We’ve experienced firsthand how anxiety impacts our health, relationships, work and academics. Tuning into your senses can really help.
Researchers have found that when you become more sensitive to the subtle physical cues of your body, you can actually begin to influence how you feel mentally and emotionally.
Here are three exercises to help increase the sensitivity of your sensory awareness, as well boost the flexibility of your attention—two skills that are helpful when trying to manage anxiety.
Body Scan 🙆
Develop an awareness of yourself as an observer of your physical sensations, rather than being fully caught up or entangled in them. This is called metacognitive awareness, which has been shown to help with anxiety and stress and the thoughts and sensations that often accompany them.
Shifting Sensory Awareness ✋
If mindful breathing isn’t for you, this exercise is a great alternative. It will help to lessen emotional reactivity and make it easier to redirect your attention when caught up in a loop of anxious thoughts.
Sounds are always there—in the distance, close by and even within your own body. When you focus on sound with presence and open curiosity, then the simple act of listening can become a source of stress-relieving calm.
Just like the breath, focusing on your senses is immediately accessible and a great way to connect with the anxiety-reducing power of mindfulness throughout the day.