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Mindful use of the senses

One of the basics of being mindful is simple – Live ‘in the moment’.
Let’s face it how can you enjoy life right now if you are always thinking about problems in the past or problems that might occur in the future? How many of us totally enjoy this very moment? Not enough, I’d say. If you are aware of your surroundings and senses fully in the moment, then you will feel more relaxed, more at peace, more fulfilled and more real. Awareness is great for anyone, but can also be very helpful for beating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, BPD, OCD and other mental distractions. Mindfulness is a very powerful practice and using your senses is part of that.

Just think about your five special senses:

  • Sight – look at photos, beautiful pictures, go out and see lovely scenery – be totally aware of the colours, shapes, patterns, darkness, brightness…
  • Sound – listen and I mean really listen, and you will hear sounds you would not normallympick up; that tiny bird singing in a tree nearby, a child’s voice… It could be anything or nothing. Maybe you will find yourself in complete silence, but for most of us this isn’t the case. Be totally aware of any noises.
  • Touch – I love different textures, from my soft furry cats to screwed up paper when I am having a clear out (I love clear outs too!). From relaxing to stimulating, our sense of touchcan be as ignored as the rest of our senses but being aware can even make washing up a more relaxing thing to do; warm water, bubbles…
  • Smell – For uplifting, there’s coffee, cakes baking, flowers like roses and maybe even fried onions, but for relaxing, how about a walk in the fresh country air, or the smell of cut grass,dewy morning air, lavender oil… There are scents all around you.
  • Taste – This has to be my favourite way to get myself back ‘in the moment’. These are never ending – two of my personal favourites are strong flavours like curry (comforting) and coffee(stimulating), but I like to practise eating and taking in every flavour so that I can work out the recipe – herbs, onions, spices – a bit like the contestants have to do on ‘Masterchef’. It’s a great way to really enjoy your food, aid digestion, and  appreciate the wonderful sense of taste we are blessed with. You can do this at any time – when out and about or at home combined with awareness of your breathing as a kind of mindful meditation. It’s a great coping skill. It could just be a few minutes, or half hour, but when you begin to reap the benefits, you can decide for yourself how often you want to practise it.

Sometimes I sit and contemplate what I can remember from the last week in terms of  sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. It helps me to be in touch with recent goings on, and helps my memory so maybe it will work for you.

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