When you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed use your five senses to help ground you in the present moment. Sometimes we get caught up in our anxiety and our thoughts. Using your senses, keeps you in the present moment right now. A self-soothing or grounding activity is any activity that helps to calm or relieve you of some of your distress or anxiety. You can’t be thinking about the past or future if you are focused on where you are and what you are doing or seeing right now. The important part is to find something that works for YOU.
What do you see around you right now? Name 5 things you see and describe them in detail to yourself. Describe the colours or the objects around you. Count how many widows are in your room. Describe a picture hanging on your wall. Do you enjoy looking at photos of nature or little kittens? Maybe you get your nails done and you can enjoy the colours. Maybe even looking out your window and seeing the clouds in the sky or the sunset can be calming for you.
What can you touch right now that feels comforting for you? Hold onto a soft blanket or scarf. Do you have a pillow or another object with texture? Can you feel the bumps or surface on an object? Rub your feet on a carpet. You could wash your hands in warm or cool water. You may wish to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket or hug a teddy bear. You may even enjoy having a warm bath or shower. Some people even enjoy rubbing lotion on their hands and legs to feel their body.
Do you find music soothing? Some people like to listen to upbeat music. Others like soothing repetitive sounds. What style of music do you find enjoyable? Some people like to download apps that play nature sounds like crickets singing, running water or rain. Many of these apps are free. For other people white noise or a fan helps create calmness in a nosy world.
While eating food can be soothing, be careful not to eat your emotions. You could make yourself a warm cup of tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate. Maybe you like something fizzy and cool like sparkling water? Or even something tangy like lemon or lime juice. What are your favourite tastes? Cooking a good meal for yourself can also be soothing. Slowly sip your drink or enjoy eating your favourite foods. Enjoy the taste and textures. Maybe you want to crunch on an apple or celery so your enjoy both the crispness of the food and the snapping sounds they create.
Smells can help remind of happy memories. You may wish to use incense, light a scented candle, smell spices in your kitchen or try an essential oil to help soothe and calm you. You may even enjoy a warm bath or shower with some an essential oil. Maybe you have a favourite body lotion that you can rub on? Even cooking has wonderful smells that can help you remember happy memories.