The Five Senses Bringing You to the Present
By: Nancy Hawley, MA, LMHC ~
Most of our occurrences in life are experienced through our senses; touch, taste, feel, hear, see, smell. This is a mindfulness exercise that will help bring you back into the present. This exercise can be helpful when you find your mind drifting back to painful memories, you are being triggered by past memories, or feel your anxiety heightening. This exercise can be done almost anywhere, in the moment. It can takes just a few seconds or a few minutes. I suggest using it as long as you are in a state of hyperarousal, using deep breathing, while focusing on your senses.
Hear: What 5 things can you hear? The sound of your breathing? Far away cars? The humming of the furnace? Take your time to hone in on sounds around you.
See: What 4 things can you see? Look for the breeze blowing through the trees. Is there a particular object that catches your eye? What colors stand out for you?
Touch: What 3 things can you feel? Run your hands over the chair you are sitting in. Feel the fabric on the clothes you are wearing – is it soft, nubby, smooth? Rub your hand over your skin, it can feel soothing. Really take the time to feel what is around you.
Smell: What 2 things can you smell? Is there a perfume or woodsy smell? Are there cooking smells in the air? Can you smell what season you are in?
Taste: What is one thing you can taste? Is there something nearby you can put in your mouth to savor a taste? Can you run your tongue over your teeth and pick up a taste?
When you are through with this exercise you should feel more grounded, more present and your anxiety has decreased. Your mind is in the present moment. Firmly place your feet on the floor and breathe. Ground yourself. Be calm. Be present.