works and offer practical tips for incorporating it into your daily routine.

When seeking professional support, finding certified havening practitioners is essential. These individuals have undergone specialized training to ensure they possess the knowledge and expertise needed to guide you through the process effectively. Working with a certified practitioner can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs, maximizing the benefits of havening techniques in reducing anxiety and distress.


In conclusion, the science behind Havening Techniques offers a promising approach to reducing anxiety and distress. By utilizing specific touch and visualization techniques, these methods have been shown to activate the brain's natural healing processes. The benefits of using Havening Techniques for anxiety and distress are evident in their ability to alleviate symptoms without reliance on medication or invasive procedures. Incorporating Havening Techniques into your everyday life can be achieved through regular practice and integration into daily routines, allowing for an accessible and empowering self-care tool.

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Chris has extensive experience in helping men and women overcome the symptoms of Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD and so much more. You are not alone; help is available.