Often we go through our day-to-day lives tripping and stumbling through daily stressors, trials and tribulations.
So how can we help ourselves?
Turning off the Auto-Pilot Response to Stress
Perhaps if we took just one moment (or maybe even a few) out of our day to sense into ourselves and bring awareness to what we’re feeling, we might choose to calm our agitated nerves in smaller, more purposeful ways throughout the day, as opposed to doing something mindless at the end.
Either way we’re doing something to sooth. The reality is that we find a way to sooth discomfort no matter what because we truly need to.
So why not make a conscious (aka mindful) choice, as opposed to going blindly into auto-pilot?
True, easier said than done, but these steps can help.
1. Plan & Practice Relaxation
The first way to get this process started is by planning for and practicing relaxation when you’re not ‘in the heat of the moment.’ Relaxation for you may be listening to music, reading your favorite magazine or blog,
2. Activate Relaxation Using Your Senses
By looking at, smelling, and listening to things that are pleasing, we are automatically taken out of our stress – even if just for a moment, even if only a little – and begin to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (aka relaxation response).
We may not become totally relaxed during a stressor, but it may be just enough to allow us to step back and take perspective.
And if we can start to surround ourselves with these pleasing sensations, our chronic stress will start to ease, slowly but surely.
Start by making yourself a list of those things you enjoy hearing, looking at, smelling, touching, and yes…tasting (think about specific flavors you enjoy, as opposed to foods).
Here are some examples:
The ocean; a sunset; a cityscape; a mountain; your family/loved ones; a pet; beautiful artwork; a lake;
Waves; babbling brook; children laughing; music; hustle & bustle of a city; thunderstorm; cat purring;
Lavender; citrus; sandalwood; other essential oils; fresh cut grass; spring flowers; the ocean; pine forest; a shower gel; perfume/cologne; books; a candle
A pet; a stone; partner’s hand, cheek, etc.; sand on the beach; clean sheets; books; warm breeze; cool stream on a hot day; waves on my feet; warm bath
Strong mint; black licorice; ginger; curry;
3. Make a ‘Coping Kit’
So go ahead and make your own list.
Then make a “coping kit” that contains some of these sense activators and take it with you find or a way to include them in your daily/weekly routines.
Notice if adding these little bits of soothing to your life makes any impact on how often you use those old “soothing” habits.