In the wild your senses would keep you alive like an instinctual animal, as humans in civilisation we use our senses on a whole other level. The level of emotions. We are more likely to buy, experience or seek out pleasures through taste, touch, sound, smell and sight. A hearty meal, a freshly baked croissant, the ocean air, our favourite band, tv show, hours or a mate at the bar.
Having suffered from anxiety for over 10 years I’d like to share with you a deeper layer of using your senses, one that relates to healing anxiety symptoms.
To start with, when I used to have severe panic attacks or feelings of overwhelm, whether at work, at a family function, in a crowd, by myself or even at the super market, the first thing I needed to do was change the scenery; so let me talk about sight to begin with.
Using my old workplace as an example, when I would become overwhelmed within a situation I used to feel my gut clench and my mind freeze. I felt like I was staring into space, whether it be when I was at my computer desk or serving a customer or hanging clothings on racks. It was like I was on another planet. I see now that my mind was trying to protect me and reserve energy, however in those moments the exhaustion would often stun me and I needed to keep going. My solution was to change my scenery, give my eyes another sight, another space to re-jog my brain and calm my body down.
In a work space where I couldn't just up and go to the beach to change the scene, I would excuse myself, take a quick turn into the reserve and take some breaths, count myself in and focus my sight on something else for a few minutes. Now this might not work for everyone but this was a place that I would frequently get anxiety so in order for me to get through my day I would need to check in by changing my physical state. This might be about hanging up tasks too!
If you're triggered in a social setting or even when you're by yourself, move. Change what you're looking at and get some perspective. I’d often think ‘gosh all I needed was to step away from that pile of clothes and messy rack in order to see it wasn't as big a job as my mind thought’. That person really triggered me but stepping outside for a few minutes has helped, if I didn't just drive to my grans for 15 mins I would have ended up in a frenzy by myself; perspective.
Touch is an important sense for me, not only is it my top love language, I feel that a connection to my body is incredibly important when it comes to soothing my anxiety. Being ‘grounded’ is a word I often use, which allows me to connect back to present moment. As we know, anxiety involves feelings of stress about things that haven't happened yet, so being able to focus on the present is key. This is the main reason I love Vibrosaunas. As I was in one of my weekly sessions I started to notice how my body felt when I moved my legs up and down, placing my heels only on the massage bed, then my finger tips, then moving my feet along the bed, even rolling slightly onto my hips. I noticed how my mind started to respond to the different sense of touch combined with the vibration of the Sauna. Forty-five minutes of your body experiencing touch ( no partner required) is definitely one of my top relievers!
Now you might be one of those people who needs to feels a sense of touch that is more delicate, if this is you then I’d be looking at a Salt float! Either the private pool or a pod, I get the feelings of weightlessness and warmth from the float sessions that enable me to completely let my body go whilst there is a tender touch from the water. Pods are designed to deprive our senses so that our bodies can come back to neutral with calmness of the mind, so whilst you may not hear, see or smell when floating ( touch is limited), there is a healing through limited senses.
Taste and smell do go hand in hand at times ( I’ve never liked the smell of coffee so I've never drank it) however we can separate these and connect in to our anxiety symptoms on a deeper level. Personally I love having a diffuser on at home with a light scent like French Pear or Bergamot, however Lavender is a well known for its calming benefits.
For taste, a nice hot camomile tea or cinnamon tea really warms up my soul and helps relax my tummy muscles. Soon enough I find that any sleep anxiety or morning stress will fade. You can utilise smell with what fragrance you wear as well. I’ll give you the hot tip; if you spray your perfume or cologne and in 15-30 mins can still smell it on your skin it isn't right for you. If you can't smell it then its reacted well with your skin oils. I find people will get headaches from their own scent if they don't choose the right one. Essential oils mixed with fractionated coconut are a perfect and natural way to help with getting benefits for anxiety.
Sound is a key player, if you’re musical or have studied the brain or meditation you may know that there are frequencies that align to our minds and bodies and if understood can relieve even a sore throat. We know when our favourite band or musical genre plays how we feel within our whole body yeah? Well if you apply some simple meditation sounds when feeling in a state of stress or anxiety we can begin to heal anxieties of the brain.
See below for an example.
528HZ Music: Repairs DNA & increases live energy, healing meditation music, frequency music 30506R
If you're looking for something quick there are plenty of apps out there too, personally I’ve always used this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzbdLn2bJc. A 5 minute check in that you can do on your break at work, in the car park, before you sleep etc!
Now its your turn; check in with each of your senses and write down what you can do in each to help wth anxiety or stress. Let me know how you go.