There are times when each of us feel stress, anxiety, or are under pressure. Often we only use one or two strategies for calming such as going to get a massage or finding a few quiet minutes to ourselves, but did you know that you can utilize all five of your senses for decreasing anxiety?
In occupational therapy we use a variety of strategies for calming. Just as a person doesn’t learn the same as everyone else, not every strategy helps to calm everyone the same. Exploring these different techniques can help a person find what helps them calm and move through their day without feeling defeated.
The power of smell can trigger a variety of calming or happy memories and thoughts. Maybe the smell of sugar cookies reminds you of grandma’s house or the smell of lavender reminds you of being outdoors on a pretty day. Find a smell that triggers a peaceful smile to help reduce any stress. Essential oils and candles are an easy way to fill a room with a calming smell.
Does the sound of rain outside the window make you want to breathe deeply? How about listening to the sounds of the ocean? Sound machines or apps on your phone can help play
music or sounds to help with decreasing stress and anxiety. Find a sound that
helps you want to take it slow.
Some people love a massage to relieve stress while others don’t want to be touched. A weighted
blanket can help with achieving a calming affect without having others poke or
prod. A warm bath or even a warm towel to wrap in can elicit a decrease in
In different settings, often therapists will use the power of imagination to help with relieving anxiety and stress by asking their clients to picture a place that they feel a sense of calmness in. Guided imagery is a technique that can help with creating a serene place of calm in your mind’s eye, or you can open your eyes and watch calming settings such as a fish tank, a relaxing fire, or the rain dripping down a window. If you don’t have access to those things at your home, you can google these things and find videos online to view.
The taste of things can alert you as well as calm. Sucking on a lemon will wake you and your
senses up while the taste of peppermint might calm you down. Savoring a piece
of dark chocolate has been known to decrease blood pressure and help with
de-stressing along with drinking chamomile tea.
It’s helpful to use a variety of methods either one at a time or simultaneously to
help you relieve stress. Finding what works for you is an important strategy to
help your mind and body feel at ease no matter where you are or what life
throws at you. Go find a few senses that help you stay calm today!