Life continues to get more complicated. Every day we are surrounded by more sickness, more heartbreak, more tragedy, and more anxiety. If we aren’t careful, it will consume us.
It is consuming us.
We keep hearing how we should look for the good and take care of ourselves, but that seems so difficult in the face of our current reality. And if you are anything like me, my brain is going a million miles a minute, and I’m having a hard time focusing on anything. To be honest, I’ve rewritten this article now 4 different times! I am completely scattered and having a hard time focusing on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. The what ifs keep sneaking into my thoughts and throwing me for a loop. My to-do list keeps growing, and I have a pile of half completed projects that are adding to my anxiety and lack of focus. It’s maddening!
So what’s a girl to do?? How do we hit the reset button and find some much needed peace and clarity?
We trick our brain into finding the calm when everything around us is screaming RUN!
But how? you ask. We tap into our senses and take a little brain vacation.
That’s right. By focusing on our 5 senses, we can calm our mind, decrease our stress, and find the much needed focus to tackle our day and feel some much needed peace.
Ready to give it a try?
I bet you didn’t know that just by looking at certain things you can begin to feel more relaxed. It’s true! Find a great view and take it all in. Most people tend to feel more relaxed in nature so watching the trees swaying in the wind, water flowing down the river, or even enjoying a quiet field will lower your cortisol levels. And the really good news is you don’t need to be in the middle of the woods for this to work. I keep a photo of my favorite quiet spot in the woods as my screensaver and when I pick up my phone I immediately feel a little bit of peace. Looking at pictures online or even closing your eyes and visualizing it has been proven to work just as quickly!
Do you have a favorite smell that always brings a smile to your face? Anytime I light one of my favorite scented candles, I immediately notice myself taking a deep breath. Smell is a powerful way to change your mood, and the one I turn to the most. In the morning I love a peppermint, lemon, or crisp linen to energize me and get me ready for the day. As the evening approaches, I am drawn to lavender and rose in the spring and summer and clove or a musk in the fall and winter.
Sound is one to be very careful with as it can inspire a dance party or a pity party within seconds. Tuning into your favorite upbeat, inspirational playlist first thing in the morning will set you up for a successful day. If you are sensitive to sounds, like I am, it’s important to also have time to enjoy 100% quiet. I notice if I don’t find at least 30 minutes of complete quiet a day, I get over-stimulated and cranky fast! My overactive mind needs that quiet time to process, and it just can’t seem to do that if my focus is split between my thoughts and the sound. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be helpful to have some white noise, like a fan or ocean sounds, playing in the background as you settle in to sleep.
A warm hug or a soft blanket to wrap yourself in is another way to alert your mind that you are safe and can relax. Another technique is to start cooking! For many of us, making a special meal or baking can take our mind off of our worries and settle us right down. Think specifically about kneading dough or chopping celery. Handling various textures can be very soothing. I recently found a fidget spinner left behind and I find myself constantly picking it up and playing with it as I am thinking about the next thing on my to-do list. I have found it really helps me be more creative! Who knew?!
And finally…taste. This isn’t about eating more, which tends to happen when we have a craving. It’s more about slowing down, finding the complexities of the flavor, and savoring each bite. If you are looking to relax, enjoying a cup of chamomile tea with honey or a small handful of berries is likely to do the trick. And while processed food and sugar gives you a quick energy boost, the crash that follows is brutal. It’s best to avoid that as much as possible. Your stress levels and your waistline will both thank you.
The bonus is to combine as many of your senses as possible to get the biggest bang for your buck. Aromatic foods tend to taste much better! When watching the ocean, listen for the waves crashing. Light your favorite candle and cuddle in with your softest blanket and a treasured pet.
Let’s pay attention this week. When we find ourselves feeling anxious about things that are out of our control or when we can’t focus for more than a few minutes, let’s take a deep breath and tune into our senses. I am feeling so much more focused now that I took 15 minutes to regroup. I made a cup of peppermint tea, lit a new lemon candle, and watched the sun peek out through the clouds and reflect off of the freshly fallen snow for a few minutes. Give it a try, and let me know your results! If you found this valuable and are interested in other techniques to improve your mindset and see big chances in your life by making small adjustments, I’m your girl. I invite you to join my Facebook community for Midlife Women looking to reignite their passion for life. Meet other women in this same season of life, participate in our fun monthly challenges, and become the very best version of your authentic self. I can’t wait to see you there!!