More and more people are discovering mindfulness and how it can improve your overall health (and happiness, in my opinion). It’s a way to slow down when everything and everyone else is in a rush. Mindfulness is known to have many benefits such as reduced stress levels and increased mental focus. It can come in many forms – yoga, meditation, and mindful nature trips, just to name a few. But there may be times when you need immediate stress relief. Deep breathing is great, but I find that combining it with this easy 5 senses mindfulness exercise can be a lot more helpful when I feel super overwhelmed, anxious, nervous, or angry – any time that I need to calm down. You can use this technique anywhere and it just takes a few short minutes. You don’t need any equipment to do this, just engage your senses.
5 – See
Observe your surroundings and name 5 things that you can see. A table. A tumbler. A plant. You can also make it a bit more interesting (e.g. What red objects can I see?)
4 – Feel
Name 4 things that you can feel – the soft chair you’re sitting on, the hard floor beneath your feet, the cool breeze on your skin, the warm sunlight.
3 – Hear
Bring your attention to any background or white noise and name 3 things that you can hear such as cars going past, falling rain on the roof, or the clock ticking.
2 – Smell
Note 2 things that you can smell – maybe that cup of coffee or freshly cut grass.
1 – Taste
Maybe take a sip of your drink, or have a snack and really observe what it tastes like. Or maybe you can still notice an aftertaste from your previous meal.
The numbers above are just a guide. You can name as little or as many things as you can observe. I’ve done this exercise a couple of times already, and I think I went up to 20 things that I can see, until I felt a bit calmer. Disclaimer: This blog post is not meant to exclude people with disabilities. The important thing is to slow down, pay attention, and use all the senses that you have.
You don’t have to do this technique only when you feel overwhelmed. You can do this quick exercise anytime to feel a bit more centered. After the exercise, pause for a while and notice if there’s any difference in how you feel. Hopefully you feel much better and calmer. 💜