Visual template: Self Soothing System

Visual template: Self Soothing System

Originally shared via newsletter 18.03.20

And here we are. To begin please know you are in my thoughts. At no other time has a sense of community meant so much. I am grateful to you for being here and I hope you and yours are safe and well. I will continue to keep in touch over the coming weeks and months and who knows, I may even start sending emails with some kind of regularity 🙂

Today I want to share with you a visual template I have designed to help us come to terms with and manage the wave of feelings we are all experiencing right now. I don’t know about you but in times of stress I often go into ‘Doing’ mode. I fight stress with action. What I’ve been recognising though is the importance of making those action plans from a grounded, calmer place.

Introducing the Self Soothing System

When we feel stress or anxiety we often feel it in certain areas of the body. For me the first place I feel it is in my gut and then I get this sense of disconnection in my feet like I’m not fully grounded. My jaw tenses up as do my hands. I decided to use this image of the body as an acknowledgment of that sensory experience of stress and anxiety. Our aim here is to soften the intensity of those feelings and arrive at a calmer, more grounded place.


Print out the template or copy it out on paper. Beside each ‘wound mark’ note down a particular concern or worry for you right now. One concern for each wound. Let’s get those negative, stressy anxious thoughts down on paper.

Next, take each one in turn and consider what ‘ointment’ you can place on the wound to bring a sense of healing. How can you take the sting out of this worry or concern? What would a friend say to bring softness to this area?

This is not about ‘wishing the worry away’ or putting on some kind of plaster to mask the pain; this is just about viewing each concern from a compassionate, caring, positive perspective.

It is about self soothing and tapping into our innate wisdom. I’ve shared mine here by way of example.

I hope you find this useful. As always, give it a go and let me know how you get on. Here’s the template to print out. Feel free to share with your networks or anyone you think may benefit from this right now. And big thanks to Christina Merkley who was the inspiration behind this.

Yours in community spirit,


To harness the power of visual templates for reframing our thoughts, reflecting on priorities and making plans join us for Draw Out Your Future Jan 12th. Sign up here >>

Planning a training session? Go big or go home (free template)

As you may be aware I’m not only a huge advocate of drawing, I’m a huge advocate of drawing BIG.

When I say drawing big I mean drawing on the wall (tip: put paper on it first) or at the flipchart.

Here in my office/studio I have a large 8ft graphic wall and a large 5ft whiteboard. When I need to think I stand up and I draw big.

Drawing big opens up the heart and opens up the mind. Anytime you need to think something through, draw big.

Here’s a template I use when planning a training session. I like to sketch this out big on a large piece of paper.

This is the order in which to fill it out.

1. Delegates
How many delegates?
What do we know about them?
What do they know about the topic?
What needs do they have?

2. Outcomes
What are the key outcomes for the session?
What is the transformation we want to have happen as a result of the training?
If we had to narrow these down to three key points, what would these be?

3. Ideas for Exercises
At this point you move naturally into brainstorming ideas for exercises. You may need to grab a flipchart and really go to town with your ideas.
Stick your pieces of flipchart paper all over the wall and start selecting the best ideas.
Put the best ideas into a natural sequence.

4. Agenda
Jot down your agenda items and timings based down on the above.

5. Get clear on the purpose of each exercise and note these down. Make sure they tie in with the outcomes to your right.

6. Include any materials you need to prepare for the day.

7. Have a lie down.

This kind of big scale drawing and thinking is SO worth the effort. You will find yourself coming up with ideas and insights far quicker and with greater insight than if you sat in front of a laptop and started with a blank Word document in front of you.

Top tip: wear comfortable shoes 🙂

More flipchart borders: get those markers out!

More flipchart borders: get those markers out!

I recently published a blog with border ideas for flipcharts.

It’s been my second most popular blog this year (following ‘Free visual coaching template’) so I thought I’d share a few more ideas here.

Thanks to those of you who get in touch. I always love hearing about how people are getting on using the tips and ideas I share.

So here we go, six more border ideas for you.

Border ideas for flipcharts

Which ones do you like best? Which ones will work best in your training room? And if you’ve got some of your own that you’d like to see featured in a future email do let me know.

Border ideas for flipcharts

Border ideas for flipcharts

It’s quick and easy to add some punch to the humble flipchart. Try these six border ideas out for size. Border ideas for flipcharts

It’s amazing the difference a simple border can make to your flipchart, , drawing attention to the contents inside Here’s my favourite. Simple yet impactful. Simple border

Give it a go and let me know how you get on. All the best, Emer P.S. Itching to learn more? Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics in Edinburgh on September 27th 2019.