Motivation, Inspiration and Life

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Self-Soothe: Reducing Anxiety using the 5 Senses

Common anxiety-reduction techniques are muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises. However, I find that these do not work for all individuals, including myself, and that there are many other possibilities out there that are not so-well utilized. Using the 5 senses is a DBT technique that I love. So here are a few suggestions from DBT and a few that I have developed myself.

Vision: Light a candle and watch the flame; Sit in a museum with beautiful art or in the lobby of a nice hotel; Watch the stars in the middle of the night; Look at brilliant colored flowers; Make a collage of images that bring you happiness;

Hearing: Make a playlist or CD of inspiring, empowering, or relaxing songs- Listen to this whenever you are going to be doing something stressful or if you are already in a stressful situation (remember to tailor the playlist or CD to the mood/feeling that you are trying to create); Pay attention to the sounds of nature that are naturally around you (birds, waves, the breeze, moving water, crickets, leaves rustling etc.); Create a CD of nature sounds that are soothing for you; Hum a tune- the vibrations in your throat can also be used to relax your body and mind;

Smell: Bake cookies or cake; Boil cinnamon and water on the stove; Light your favorite candles (lavender and eucalyptus are known to calm the body and reduce tension); Put on your favorite lotion or take a bath with your favorite bath salts; Smell the freshly cut grass; Most importantly, find smells that are uplifting for you and find a way to incorporate them into your life on a daily basis;

Taste: Have a good meal or a delicious dessert; Drink herbal tea (such as chamomile or lemon with honey) or hot chocolate; Sample flavors of ice cream at the store; Suck on a piece of candy; Eat fresh fruits that are in season; Enjoy foods that are both hot and cold to shock the taste buds (ex: warm pie, cookies, or cake with cold ice cream)

Touch: Take a bath and pay close attention to the water running over your body or the bubbles as they move and pop; Put clean soft sheets on your bed; Pet your dog or cat; Have a massage; Soak your feet; Put a cold compress on your forehead of chest; Curl up on a comfortable couch in loose clothes under a cozy blanket; Put on clothing that flows (big shirts, dresses, scarves, etc. and dance around, feeling the clothes grace your skin); Brush your hair; rub a smooth stone (I personally like the ones you can buy that have special meanings); Play with silly-putty; Hold ice in your fist and focus on the coldness in your palm and the water as it melts and runs down your hand;


3 comments on “Self-Soothe: Reducing Anxiety using the 5 Senses

  1. Habib Cengiz
    May 5, 2012

    Howdy! I stumbled upon your blog and I have to say I really like your site!! I will be back soon to read more. 🙂

  2. Cheryl Boudreau
    May 6, 2012

    I like this one

  3. Pingback: Self-Soothe: Reducing Anxiety using the 5 Senses « Motivation, Inspiration and Life « Personality Disorder Therapy


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This entry was posted on May 2, 2012 by in Self-Help and tagged , , .
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