How to Cope with Stress by Soothing Your Senses

May 16, 2022WELL-BEING

Female Surfing the Moment

Heightened stress and anxiety are mainstream these days. We’re all feeling it. I have a tendency to lash out under stress. It isn’t pretty. So, my therapist showed me a unique technique called Surfing the Moment. It helps interrupt negative thoughts and diffuse heightened emotions. It’s been a soul-soothing well-being gamechanger for me.

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.

Imagine you’ve cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for your family. You washed an absurd number of dishes, worked all day, made a grocery run, and folded heaps of laundry. While watching the divisive evening news, a family member says something insensitive. Another family member leaves a dirty dish on the counter. And another pees on the toilet seat leaving it for you to clean. Stressed yet?

When life is chaotic, our bodies release persistent cortisol. This suppresses our immune systems. It also causes weight gain and gastrointestinal and heart issues. So how do we cope with our stress before it impacts our health and well-being?


When we’re frustrated, angry or stressed, it’s important to give ourselves a time-out. We need to shift our focus to calming our five senses. Yep, all five. Research shows soothing our collective senses helps activate our limbic system. The limbic system is connected to our endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. It processes and regulates our emotions. 

Surfing the Moment requires we write down our list of soothers. Here are mine to get you started:

SIGHT – Gazing at the hills behind our home brings me peace.

SOUND – I’m overstimulated by sound, so silence is key.

TASTE – I’ve found drinking chai latte rather than inhaling a bag of chips is the wiser choice.

SMELL – I love the calming scent of Palo Santo incense, a South American holy wood. 

TOUCH – Nothing beats curling-up with my canine stress balls, Georgi and Bodhi.

Until you know your Surf the Moment routine like the back of your hand, keep your list of sensory soothers handy. I kept mine on my phone screen savor until they became second nature. When you feel your emotions begin to bubble up, give yourself a soothing time-out. Go through your sensory list. Breathe. And trust that Surfing the Moment will give you all the self-compassion and calm you need. 

As always, thank you for being here and sharing the articles you appreciate most. Be sure to subscribe to occasional future posts below. For bonus inspiration, my curated Pinterest Boards and Instagram Stories are yours for the taking. And if you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment or reach out via email. My mind and inbox are always open. —xo


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