How Our Five Senses Affect Our Mental Health
Effective treatments for mental illnesses typically take place in a treatment center. Some centers require clients to attend therapy multiple times over the course of the day, while others require clients to attend weekly sessions. No matter how often treatment is, it can take weeks to months to experience newfound mental clarity.
For those that struggle on a daily basis with mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, it can be hard to continue treatment knowing that results take time. While a person goes through treatment, it is essential that they are taught mindfulness tools to help them cope with present distress. That way, they are able to find peace in the present moment, which helps them to stay engaged with long-term treatment sessions.
What Is Mindfulness?
In simple terms, mindfulness is awareness. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware in a given moment, specifically with acceptance and non-judgment. There are many common forms of mindfulness, such as meditation or deep breathing, that are readily available for the times you may need it most.
Mindfulness requires you to be intensely observant of your sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Anxiety, for example, causes a person to spend too much time reflecting on the past or worrying about the future. Anxiety takes a person away from their present-moment experience. Practicing mindfulness can help you to direct your energy and attention to the moment that lies in front of you.
Your Five Senses and Your Mental Health
Our five senses help us to stay in tune with what is happening around us. Our mind is often trying to interpret things that our senses are trying to tell us, especially identifying how they contribute to our wellbeing. By understanding how to address each of your five senses, you will be better able to connect to your mental health and the world around you.
- Sight – Your visual field can significantly impact how you feel. If your workspace is messy, you are likely to feel more anxious than if your workspace is organized. Bright, vibrant colors tend to bring about a more positive mood than dull or grey colors. You can even consider the power of a smile — when someone smiles at you, you are likely to experience a burst of energy.
- Smell – Soft, pleasing smells can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Certain fragrances, such as lavender, are known to also alleviate feelings of distress and promote better sleep. Every smell has a different effect on your mood.
- Sound – We are constantly experiencing the power of sound. Loud, unexpected sounds are frightening, while acoustic or soft instrumental music is pleasing to the ear. The type of music that you choose to listen to during a workout, for example, can help to boost your energy as well.
- Touch – If physical touch is your love language, you would understand the importance of touch in mental health. Feeling the warmth of the sun or taking a warm shower can significantly boost your mood.
- Taste – Eating favorable foods always seems to bring about pleasure. Eating something you may not like may cause quite the opposite effect. Taste produces a significant effect on our mood, emotions, and behaviors.
Knowing how your five senses can affect your mood might encourage you to reflect on your own interpretations of your senses. For example, you might want to identify your favorite sights, smells, sounds, touches, and tastes so that when you feel stressed or anxious, you will be able to identify healthy responses to alleviate your stress.
Using Your Five Senses to Engage With Mindfulness
There are endless grounding exercises available to you anywhere at any time. These exercises reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while allowing you to experience pleasure from the present moment.
The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try to work through the following exercises to connect you to your environment:
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – This exercise requires you to name five things you can see, four things you can physically feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This exercise helps you to shift the focus of your anxious mind away from the thoughts that may be causing you to feel anxious. Repeated use of this exercise can help you to reframe negative or harmful thought patterns.
- Mindful meditation – This exercise requires you to close your eyes and sit in a comfortable position. As you consciously bring attention to your breath, bring awareness to the sensations that you are experiencing in your environment. If you experience outside thoughts, visualize yourself attaching your thoughts to a cloud and letting them float away.
Your five senses play an essential part in your mental health. They help you to interpret thoughts and feelings about your surrounding environment and contribute to how you understand feelings of wellbeing. When mindfulness is combined with a conscious evaluation of our senses, a stressed mind can find clarity and peace in the present moment. It is important that people become aware of useful grounding techniques that can be applied anywhere at any time so that they can experience a sound mind. Achieve Concierge offers comprehensive mental wellness programs for those struggling with mental health problems. We specialize in treating various mental health conditions and believe that our expertise leads our clients to experience long-term mental wellness. We understand the toll that anxiety and depressive disorders can have on mental wellness, and believe that everyone deserves to experience clarity. For more information on the treatment therapy options we offer, call us at (858) 221-0344.
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