Did you know that one of the most powerful ways to reduce stress and regain calm quickly is through sensory experiences?
The power of the senses
Our senses are are the key to how we read the world around us and have the power to transform the way we feel. Just think about how eating something warm and sweet can can make you feel comforted, or how a favourite tune can lift your spirits and make you want to dance.
But did you know that each of us have a bias towards which senses can impact us most. For some of us, it’s all about what we see. Others are auditory led – it’s about what you hear and how that makes you feel. While all our sense make an impression, in most of us, one or two dominate. It’s handy to know which ones as once you know you can make them work for you. By tapping in to these senses you can alter how you feel in a given situation and help yourself retain a sense of calm.
Which is your lead sense?
To find out which of your senses tends to dominate, try imagining a few scenarios and notice what you prioritise…
- Take your mind back to a recent meal that was memorable for some reason (either good or bad). Imagine yourself at the table just after finishing eating. What was it that sticks in your mind? (Was it the sound of people talking and the conversation flow? Or how the food tasted? The aroma? Or the textures in your mouth as you ate it? Or how it looked when you first saw it?)
- Imagine a room that is the most comfortable space ever – what’s the most important that you would want it to contain? (For example, soft rugs and throws to lounge on, gentle music, something lovely to drink, gentle neutral tones that blend together well, a candle that has scented the air)
- Look around the room you are in now – what is the one thing you would do to improve it? (Close the door so you have some peace and quiet, add some colour to one of the walls, get rid of the smell of wet dog or smelly training shoes, have a ready supply of tea and biscuits close to hand, change the chair you are sitting)
If you play out a few of these in your mind, a pattern should emerge. You’ll start to build up a picture of which one or two of your senses you rely on the most through your daily life. Once you have identified which ones they are, you can start to use them to your advantage.
Using your senses to help you find calm
Once you find what senses are driving you, it’s just about having a few tricks up your sleeve to tap in when you are feeling our of kilter and want to your mojo. Whether it’s help to move yourself from stressed to calm; from frustrated to at ease, or from angry to peaceful – tapping in to a sensory state changer when you need it most can really help. Have a few tricks up your sleeve so you can apply them in different sceanrios. Then you’ll know you will always have something to use when you need it, wherever you are.
A few suggestions to get you started…
For those led by: The Sense of Sight
- Adorn you walls with photos or art that you love
- Have a few ‘go to’ pictures on your phone that you can rely on to make you smile when you see them
- Close your eyes and picture a place where you remember feeling happy and relaxed
For those led by: The Sense of Sound
- Create a playlist of tunes that help you feel calm (our Kiss the Moon ‘Music to fall asleep to’ playlist can get you started)
- Hum a tune
- Go for a drive and turn the radio up loud. Sing a long
For those led by: Sense of Touch
- Stroke a pet
- Give yourself a quick massage (check out our tips on how to give yourself a 15minute night time facial here)
- Wear your favourite scarf or and item of clothing that you love the touch of
For those led by: The Sense of Smell
- Keep your favourite soothing aroma close to hand for when you need it (our After Dark Balms are perfect for this – keep one by your bedside or in your handbag for when you need something to soothe)
- Peel an orange to eat
- Scent your room with an aroma you love (try our new After Dark Pillow Mists to lightly scent your bedroom before sleep – available in LOVE or DREAM)
For those led by: Sense of Taste
- Chew some gum or pop a mint in your mouth
- Apply some flavoured lip gloss (or even your normal lipstick)
- Take time out and make yourself a hot drink
Test drive these mental state changers when you have chance. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll always know you have something up your sleeve to help when things start to feel tense. They’re also perfect to practice before bed when you want to switch out of day mode and in to sleep mode.
This clever bit of advice comes from www.helpguide.org – check them out for more examples and lots of smart thinking about how to look after your own mental wellbeing.