When we feel anxious or panicky, our brain freezes and we lose the ability to think straight. We go into fight or flight. To help free up our brains and soothe ourselves down, it can be useful to take a moment and use our senses to just be.
Using our Senses to Soothe Anxiety
This exercise should take about 5-10 minutes and is based on mindfulness.
1. Walkaway from the situation if you can. Let other people know that this is how you will deal with anxiety for the time being, so that they know what to expect.
2. Just notice your breathing. Close your eyes or avert your gaze to just notice where you can feel your breath in your chest, shoulders, nose, abdomen. What is your breathing like? Shallow or deep? Fast or slow? It doesn't matter, just notice.
3. What can you hear? Listen to noises close by or further away. Try to pay attention to one sound at time.
4. What can you see? You can say out loud or in your head things you notice. Try to look for details in things. Hold things up close as if you have never seen them before. Eg: if you look at a raisin, it has lots of different ridges in it with so many patterns.
5. What can you smell? Try and really pay attention to this because sometimes it is hard to smell anything.
6. What can you taste? Sometimes you won't be able to taste anything and that's ok
7. What can you touch. What does it feel like?
This part is all about what your body is going through now and coping with your anxiety.
8. What are your sensations in your body? Where can you feel them?
9. What are the emotions that are coming up? There maybe more than one
10. Notice the thoughts in your mind. What are they saying?
11. What would you like to do?
12. What are you going to do? Make a little plan of what you can do now.
If you would like to offer feedback on this exercise or ask some questions about it, please drop me a line on the contact me form. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression and would like to find out more about how CBT works. Why not give me a call on 0161 8831156