To help you succeed in making rapid stress relief a habit, pick the strategy that resonates with you the most. Then practice it, because rapid stress relief takes practice.
Here’s how to create a stress relief habit:
1. Smell is considered to be the most emotionally evocative of all the senses. If you don’t already know what scents that are comforting and calming try remembering the scents you loved in childhood or what you enjoy now. Use fresh herbs, essential oils, a scented body cream or perfume, or sachets of whatever smell is stress relieving for you.
2. Taste is dynamic for some people in relieving stress. If it works this way for you, find a soothing taste that comforts you and focus on that instead of your stress. Feel and taste the food in your mouth. Slowly drink a refreshing beverage. Don’t eat something that will cause stress in the future – for example, a gallon of ice cream or a big bag of potato chips.
3. Sound is a very important component of the everyday sensory experience. Choose some sounds that are soothing to you and replay them in your head. Music experiences are non-lingual and non-discursive, bypassing conscious thought to act directly on the emotions and the body. Listening to music can trigger pleasurable memories and feelings that relieve stress.
4. Sight for some people overrides all other senses. When you are stressed look at something beautiful. Surround yourself with comforting visual stimulation such as mementos or uplifting photos or art. Just glancing at a beloved person can lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.
5. Touch is a wonderful stress reliever; use whatever calms you. Hug your pet. Try a scented cloth made of a fabric that you find pleasing to the touch.
6. Experiment with combining sensory experiences. If you are using an ocean scent, to double the stress relief, add the sound of waves lapping on the shore or look at a photo of the sea.
7. Visualization is a skill based on the senses. One of the useful characteristics of visualization is the ability of images to bring other senses more vividly to life by creating a complete picture. Remember or create a place where you are happy and calm.
It’s not easy to remember to use your senses when stressed. At first, it will feel easier to cope in your usual way. Rapid stress relief takes practice but it is worth it. Once you have a variety of sensory tools you can depend on, you’ll be able to handle even the toughest of situations.