At my first counseling appointment for postpartum depression, I learned about ways to control my anxiety. We discussed using the five senses to control anxiety and ease worries.
If you are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, I urge you to speak with a doctor or a counselor. I am not a professional, this information has just been helpful in dealing with my anxiety.
I have found that focusing on the senses helps me relax and take my mind off of my anxiety and my worry.
This can be a physical object or a color that is calming or soothing to look at, or it can be a memory. For me, it’s a memory of my perfect nap on the beach in Mexico. I use this sense most often when I am trying to sleep but can’t because of worry. I focus on this memory—everything about it: the sun, the breeze, the sounds, the smell, the sand, the crystal clear water, my husband next to me, etc. I envision it in my mind and it takes me back there and it’s very calming to me.
Scents can be very relaxing. I have quiet a few scents that I enjoy like coffee brewing or the smell of baby after a bath, but my all time favorite is that beachy coconut, cocoa butter smell. I have the ALBA BOTANICA MASSAGE OIL,KUKUI NUT, 8.5 FZ, EA-1 (affililate link) that is the perfect smell. I can rub some on my skin and enjoy the beachy smell and it’s relaxing—and if I’m lucky, I can convince hubby to give me a massage using this oil, which is even better!
I have always found music relaxing and calming, especially Old Blue Chair from Kenny Chesney’s Be As You Are album (affiliate link). If I am feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed I keep my music handy and let the soothing sounds calm me.
I also find other sounds relaxing like laughter, water running in a stream, and I love the sound of the ocean. I also find the sound of a fan calming.
This one immediately sent up red flags for me because I am an emotional eater, but I was quickly informed that something soothing for the taste sense should not be food or something calorie dense like chocolate, but should be something soothing like a cup of coffee or tea, drinking cold water, or sucking on a peppermint.
I love to sit down with a warm cup of coffee and simply enjoy it. I enjoy a variety of flavored coffees with sugar-free syrups and half & half. I also love the occasional flavored coffee creamers. Coffee is something I really enjoy and it’s calming to sit down and enjoy a cup in my favorite mug.
This one took a little thinking for me because I tend to be more internal and physical objects aren’t a big deal for me. The counselor gave me a stress ball to get me thinking about touch. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I have quite a few things I find soothing to the touch.
The most soothing touch is my husband’s. I love to hold his hand or to have his warm arms wrapped around me. It’s amazing how soothing just the touch of his hand can be to me.
I also love the feel of baby’s cuddles, of fresh sheets on my feet, covering myself up in a big quilt, and the warmth of sunshine. All of these things are soothing to me.
I have found these good to think about and have had interesting conversations with my husband and family about what soothes them.
I challenge you to think about what soothes you for each of these senses—feel free to share in the comments!