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

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

Dreamstime Xxl 58366936

 

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.

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 5, Smell

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 5, Smell

Dreamstime Xxl 14969356

 

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, and our post on taste glimmers here.

Olfactory sensations, in my humble opinion, is one of the least valued and under-appreciated senses.

On the flip side, many people usually have a list of things that are “smell” glimmers. For example, the smell of rain (which I personally hate), newborn babies (because babies release pheromones), chocolate chip cookies, Dreamstime Xxl 117037073coffee, old books. Smells tend to also have the most consistent ability to pull up memories. The cologne from Abercrombie and Fitch will make me immediately think of a guy I dated for a few months in high school, almost 25 years later. This is because the part of our brains that process olfactory information (smells) is right next to the part that processes memories. For good, or for bad.

I want you to start a list of things that bring you scent glimmers that you can have easy access to when you are stress or anxious. Maybe it is essential oil blends. Or small candles or travel sized lotions (I am looking at you cucumber melon from Bath and Body Works). Even perfume and cologne samples can me fun and give you brain a new sensation to focus on.

And maybe begin to consider smells in your everyday life, not simply for anxious moment. If you find a soap scent you like, I encourage you to buy it and every time you wash your hands, take 20 seconds to simply enjoy the sensations of warm water and the scent that brings you joy.

And as we did with sounds, the lack of smells or what I call neutral smells can be glimmers.

As someone who experiences sensory processing issues, I know I used to never considered the impact smells had on my ability to regulate my nervous system. Though this is a post on glimmers, if you are neurodivergent and notice you struggle with feeling overwhelmed or irritable by noises, I encourage you to consider if smells are also in the picture. I know if there is a smell I find unpleasant, I struggle really hard to focus or pay attention because my brain wants to problem solve the smell. One of the things I had to do was begin using fragrance-free laundry soap because the scents they put in those soaps tend to overwhelm me, particularly when they are on bedding because they are designed to linger.

Dreamstime Xxl 140671829Consider if there are things in your everyday life that are not pleasant to your nose. And are there alternatives, whether that be fragrance-free or “natural” fragrances that don’t linger as long.

What are some of your favorite smells? Try our interactive meditation on smells with 10 minutes of Self Care!

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.

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 4, Taste

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 4, Tastes

Dreamstime Xxl 208950240

 

 

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 visual glimmers, you can find our 2nd post in the series here, or read more about auditory glimmers in our 3rd post in the series here.

Dreamstime Xxl 31114163Food can be a reliable coping strategy for most of us. If you are struggling with your food choices, it could be tied to past stressor as much as present stressors. When we are stressed, we like food that not only has positive memories tied to it but is also predictable. When we are feeling overwhelmed and burned out, the last thing we usually want to do is make another decision. This is why restaurant food and convenience foods are our go-to because we know exactly what fast food meal we are going to choose, and it will taste the same, whether you order it at 1pm on a Tuesday in Denver or 10pm on a Sunday in Chicago. Our overwork brains delight in this predictability.

The key to taste glimmers is to not only know what they are ahead of time, but also know ourselves well enough to predict when future us will be drawn to the predictability of Chipotle or McDonalds.

Most of us are likely familiar with our comfort foods. I encourage you to start listing them, but also include a note along each one as to why they are your comfort food. What about that specific food? Ask yourself what memories, visuals come up when you think of that food. (For more guidance, check out the 10 minutes of Self Care taste glimmers meditation). Maybe you will notice there are parts of the glimmer you can hold on to more than other parts. For example, maybe a homemade meal reminds you of your grandma. Likely, your grandma made you feel safe or taken care of. So, your brain will push you towards that meal to feel safe and taken care of. But what if simply pulling up those memories with your grandma make you feel that way and you don’t need the food.Dreamstime Xxl 6360828

Another way to use taste to create an experience that forces your brain on the taste and away from anxious and/or ruminating thoughts. I usually recommend clients choose something that is spicy or sour, or another strong flavor, that is easy to carry around with them. Maybe cinnamon gum, lemon drops or ginger candies. This works best if you are not naturally drawn to those flavors or mouth sensations. When you are feeling anxious, use these candies to give your brain a sensation to dial into and then you may notice how much you hate cinnamon gum because it is too spicy on your tongue, and you are no longer worrying about the thing you were worrying about.

What are some of your go-to comfort foods?

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.

Date Night Ideas

 

Date Night Ideas

We often hear people struggle with ideas for date night. And though date nights don’t have to involve leaving the house, spending money, or even doing things at night, it is nice to sometimes hear about new and fun activities. With this post, we are hoping to include local events, novel ideas, or stay-at-home activities all in one place! If you have an idea to include to the list, please email us at info@areasofgrowth.com.

 

Tuftlove Logo 350x.pngHolly recently spent an afternoon taking a tufting class with her partner at Tuft Love in Superior, CO. Tuft Love not only hosts classes but also sells tufting equipment worldwide. With each purchase, part of the proceeds are donated to organizations that support survivors of gender-based violence in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information about Tuft Love and their tufting classes, check out their website here.

 

 

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 3, Sounds

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 3, Sounds

 

Dreamstime 114397664

 

 

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 visual glimmers, you can find our 2nd post in the series here.

I want you to take notes on ideas you have with each of these posts, so if you need to stop and open a note-taking app or grab a notebook, do that now.

Lavc58.18.100Now if you have your list of “sight” glimmers, some of them may also fall under your list of “auditory” glimmers.

Music is one of my favorite glimmers. Choose songs that bring a smile to your face, make you want to dance, bring up positive memories. Start a playlist with these songs and title it something that will remind you that these are part of your glimmer coping strategies. This makes it easier to find when you are stress or anxious. I don’t know if other streaming services are similar, but Spotify has a “smart shuffle” option that will include songs in the shuffle that are like the songs already in the playlist which helps to find more songs to add. Or, if you have some way to play them, bust out those old burned CDs you have in storage.

Auditory glimmers could also include things like audiobooks, ASMR YouTube clips, podcasts, or even shows. One of my go-to shows is conveniently titled “Stress Relief, parts 1& 2” episodes of The Office. For those of you who know The Office these are the episodes that include Dwight’s fire drill and the team’s Red Cross CPR training.

And auditory glimmers don’t even have to include sounds; an auditory glimmer can also be silence. As someone who struggles with Dreamstime 27602932sensory processing issues, I often seek silence. Spending my lunch hour eating in my car, warmed by the sun, in absolute silence brings me joy. Or being out in nature, where there are nature sounds, but no talking, no car sounds, can be very relaxing.

What would be on your auditory glimmers list? Check out the 10 minutes of Self Care auditory glimmer meditation!

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.

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 2, Sight

5 + 1 Coping with Anxiety & Stress: Part 2, Sight

Dreamstime 4298446

 

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.

Now that you know what a glimmer feels like, let’s start expanding your coping toolbox. In this post, we are going to focus on glimmers that we can experience with our eyes. If you pulled up a picture of baby animals during the Introduction post, you already have a head start.

I want you to take notes on ideas you have with each of these posts, so if you need to stop and open a note-taking app or grab a notebook, do that now.

Dreamstime 128381503

What images bring you that positive, warm feeling? I encourage you to start with photos you may already have saved on your phone. Maybe create a new folder in your photos app that you can save the photos too, so you have quick and easy access when you are feeling stress, anxious, overwhelmed, or irritable. Yes, irritability or grumpy is often another symptom of stress or anxiety.

Dreamstime 24545510

Are there social media accounts that bring glimmers. Going back to the baby animal theme, from the Introduction post, maybe there are rescue groups or cat videos accounts you can follow. And it doesn’t simply have to be pictures or images, but perhaps there are accounts that focus on funny memes or a Buzzfeed list of funniest tweets.

Dreamstime 100566601

And then there are real life visuals that bring that positive feeling. Maybe it is sunrises or sunsets. Maybe it is watching your partner or your kids having fun or doing something they are good at. Maybe it is just watching your pet be relaxed in your presence.

Start a list of your visual glimmers and check out the visual glimmers 10 minutes of Self Care meditation here!

Dreamstime 31705876

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.

Verified by MonsterInsights