The 5 Sense Method to feel calmer and happier
Feeling out of sorts but can’t quite put your finger on why?
Think about yesterday, last week or even the last month.
The 5 sense method is a tool Dr Sarah Vohra Consultant Psychiatrist has developed to try and work out what might be going on. It will help you pinpoint your life stresses more easily, develop a toolkit to manage them and help you feel calmer and happier.
Pinpoint your stresses
You experience the world through your senses: your sight, hearing, smell, sense of touch (feel) and taste. So it makes sense that when you are feeling on edge or down, you use these senses to ask yourself if there is anything you may have seen, heard, smelled, felt or tasted (not necessarily all at once) that could possibly provide an explanation.
It may be that you have seen something negative on social media (SEE) or spent the afternoon with an overly critical boss (HEAR). Maybe you overlooked your usual daily breathwork (SMELL) or woke up feeling less than perfect (FEEL). Perhaps it is only mid- morning but you’re on to your second double espresso to get you through a particularly busy work shift (TASTE).
By doing this simple exercise, you can slowly piece together the jigsaw of the day and identify possible stresses.
Ask yourself:- what have your senses come in to contact with that could explain why you feel the way you do?
1. SEE – Anything you have seen? This may include:-
a) Spending too much time on your screen
b)Scrolling highlight reals on social media
c) Seeing an ex partner.
2. HEAR. Anything you have heard? This may include: –
a) Your inner monologue telling you that you’re not good enough
b) Struggling to listen to your internal no
c) Criticism from a boss or partner?
3. SMELL. Anything you have smelled. This may include:-
a) Not managed to go outside and smell the fresh air.
b) Struggling to smell the BS. Are you getting pulled into people’s ideals on social media?
c) Not taken any time out to practice self-care?
4. FEEL. Anything you have felt? This may include:-
a) Feeling worried constantly?
b) Feeling under pressure? Have you taken too much on?
c) Feeling less confident adjusting to a new way of life?
5. TASTE. Anything you have tasted? This may include:-
a) Recent change in diet? Are you eating more than usual?
b) Consuming more stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks?
c) Perhaps you have not been eating enough?
The 5 sense toolkit; empowering you to create ways to feel calmer and happier
Depending on what stresses come up for you, create yourself a 5 sense survival toolkit for each day. Here are some suggestions on things that might help.
See – do you need to set a limit on your screen use? Curate your social media feed? Or say no to meet ups/Facetime with certain individuals? You might choose to Facetime a positive family member/ friend, read a book or curl up with a good box set
Hear – do you need to practice regular positive self-talk? Exercise your inner no so you’re not feeling overwhelmed? Perhaps call a friend, listen to an inspiring podcast or audiobook?
Smell – do you need to set regular time aside to go outside and take in some fresh air? Have some time out to run yourself a nice bath, light a candle or practice mindfulness or meditation?
Feel – is there anyone you can call upon to lighten the pressure you put yourself under? Can you delegate tasks so you are not taking on too much? If you are feeling worried, Dr Vohra has a helpful tool “The Worry Dump” over on her Instagram Page and within the book which looks at how we can park our worries and stop them from snowballing out of control.
Taste – take the time to plan out your meals and snacks for the day. Think about cutting down your caffeine and alcohol consumption which may be ramping up any negative feelings you may be experiencing.
Be sure to check in with how these changes have made you feel at the end of each day, week and month of consistently putting them into practice.
Dr Sarah Vohra Consultant Psychiatrist, Author of ‘The Mind Medic’