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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Use All Five Senses to Neutralize Stress: Life coach Susan Moody presents simple techniques to help overcome stress.

Sep 30, 2015 07:23PM ● By Susan F. Moody

Statistics reveal that in today’s world, we are so busy that we are in a constant state of stress—so much so that being stressed out feels normal. It’s hard to know when we are truly stressed and should do something about it. Everyone has their own trigger that tells them they are in stress overload, and recognizing that we are stressed is the first step in reducing its effect.

The quickest, simplest and most effective way to handle stress is to engage our five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Perhaps a picture of our family or a favorite vacation photo will calm us. If we do not have a physical reminder, we can always close our eyes and visualize a peaceful situation like walking along the beach. Visual stimulation helps revitalize our mind.

Hearing the ocean waves or relaxing music can be relaxing, or maybe a more upbeat sound will get us out of our stressful state. Pleasing sounds help maintain a positive, productive frame of mind. Sometimes the best sound is silence, so we can take a short meditation break and surround ourselves with it.

Touch boosts serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Pet a dog or cat. Soak in a hot bath. Hold a comforting object. For a headache, rub the temples, or ask a friend for a hug or mini-massage.

If we tend to zone out or freeze when stressed, we can surround ourselves with smells that are energizing and invigorating. If we tend to become overly agitated under stress, we can look for scents that are comforting and calming. Keep an essential oil on hand that reminds us of a pleasant experience.

That leaves the sense of taste. Just as with smells, a favorite treat can be relaxing; sucking on a piece of peppermint, sipping a flavored coffee or having a piece of dark chocolate is good as an attitude adjuster.

If none of these are working, then it is time to get moving. Go for a short walk, dance around or even squeeze a stress ball. The key is to do something to reenergize ourselves. It just makes sense to reduce our stress so we can have more peace and joy in life.

Susan F. Moody is the founder and director of U-SUCCEED. As a certified coach, author and speaker she helps people reconnect with their passion and purpose to live a life you love. For more information, visit

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