What to do when there is a war in your head
Updated: Jan 26, 2019
This week's segment is somewhat of an addition to my last week's blog about TACO Tuesdays. Stepping into your senses is a wonderful form of self care. Your basic 5 senses are: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. On overwhelming days, your senses can help relieve stress that may be weighing you down.
Sight is something that most people take for granted. Looking closely at the texture of things surrounding you can be relaxing and help you see the world in a different way. There is so much in every nook and cranny of the world around you, so many textures and colors. In last week's blog I mentioned how I sit on my roof. This relaxes me because I am seeing the world from a new perspective. I feel free, away from the things happening below me. I can see the birds around me, I see the tree tops. The height change helps me feel powerful, “above” the simple world below me.
Touch is personally my favorite sense. Feeling the texture of the things around me is extraordinary. Taking time to relax and recognize the things that I can feel that Sensory Adaptation takes away from my thinking mind. When I am sitting at school, I feel the texture of the chair I’m on, the smooth desk that my arms are on, the binder, paper and pencil that are all my main focus. Oftentimes, the textures of the world are pushed to the back of our brains. In order to avoid overstimulation, our mind can ignore certain sensations and they can go unnoticed as we focus on other things. The grass outside, a simple breeze, the way our feet feel on the ground when walking— we can miss them when we are running on autopilot.
Your sense of smell has a strong impact on your emotions. If an environment smells of something that you dislike, you will be repulsed. Same thing goes if an environment smells of something you enjoy. An essential oil is truly “essential” to my everyday. I swear by my peppermint essential oil for many reasons. Peppermint clears my sinuses, it helps with memory stimulus, it helps relieve my headaches and helps circulate my breathing. Having it around me makes me more upbeat as the smell has helped me to sustain a positive attitude. I have associated the smell of peppermint with happiness.
Taste may seem like it isn’t that important to self care. I admit that at first I was stuck at some way to associate taste to self care when it had been so easily done for the other senses. However, taste is truly remarkable. Taste does not just come from food and drink. The air around you has a certain taste to it. Fresh air tastes different than air from inside, it feels cleaner. The air around you is vital to your mental state. I’ve learned that when I am in a room, I tend to not do my best work, think slower and I get frustrated much more easily. The outside world gives me a fresher taste that I can’t get inside and I feel as if the cleaner air helps my brain flow better. The taste of the water I drink, the lingering snack you can taste in your mouth, the taste of your semi-late lunch, all of these are impactful on how you feel. If you eat something that you didn’t want to or disliked, you’ll be more irritable compared to if you eat something you like.
Hearing is an amazing ability. Music, laughter, and simple sounds like hearing yourself breathe are all things that can make your day more relaxed. The receptors in your ears are sensitive and can hear many things, including the sound of your eyelids opening and closing, if you focus hard enough. I often tend to focus on sounds around me. The sound of my own breath, the slight hum of the air conditioning, my eyelids closing and opening, the ringing in my ears that is always slightly there, the voices of people who are across the house, the sound of my pets walking about my house. All of these sounds are things that I can focus on to become present and quiet my "monkey mind".
I feel truly relaxed whenever I immerse myself in the sensory world. I focus on minuscule things that are pushed away naturally by my brain. It can be so simple to destress, it just takes an intention in your day to create the space to do it. A feeling of control over your body can arise from this too. There is so much beauty in the world, just tap into it and experience it for yourself.
About the Author:
Gabriella is a striving Music Therapist and seeks out positivity for other people. With her life, she yearns to make the world better little by little and cause a “butterfly effect”. Her motto is “a smile makes someone's day better." One of Gabi's long term goals is to travel and learn different cultures while bringing her knowledge with her to make the lives of others better.