Heightened stress and anxiety are mainstream these days. I feel it. I’m sure you do, too. I have a tendency to lash out under stress. It isn’t pretty. So, my therapist showed me a technique called Surfing the Moment. It helps interrupt negative thoughts and diffuse heightened emotions. It’s a well-being gamechanger.
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 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 can cause a suppressed immune system, weight gain, and gastrointestinal and heart issues. So how do we cope with our stress before it impacts our health and well-being?
HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS BY SOOTHING YOUR SENSES
When we’re frustrated, angry or stressed, we have to give ourselves a time-out. It’s important we focus on calming our five senses. Yep, all five. Soothing the five senses helps activate our limbic system which regulates our emotions. It’s a good idea to write down your list of soothers ahead of time. These are mine:
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 – Palo Santo is a South American holy wood I burn each day via stick or candle.
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 until they became second nature. Every time you feel your emotions bubbling up, give yourself a time-out. Go through your list. And trust that Surfing the Moment will give you all the self-compassion and calm you need.
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