5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 6, Touch
anxiety | Breath | Breathing | coping strategies | cortisol | fight-or-flight | glimmers | heart rate | limbic system | Nervous system | stress | stress response

April 1, 2024

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 6, Touch

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If you haven’t already read the 5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Introduction to Glimmers, I would recommend you check that post out first to have context.

And to read more about glimmers, you can find our post on visual glimmers here, our post on auditory glimmers here, our post on taste glimmers here, and our post on smell glimmers here.

Touch is one of the more researched senses when it comes to stress relief. And it is easier to work towards less anxiety with co-regulation, which touch makes easier.Dreamstime Xxl 65332748

Research has shown that a 30-second hug, with someone we feel safe with, helps reduce stress by releasing serotonin (makes us feel happy), dopamine (makes us feel fulfilled), and oxytocin (makes us feel loved). Now, if hugs sound like a terrible idea to you, that could be for a couple of reasons. The first, is you must feel safe. There may be a reason you resist hugs from the mother-in-law you know complains about you or the partner that you’ve been fighting with all day. Or maybe you are on sensory overload and any sensation, even a positive one like a hug, might feel like too much in the moment.

Another way to release these “feel good chemicals” in the brain with through animals. Pets in our home can help up relax in several different ways. Petting animals often create a sensory seeking sensation in our brains. We want to know what their fur, scales, skin feel like under our fingers and hands. But also, our pets being calm in our presence helps us be also relax (and the reverse is true, if we are on edge, are pets are also on edge). This creates a co-regulation experience. And our animals seek touch unapologetically. When they want their butts scratched, they demand it.

There are other touch sensations that bring us those positive emotions. If you can gather your items in one spot, great! If not, make a list that not only includes the item, but where it is located so when you feel stressed or anxious, you can gather them with minimal effort. Things that tactile-y pleasant to you. Maybe that is a soft blanket, fuzzy socks, satin/silk scarf, lotions/oils (double bonus with smells!), weighted blankets, anything that feels decadent. There might be things with textures that are smooth, grainy or things that have temperature differences, like heating pads or cool clothes. Also consider if there are things that feel fun to touch, like buttons that click, suitcases with smooth wheels, things you like to chew on, the vibration of a motorcycle engine.

Dreamstime Xxl 93324074What are you go-to “touch” glimmers? Join us for another interaction 10 minutes of Self Care when we focus on things that bring us joy!

Any information provided about medical matters is purely educational and the author is not a medical professional and is not recommending any specific intervention for any specific person or giving medical advice. Please consult your own medical provider for information about your own situation

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not create any type of therapeutic relationship. For specific assistance, please consult your own medical and/or mental health provider.



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