- Touch: Our bodies are constantly working to support us. Try noticing the sensation of the clothes on your skin, the support provided by your chair, the ground beneath your feet rooting you, OR try walking barefoot in the grass. Appreciating the natural world is a great way to manage anxiety and depression!
- Taste: Mindful eating is the practice of becoming aware of the flavors of our food, the feel of it on our tongues, the experience of crunching fresh vegetables in our teeth, the sensations it evokes in our bodies as we enjoy our favorite foods! Not only does it make eating a pleasant experience, it also helps to change our relationship to food which is often helpful in a world which is constantly valuing appearance and critical of what we put in our bodies.
- Smell: I am a big fan of essential oils and usually diffuse them in my office. Smell is strongly associated with memory and a pleasant smell can help evoke relaxation in the present moment. If you don’t have the option of diffusing – try getting an oil roller or mister and dilute your favorite scent with the appropriate carrier oil! Another great alternative it to take a mason jar, put a couple of cotton balls at the bottom with a few drops of your favorite oil. With the lid on, the smell will last you awhile and can be a little escape on stressful work day without the glaring eye of colleagues who may not share you appreciation for aromatherapy!
- Sound: Everyone needs a rocking play list! Make sure you have songs that pump you up and get you excited to tackle the day! Plus, have a second play list that helps you stay focused when you are working on a project. Maybe add a third playlist for when you need to relax! Get creative – there really is no wrong way to use music. If music isn’t possible – try closing your eyes and noticing the sounds around you. As I type this, I am aware of the clicking of the keys, the humming of my little space heater, the soft drone of the white noise machine, and the opening and closing of desk drawers in neighboring offices. That simple exercise helps keep me grounded in my present moment and allows me to manage future worries and past pains!
- Sight: In general, it is a good eye-dea (see what I did there) to take a moment to look away from all the screens around us – computer, phone, TV, tablets, etc. Try noticing the plethora of colors around you – what do these colors evoke, are they attached to any memories, do you have a favorite color you can bring into your everyday life? Maybe keep a coloring book on hand with a handful of crayons, markers, or pencils; you can create your own masterpiece in no time!