Freeze-frame Technique
for self-soothing

A Practical Tool for Staying Calm

Freeze-frame Technique
by: Ari Novick, Ph.D.

The Institute of HeartMath has developed an excellent exercise called freeze-frame technique which is ideal for self-soothing during your retreat time. The best part is while it only takes a couple of minutes to do it, the results can be quite astounding.

The technique is based on the idea that, like movies, our conscious life is made up of up of a series of incidents - or frames- strung together over time. When flooded and overwhelmed, it helps to stop the movie--or freeze just one frame. This frame can be the conflict you had with your partner before leaving to regroup and marshal your emotional resources.

Once you freeze this frame in your mind (you can close your eyes, or not, depending on what makes you feel comfortable), put your hand on your heart and pretend your heart is "breathing" as you inhale and exhale. Make a sincere effort to shift your focus away from your racing mind or disturbed emotions to the area around your heart.

As you relax and calm down, try recalling the feeling of a positive time or experience you've had in your life-or a good or fun time you have had.

Now, using your intuition, common sense and sincerity ask your heart what would be a better response to the situation, one that would repair the damage to your relationship. Then, listen to what your heart answers to your question.

minute of anger

Don't worry if you have trouble recalling that positive time or experience - the freeze-frame technique will help you even if you just feel neutral - instead of positive- during this step. Believe it or not, recent scientific research is showing that the heart (and also your gut) actually may be able to do some of what your brain does in terms of giving you answers; it may be that your heart actually can function like a little satellite of the brain - and hence may be able to give you some answers - just like your brain does.

The AJ Novick Group is a leading provider of Anger Management training, classes, workplace programs and products. Dr. Novick is an expert in the field of Anger Management and has written numerous articles for magazines and Internet sites. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He is the co-author of “Anger Management for the Twenty-first Century”, a newly developed model for Anger Management intervention. For more information on Ari Novick, Ph.D., or the AJ Novick Group please visit or email

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