Using what we have within, to bring a sense of wellbeing
When we are physically unwell, we usually know how to get better. Rest, fluids, bandages, ice pack, whatever we need to restore our physical health, we can generally find the resources we need easily and conveniently.
But what do we do when we are feeling emotionally unwell? If we are feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, or just generally feeling down about life. The remedies to restore our wellbeing seem not as readily accessible. It can be harder to identify what we can do to bring back our feeling of self and wellness.
However, we have plenty of resources that are close-by. So close, they are within. Our senses. Using our five senses to restore wellbeing is easy enough to do. But when we are feeling low, it can be hard to exert the energy to get out of that funk. Knowing ahead of time some strategies to bounce back can make the healing part come more naturally to us.
How can our senses improve wellbeing?
It is how we use our senses that can make all the difference. Our senses are working at all times. The key is when we pay attention to them. Using mindfulness, by focusing on a different sense can bring us to the present moment.
Instead of having our minds caught up in worry about the past, or angst over the future, our senses bring us to the present. It allows our mind to go from a thinking mind to an observing mind. This allows our mind to rest and restore from the troubling thoughts, and simply enjoy being in the here and now.
Five senses to restore wellbeing
Here are suggestions on how we can use our senses to pay attention to our current environment and give our thinking mind a rest.
- Create a photo album on your phone of your most happy images. Whether it is smiling faces of family and friends, holiday snaps, or your favourite place. Having a go-to album to flick through can bring an immediate sense of love and gratitude. By focusing on these images, we take our attention to the feelings the pictures create – whether it is the joy the smiles of our loved ones brings or the awe and appreciation of breathtaking scenery or a stunning sunset.
- Go for a walk in nature. There are so many colours, shapes and textures in nature. More than what we have in our home or office environment. Taking a few minutes to appreciate the natural beauty of a garden or park can bring us to the present. Take time to notice the trees, the colours of the leaves, and feel your pulse relax and mind at ease.
- Stop and smell the roses. While you are out on your walk you can appreciate the delicate scent of flowers as you pass by. During my weekly routine I have moments when I pass a jasmine vine or lavender bush. I always slow down so I can linger in these fragrances for longer. I take deep breaths to inhale the beautiful scent these plants produce as I slowly walk by.
- Essential oils are another wonderful resource to have on hand. There are so many benefits of essential oils – they can be used for cooking, cleaning, to improve our health. I like to have a variety of essential oils for different moods. For example a lemongrass oil for when I want to be energised. Or a calming peaceful blend for when I want to slow down. Whether you diffuse the oils, or apply a roll-on oil to your skin, you can use the gift of the scent to bring you to the present moment.
- Find a loved one and enjoy an extended hug. Not a quick hug, but one that takes 30 or even 60 seconds. Pausing in this moment, feeling safe in your loved one’s embrace. This can bring a sense of calm and security.
- Do an activity you enjoy. Such as picking up a good book. Feel the texture of the pages as you immerse yourself into the story being told. Or pick up a pencil and draw or write. Expressing your creative energy is another way to switch your mind from an analytical state, stewing over the past or problem-solving your future, to simply being. Creating. In the moment.
- Brew a cup of herbal tea. Sit back and slowly enjoy the aroma and taste that the herbal tea releases. This is a healthy and refreshing way to enjoy your sense of taste.
- Enjoy some fresh, seasonal fruit. The flavour of a piece of fruit that is in season, fresh, juicy and sweet, it is hard to beat. As tempting as it is to comfort eat when you are feeling down, it is much better for our wellbeing to eat nourishing food. Our nervous system is fuelled by what we eat. In tough moments, it is better to reach for a nutritious option and enjoy its taste, rather than junk food which may temporarily bring joy, but cause inflammation in our system, and make it harder to calm down over time.
- There are a number of apps that run through guided mediations, positive affirmations, guided visualisations and other mindfulness practices. Popping in your headphones and taking some time to lay down and listen can bring your attention and focus to your present.
- Or, you may want to listen to something upbeat. Having a ‘pick me up’ playlist on your phone can be your go-to move for when you are feeling low. Turn up your music and even dance around – the physical movement will also help shift your tension.
So there you have it, five senses with multiple ways you can bring yourself into the present moment. Live mindfully. Enjoy the senses we have been given. Appreciate what is within, by observing our external environment.
When we are feeling down it can be hard to get ourselves back up. Knowing ahead of time some tools and activities that we can use enables us to bring our healing faster, restoring our wellbeing so that we can be a well being.