By Becca Jones, MA LPC Director of Counseling & Wellness.
In a moment of panic, we often feel very disconnected from the present moment and even “out” of our bodies. By simply engaging the senses, we can come back to the present, stay mindful of our feelings, and be grounded in our bodies. This can be used throughout the day as a gift to yourself to acknowledge the beauty of the present moment. In times of high anxiety, our minds often wander toward negative thinking, it is part of how we survive, to be fear-based. We can come back to the present moment, our bodies, and center our minds when our hearts feel troubled or we begin to feel afraid. This is a way back to the peace of Christ, but it might be a muscle that needs some strengthening. Start with the exercise below.
The Five Senses Exercise
Here are the steps to complete this exercise:
- See. Notice five things that you can see. Look around you and become aware of your environment. Try to pick out something that you don’t usually notice. Name those things either out loud or in your head.
- Feel. Notice four things you can feel. Bring attention to the things that you’re currently feeling, this could be the chair you are sitting on, the texture of the clothes you are wearing, or the warm blanket on your couch. Name those things either out loud or in your head.
- Hear. Notice three things that you can hear. Listen for and notice things in the background that you may not have already noticed. This could be the humming of the fridge, the airplane outside. Name those things either out loud or in your head.
- Smell. Notice two things you can smell. Bring attention to scents that you usually filter out, either pleasant or unpleasant. You might find a food item, essential oil, or soap to smell. Name those things either out loud or in your head.
- Taste. Notice one thing you can taste. Take a sip of a drink, chew gum, or notice the current taste in your mouth. Make sure to name whatever you chose to taste either out loud or inside your head.