National Stress Awareness Day – 2nd November 2022
Stress is a part of everyday life and can often feel unpleasant. Generally, we don’t like ‘unpleasant’ and so we try to make it stop, which can, in turn, lead to more stress and unpleasant feelings. A better approach can be to learn techniques to get through the moments of stress, so-called ‘weathering the storm.’ Here are some strategies that use the senses for grounding effect when the stress feels like it is becoming too much:
Sit back in your chair and notice 5 objects in the room with you – this may be something simple like a pen. Visually study the object, taking in as much detail as possible – size, colour, marks etc. When you have finished studying one object move onto the next.
Switch on to your hearing. Like smells, there are often subtle sounds around us that we do not normally notice. Take a few minutes to really hear these sounds – try not to react to them with thoughts – just notice them and wait for the next one.
Take some long, deep breaths through you nose (aim for 6-7 breaths per minute) and notice the air moving through your nostrils. Also, notice any smells. There are always subtle smells we rarely notice and becoming aware of them can be a great grounding agent. If you have the time, you might want to try the same exercise outdoors.
Start by noticing your body’s contact with the chair you are sitting on – feeling the pressure on the back of your legs. Then notice the contact between your feet and the floor. How about the clothes you are wearing? Can you feel their contact with your skin?
Focus your attention on your mouth, first noticing any tension in your jaw, and then noticing any tastes in your mouth. Simply spend a few minutes noticing the different tastes and sensations as they come and go.