by CYDNEY COFFEY, CSU Communications Graduate Assistant
This past week, I encouraged everyone to tap into curiosity and joy. The focus was on the simple Smile. It takes a lot of energy to be negative. You must work at it, but smiling is painless. When you smile, it changes your mood. It relieves stress in various ways, and it helps you to be and/or stay positive. Focus your energy on smiling.
I challenged you all to practice relaxing both your mind and body. To look into figuring out what works for you. This could have been something as simple as playing music, taking a walk, drawing, taking time to clean up your space, or taking a nice, long hot bath. In the future, when you are dealing with a difficult emotion or tense situation, in addition to other self-care tactics, continue to try softening your face and smiling. Smiling will automatically tell your mind that you are doing okay- even if you are not feeling that way at that moment.
As I have mentioned before, we are all very busy human beings. Some of our day-to-day tasks tend to consume our time throughout the day. Have you ever taken a moment to observe the sounds around you? To pay attention to a particularly sweet or savory food that you are eating? To acknowledge the texture of things that you encounter? To pay attention to the aroma around you? Or to take time to visualize or distinguish your surroundings? If you caught on to what I was doing, you might have realized that I was pointing out our five senses.
Sensitivity is a lovely tool. By intentionally paying attention to your different senses, you can become more attuned to what is happening in and around you. This is something that is essential to understanding both yourself and the people in your life.
In the past, we have discussed different tactics to use to help release you of negativity and stressors as well as being mindful of your body through awareness. This upcoming week, I am encouraging everyone to tap into their insight and awareness. The focus will be on knowing your senses.
This upcoming week I challenge you to take five minutes and try prioritizing a particular sense- whether that is seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, or tasting- to see what you can notice. In order to do this, I am going to provide you with a mindfulness activity based on the five senses that you can use to help calm your mind, focus on your environment, and recenter.
This mindfulness activity is from the UVM Medical Center.
First, notice 5 things that you can see. Look around you and become aware of your environment. Try to pick out something that you do not usually notice or observe intricate details of an object around you.
Second, notice 4 things you can feel. Bring your attention to the things that you are currently feeling, such as the texture of your clothing or the smooth surface of the table you are resting your hands on.
Third, notice 3 things that you can hear. Listen for and notice things in the background that you do not normally notice. It could be the birds chirping outside, an appliance humming in the next room, or the footsteps of someone nearby.
Fourth, notice 2 things you can smell. Bring attention to scents that you usually filter out, either pleasant or unpleasant. Catch a whiff of the pine trees outside or food cooking in the kitchen.
Finally, notice 1 thing you can taste. Take a sip of a drink, chew gum, eat your food, or notice the current taste in your mouth.