Using Your 5 Senses To Self-Soothe

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Self-Soothing For Adults

BY LIZA CHERVONSKY

There are times when emotions run high. Whether it’s related to work, relationships, health, or finances, it’s not uncommon to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and in moments like this it’s important to be kind and gentle with yourself. If someone close to you was upset, you wouldn’t berate them or criticise them for feeling distressed, you’d show them care and support. When you’re upset and stressed, it’s important to show yourself that same level of respect and care, and you can do this by practicing self-soothing activities.

When did you last take 5-minutes for yourself?

What Are Self-Soothing Activities?

A self-soothing activity is any activity that helps to calm or relieve you of some of your distress. The 5 senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) can be used for this purpose.

There are very few steps to take. All you need to do is: (1) Be present, (2) Focus on your senses, and (3) Allow yourself to be fully immersed in the sensory experience

Sensory Soothing

It can be helpful to compile a list of self-soothing activities ahead of time to make life easier for yourself. Some ideas are listed below for you, but reflect on what you find soothing and add these ideas to your list as well.

Sight

– Photographs of good moments, friends, and loved ones
– Pictures of nature
– Looking at nature outside
– Watching the waves
– Watching a candle flame flicker

Hearing

– Listening to music with your eyes closed
– Listening to a guided meditation
– Listen to nature outside

Taste

– Drinking tea with your eyes closed
– Eat something sweet
– Eat your meals without distraction

Smell

– Body lotions, perfumes, soaps
– Scented candles, incense
– Freshly baked foods
– Fresh flowers

Touch

– Hug a soft pillow
– Hold something fluffy
– Feel play-doh or clay
– Squeeze a stress ball
– Pat an animal

Of course, many of these activities involve using more than one sense at a time and that’s absolutely fine. The main point is to be fully immersed without other distracting activities, such as mobile phones or computers.

Lastly, you don’t have to wait to be stressed before practicing self-soothing activities. Doing activities like the ones listed above can help to reduce your overall daily stress before it reaches higher levels.

Good luck on your self-soothing journey.

Liza is a warm and compassionate clinical psychology registrar who enjoys working with adults, children, adolescents, parents, and families. She is dedicated to working collaboratively and empathically with clients to help them develop an understanding of their difficulties, and to find effective ways to improve their every day coping and general psychological wellbeing. Liza is experienced in treating a range of difficulties including anxiety, depression, procrastination, stress, perfectionism, interpersonal & relationship difficulties, anger management, self-harm, and parenting difficulties.


 

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