Ever Heard of Havening? Try It To Improve Your Mental Health

Have you ever heard of havening? Well, you might have, you just haven’t realized it yet! Think back to a time when you were completely relaxed and comforted — that’s havening!


What is the Havening Technique? 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Realize Hemp Drinks (@realizehempdrinks)

As the term ‘havening’ implies, the practice involves creating a safe place. The concept behind this form of touch therapy, which has been around for decades but has gained popularity recently due to its inclusion in Justin Bieber’s YouTube documentary, is simple: havening focuses on creating an environment in which you feel protected and relaxed.

Bieber’s wife Hailey describes havening as a “self soothing technique” similar to the methods we used as children to calm ourselves, like sucking our thumb. “[It’s] almost like when you’re a kid and your mom is rubbing your back to sleep and it’s the best feeling in the world,” Hailey explained.

The official website behind the “Havening Techniques” claims the method may prove useful for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety.

How is Havening Practiced?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dr. Buzz Mingin, PsyD (@drbuzzmingin)

According to Healthline, during havening, a practitioner will ask you about your current emotional state. You’ll then be tasked with clearing your mind or focusing on a stress-free activity, like floating in a warm ocean or remembering a happy memory. Then you’ll tap lightly on your collarbone and blink twice.

The practice continues as you close your eyes, tap your collarbone and imagine yourself working through a task, like walking toward a beach or placing books on a bookshelf. As you count backward from 20, you will get closer to completing your imaginary task. For example, you might walk one step closer to the ocean, or you might place one more book on the bookshelf.

Then you’ll open your eyes, cross your arms and complete a series of eye movements. Healthline says you might be asked to look left, right, up and down, or clockwise.

After the eye movements end, you’ll close your eyes and you’ll be tasked with humming a song like “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet song. As you hum the song, the practitioner will gently stroke your forehead or arms (or you can do this action to yourself). Once completed, the care provider will ask about your level of stress, and you’ll repeat the process, with slight variations to the technique. The goal is to repeat the steps until your stress level falls (or stops escalating).

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Narelle Summers (@narellesummers)

While the science behind havening is still very new, Theresa Nguyen, Vice President of Research and Innovation at Mental Health America, told Today that the idea behind the techniques seemed similar to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and brainspotting, both of which use distraction to attempt to deal with trauma and stress.

The Practice Might Fall in the Category of ‘Can’t Hurt, Might Help’

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by BroglieBox (@thebrogliebox)

While the efficacy of havening has not yet passed the stringent peer review process, if it works for people living with anxiety and depression, perhaps it’s worth looking into. “Maybe havening is the next iteration of this kind of [practiced distraction] work,” Nguyen told the morning show. “It appears that something about what’s happening here does help…. In a world where we don’t know what works, anything is possible! The brain is such a mysterious organ. If it works for you, it doesn’t matter why it works. You just know it works, so let’s celebrate that.”


Have you tried havening before? Is this the first time you’ve heard of it? Comment below!

For More Articles About Mental Health, Read These:

6 Ways You Can Help Your Loved One Through A Mental Health Crisis

How To Find Your Calm When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Join the Conversation