Using Your Senses to Relieve Stress

Ever wish a stress superhero could save you from the tension of traffic jams, chaotic meetings, arguments with your spouse, or toddler’s tantrums?  Well, you can be your own stress-busting superhero. Using your senses, you can tap into the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening and stay in control when the pressure builds. When you know how to quickly relieve stress, you can stay calm, productive and focused, no matter what life throws at you.

To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you. This can require some experimentation. Explore a variety of sensory experiences so that no matter where you are, you always have a tool to relieve stress

colourful buttons with line art of the senses sight, smell, touch, taste, feel and sound
  • SIGHT
    • Use a plant or flowers to enliven your work space
    • Surround yourself with colours that lift your spirits
    • Close your eyes and picture a place that feels peaceful and rejuvenating
  • SMELL
    • Light a scented candle or burn some incense
    • Smell the roses or another type of flower
    • Enjoy clean, fresh air in the great outdoors
  • TOUCH
    • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
    • Pet a dog or cat
    • Hold a comforting object ( a stuffed animal, a favourite memento)
  • TASTE
    • Chew a piece of sugarless gum
    • Sip a steaming cup of coffee or tea or a refreshing cold drink
    • Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack
  • MOVEMENT
    • Dance around
    • Stretch or roll your head in circles
    • Go for a short walk
  • SOUND
    • Tune in on the soundtrack of nature
    • Buy a small fountain so you can enjoy the soothing sound of running water
    • Hang wind chimes near an open window

It’s not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a mini- or not so mini- crisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your sense will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to ride a bike. You don’t master the skill in one lesson; you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Have fun with the process. If something doesn’t work, don’t force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.

Adapted from: Help Guide