A Quick Mindfulness Technique to Manage Anxiety
In recent years, mindfulness has become an integral part of the conversation about mental health. The interesting thing, though, is that many people do not really know what mindfulness actually means. One client said to me when I introduced the concept, “Oh, you want me to sit on the floor and say ‘OM’ right? Yeah, I don’t have time to sit for 30 minutes doing nothing!” I laughed and told her that although there are types of meditation that involve such activities, there are also multiple other ways to practice mindfulness that can be quick and easy.
So… what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is basically present moment attention to what is going on inside and outside of you. For example, if we are walking from our car, talking on the phone, and checking our messages all at the same time, are we really paying attention to any one of those activities? Are we noticing the air as it passes by us? Or the distant sound of traffic? Not really! A simple thing like walking from our car can be a great time to practice mindfulness! A moment like this is an opportunity to notice the sounds around us. What do we hear? Birds chirping? The traffic? People talking? The wind rustling through the trees? Notice what we feel! How does the ground feel as we walk on it? How does our clothes feel on our bodies? How does the wind feel on our face? And so on.
So, why is it important? When we are constantly looking at things that happened in the past that we can not change, we tend to feel depressed and sad. When are constantly looking at the future to things that we can not change, we tend to feel a lot of anxiety. However, if we look at the now, and truly focus on the now, we actually can begin to feel peace. A lot of anxiety is caused by focusing on the “what ifs” in life. What if I do not get that job? What if that person does not call me back? What if they do? What if I mess up the big presentation? What if I make myself a fool in front of my boss? What if? What if? What if? If we step back and look at it, it’s understandable how stressful and anxiety-producing that line of thinking can be! So instead of looking at the past or the present, if we can encourage ourselves to look at the now, we can ground ourselves.
I would like to share a very quick and easy grounding mindfulness meditation technique. It’s one of my favorites!
To do this, I would like you to answer the following questions as quickly as you possibly can. I want you to look around where you are at and…
- Name five colors you see in the room. Did you do that? Great!
- Now, name four things you feel on your body. (Like how the chair feels supporting you, or your clothing on your body.) Easy? Cool!
- Now, name three sounds you hear around you. Done? Yay!
- Now, take a deep breath through your nose and name two scents you smell.
- And lastly, name one thing to taste. Did you do it? This one can be hard! If you do not have anything in your mouth, you can suck in some air and taste the air.
How was that experience for you? Were you able to go through all of your five senses and answer the questions? If you did it correctly and answered the questions quickly, then hopefully you were able to only focus on the questions and nothing else! If that was the case, YAY! That is mindfulness! If not, that is okay. Try it again sometime!
Also, for some people, one or several of the senses is more comfortable or easier than the others. That is totally fine. I have some clients that just like the colors. I have them name all of the colors that they see in the area around them. The point is to not be punitive or say, “oh my goodness, you are doing it wrong!” It is to encourage you to come back into your body and notice your surroundings instead of getting lost in our heads so much and swimming in anxiety.
Anxiety is an absolutely normal part of life. We live in a busy, busy world. It is normal and understandable that we get sucked into it! That’s why it is important to take some time for ourselves to breath and just… be. There are multiple ways to be mindful and the five senses mindfulness exercise is just one of them! If you are interested in learning more, please reach out. I would love to chat with you more about it!
Schedule a Session
Free Chat (phone-based) FREE
Not sure if a particular therapist is right for you? Use a free 10 minute phone-based chat to get to know a therapist before your first full session with them. Please note that 10-minute chats are limited to one use per therapist.
Half Session (phone-based) $49
These 25 minute phone-based sessions are a great way to quickly check-in with your therapist on an issue, update them on progress or to simply maintain your goals
Full Session (phone-based) $99
These full sessions are 50-minute long phone-based sessions and can be particularly useful to really dive into where you are in life and where you would like to go.
My name is Chisato, which means "1000 homelands." Just like my name, I try to be a "home" for my clients and create a safe, supportive therapeutic environment. I am passionate about helping you explore your strengths and difficulties as well as co-developing new skills for managing life’s many obstacles.