Life is busy. There are always a hundred different things pulling you in a hundred different directions. Some days you just want everything to stop so you can catch your breath.
I’ve been going through some pretty intensive counselling this year (more on that another time) and have learnt a great deal about slowing my mind, being present and finding contentment. But the one tool I use every single day, and I would recommend to everyone I know, is so simple, yet so incredibly helpful. You ready? This should take about 2 minutes.
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious or stretched or pinched or overwhelmed or at a complete loss, try this:
Take a deep breath. And think of your five senses.
Touch: what can you feel at this very moment?
Taste: what can you taste right now?
Sound: what can you hear?
Smell: can you smell anything?
Sight: what do you see in front of you?
Be specific, really explore your senses. Slowly take stock of each of them.
Touch: I can feel the carpet beneath my feet. The seat under my butt. My shirt on my shoulders. My fingers are cold.
Taste: I can taste Milk Arrowroot biscuit and chamomile tea.
Sound: I can hear both of my littles stirring in bed, the rain outside and the tap of my keyboard.
Smell: I can smell… Nothing much really. Dust?
Sight: I can see my computer monitor, a glass of water, a cup of pencils, the shadow from the blinds on the windowsill.
The act of immersing yourself in your immediate surroundings, of actively thinking about each of those things, means you’re taken out of your own head for a moment. That pressing issue, that rising anxiety, that thing that’s stressing you out – it’s gone. At least for those moments.
And once you’re back, dealing with life, you will always feel lighter, brighter and calmer. (I should know – I use this technique at least three times a day!)
It’s a simple thing to do, you can do it anywhere, and over time, it will teach you to be more present and pay attention to what is currently happening, rather than getting caught up in the complexities of what-ifs, whens and whys.