Use Your Senses!

If you are lucky enough to have all five senses then it can be something we take for granted. We don’t think twice about watching the world go by or listening to the rain hitting the window, unless of course, your have lost your hearing or sight and have to adapt with the help of hearing aids or implants or touch, glasses or even a seeing eye dog.

How can we use our five senses better? How can we use them to help ease every day stresses and anxiety? We use them automatically but what if we are more conscious about using them. Letting them ground us and take us back to the here and now.

Sight

Our eyes open up in the morning, they take us on wonderful journey of colour as well as light and dark. We see the beauty of a sunrise, the shapes and patterns of the clouds and the trees blowing in the wind. Our eyes are bombarded constantly with images and we accept them and get on with our day. But take a moment to stop, look around you and actually notice what you are looking at. I mean, really take the time to look.

Our eyes open up in the morning, they take us on wonderful journey of colour as well as light and dark. We see the beauty of a sunrise, the shapes and patterns of the clouds and the trees blowing in the wind. Our eyes are bombarded constantly with images and we accept them and get on with our day. But take a moment to stop, look around you and actually notice what you are looking at. I mean, really take the time to look.

What are the colours of that sunrise, watch as the sun rises, the light changes as each ray hits more and more of the landscape beside you. Is it a still morning? Calm and steady or is it rainy and windy? How does this affect the colour and light of the sun rising? Can you even see the sun or is it hidden by layers of clouds or fog? Do you watch the sunrise over water? If so, watch as the light makes the water twinkle.

So, in the here and now, take time, spend five or ten minutes each morning this week, admiring what is outside. Look at what you see each morning out the window, or go to a favourite spot on a walk or trail and just spend time looking at the colours, the light and the dark, the patterns and how weather affects these things.

Sounds

What is it you can hear right now? Stop reading this for a second and listen. There is always something making a sounds, it could be the low hum of your heating or your husband snoring (yep, that’s you Scott!) Maybe outside you can hear a bird that is merrily chirping away or the children next door playing in the garden. What about the car that has just started up?

Again, spend five or so minutes just listening and identify the sounds you can hear. If you are out walking the sounds will be different compared to sitting in your office and listening to the printer trundling out documents, or the kettle boiling or the phones ringing. Notice the sounds around you.

Smells

Photo by Sosas Sosay on Pexels.com

Maybe you have been cooking and the smells are floating around your house or you are in a restaurant with the lovely aromas, waiting with anticipation on your order. Maybe your walking past a bakers and the smell stirs up a memory for you or someone is in their garden and you can smell their freshly cut grass. Our sense of smell seems to be quite powerful linking with memory. Does anything you currently smell pull up a memory for you? If you feel your anxiety rise, lavender essential oil can be great, smell it, take a deep breath and inhale, it will help you to relax and it’s great for night time as well. However, you may not like it , try some alternatives such as Chamomile, Bergamot, or Neroli these are great for helping with stress and anxiety.

Taste

What can you taste? Have you just eaten? Are you eating something at the moment, chocolate or crisps, or an apple? What do you taste? What flavours do you get. Think about all the times you have seen people on tv tasting wine and the descriptions they come up with ‘it has delicate flavours of citrus with a hint of cardboard’. Yes, we have all heard the weird and wonderful descriptions. So do the same for you, describe each flavour, it may be something as random as cardboard even though you have never eaten it. As the food or drink first hits your tongue, what do you taste? Then once it’s being chewed, what now? Is there any after taste to it? Maybe you are walking on a beach and you can taste the salt. It can be as simple as that really.

Touch

Feel your clothes, what material is it? Is it soft? Silky? Rough? Pick up an object near you, feel all around it. Is it smooth? Maybe it feels light or heavy? What about it’s shape? Is it round or square or no particular shape? Spend five minutes feeling an object or an item of clothing and think about all these things. Really feel the different textures on your fingers. Maybe you are outside and you’ve picked up a flower and gently feel the petals in you fingers, or the smooth stem. It could be your car, run your hands over the door, touch the handle, feel the steering wheel or the seats. What about your pet. Is their fur, soft, fluffy, rough? What about their ears? Silky? Fuzzy? We often forget about touch and how important it is, we can get a lot of information just by touching an object. Try it!

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Every day, try to engage more with your senses, touch the tree you past and feel the bumps of it’s trunk, listen to sounds around you, is it children chattering, cars whizzing by, or your neighbours dogs barking? Maybe you can smell the salt of the sea or the perfume you are wearing, What about everything you are looking at. Focus on one thing and then cast your gaze wider, are the trees blowing in the wind, what colour are the leaves, how tall is it, are there other trees next to it? Taste can be interesting, it could be as simple as you can still taste the last thing you ate or drank, or the toothpaste you used. But take it one step further, think of your favourite food and how it tastes, what beautiful flavours does it have? Is it spicy or sweet or crunchy?

Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or your anxiety is creeping up on you and you are looking for ways to ground yourself, then really take your awareness to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and things around you that you can touch. This can bring you into the here and now and help to reduce your symptoms. If I’m feeling a bit anxious about work, then as I’m walking there I pick five things I can see, four things I can hear, three things I can touch, two things I can smell and one thing I can taste. This really helps me to focus on what’s happening in that moment rather than my mind racing ahead for everything I have to achieve that day. Try it.

Your body is an amazing structure and tool. Use it to help you focus and bring you back into the moment if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Let it ground you. Use your senses and be aware of using them. Notice things, focus on them rather than rushing on to where you are going or what you are doing next. Take your time, look around you and go through each sense and enjoy.

Be kind to yourself and have a lovely week. Look after you!

Love Emma xx 😀🌼

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