Mental Health Tip: How to Lower Anxiety on The Spot

Mental Health Tip: How to Lower Anxiety on The Spot

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it has been observed in the United States since 1949.

There used to be a time when mental health, depression, anxiety.. they were all looked down and frowned upon. Our parents and grandparents weren’t “allowed” to show or express feelings, as that would make them appear weak. People would tell you to “get over it” or go for a walk in order to “feel better”. And while things have gotten radically better since, there’s still more research, more patience and more understanding needed on the topic.

Now as a person diagnosed with depression, ADHD and one who experiences periodic anxiety episodes, I wanted to share an exercise that is extremely powerful. This exercise will allow you to tap into your mindfulness, pay attention to the present, lower stress and calm anxiety. I encourage you to do this every day. It will literally take you NO more than 3 minutes, and if you do it every day, you will help develop a very powerful new habit, that will contribute to your overall success and happiness.

This is called: The Five Senses Exercise.

The goal of this exercise is to calm the mind by employing all five senses to distract you from thoughts, and shift your attention to your environment and the present moment.

First, take 2 deep breaths.
Then, look around and name 5 things that you can see.
After that, try to notice 4 things that you can feel (touch).
Then, notice 3 things that you can hear.
Next, notice 2 things you can smell.
And finally, notice 1 thing you can taste. You could take a sip of something, chew gum or notice the current taste in your mouth.

Cliff notes version:
See 5
Feel 4
Hear 3
Smell 2
Taste 1 

Right now as I’m sitting down I see my laptop, my phone, I see the windows (and love how much light is coming through the open blinds). As I’m looking out the window I see the birdfeeder on the patio, and lastly the cup of lavender chamomile tea I made before sitting down to write this blog. The 4 things I can feel are: the surface of the fable in front of me. I feel the leather of the chair I’m sitting on and the texture of the carpet underneath my feet. And… I feel the fabric of my shirt. I can hear Frank Sinatra playing in the background, birds chirping outside, and the neighbor’s dog. I can smell Jasmin and palo Santo from the candle that’s lit and the cotton fresh scent of the body lotion I have on. The cotton scent one from Bath and Body Works. I’ve been obsessed with this since I was 19. For taste, I’ll have a sip of this… now cold tea.

So that’s the exercise in a nutshell. Extremely powerful and helpful in managing feelings of anxiety, and I hope that it can help someone else out there as it has helped me.

- Alexandra (VREA Founder & CEO)

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