Today and in next few blogs, I am going to share about how to use our five senses to get some immediate relief from stress.
Stress has become so common these days that we don’t even think twice before using this word in all situations, so much that even our 10 year olds have started using it. It has become part of our daily vocabulary. It was not like this until a few decades back. We were more aware of our thoughts, actions and behavior. Of all the wonderful progress that we have made, also came emotional numbness (of senses). When we don’t experience our senses, we feel partially absent from our own lives and eventually from our family & friends’ lives as well.
Although Yoga philosophy teaches detachment form senses is important for better self-control, yet we need to experience them fully first and then to learn detachment and self-control.
Our five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound are powerful tools that we carry everywhere with us. We have access to them as needed. “The access” could be a little bit of a challenge though, especially for those of us who are very busy; conditioned to spend our day a certain way; used to ignore our mind and body’s messages.
So how do we start using our senses to gain control? Let’s take an example. Imagine we are in office overloaded with work. We want to focus on the work but can’t maybe because of racing thoughts, feeling anxious, or simply overwhelmed etc. Recognize those feelings and take a time-out by using one of the senses to reduce the stress/anxiety. Let’s begin with the sense which has the closest relation with brain, the sense of sight. Try one or more of the following by:
- Looking at pictures of a loved one or any inspirational person. Sounds familiar? Yes, it still works
- Remembering (or if we are too busy then writing and carrying with us) five favorite events/memories from the past and reliving them with our eyes closed when stressed
- Noticing and counting 8-10 things in our surroundings
- Looking at something beautiful (pictures, flowers, scenery, stars, moon, birds, babies etc.)
- Surrounding ourselves with white or yellow color (objects)
- Watching sunrise or sunset
- Sitting in a room full of bright light or sitting under clear sky
- Watching TV for few minutes (I am not a fan of TV but watching it for a few minutes might give us a break and distract us from the problem)
Above are a few examples of using our sense of sight to calm us down within few minutes. Once we achieve the calm state of mind, it makes it easier to refocus and continue.
Try this technique and let me know how it worked for you. Will be happy to answer any question.
Next week I will write how to use sense of smell and touch.