16 seconds to bliss?
Okay…the title may be a tiny bit misleading…but stay with me and I’ll give you tools to achieve this bliss that I mentioned. It isn’t as far away as you might think!
Did you know???
Stress is damaging to our mental and physical state.
Your immune system can actually weaken from excessive stress in your life. If you haven’t experienced that firsthand, you probably know someone who has. I have lived it and am still picking up the pieces from the fallout.
When I started feeling like my body was falling apart, it was as a result of many months (maybe years) of sustained mental and emotional stress. It has taken continual therapy, commitment and time to get to where I can finally say that I’m in the best mental health of my life. However, my physical health still suffers. I can feel tiny improvements, and that does give me hope. Baby steps, right???
I have always read that once you got the inside “right,” then the outside would follow. It is a painfully slow process, but I am seeing positive changes.
Actually getting that stress under control and calming your body and mind can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task. I’ve been there.
Don’t despair! With a little preparation and practice, you can achieve the impossible and take action rather than just reacting to the stressors in your life. You have the ability within you to regain control and not let your emotions destroy you and those around you.
Self-soothing is one of my favorite aspects of self-care because you experience the results right away. You are creating a soothing experience for yourself that will help calm you and guide you to peacefulness…or, at the very least, get your heart rate under control and clear your mind enough for rational thought.
Some people call it a self-soothe kit, others a calm down kit or self-care survival kit. Whatever you call it, I recommend having one within reach at all times. There is no limit to the items you can include. Even suggestions for actions (i.e. bubble bath, take a long walk, meditate, etc.) can be soothing.
I recommend that your kit have 1 item to help soothe and comfort you through each of your 5 senses…sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
What would you choose to comfort yourself through your 5 senses?
My portable self-soothe kit:
- Sight – I love looking at a calming image, one I can get lost in. At the moment, that image is an art piece by KDMorris titled Bird’s Eye View. I have a pocket-sized version of this piece for my self-soothe kit, but I also have a larger print at home in a place where I can view it daily. There’s just something about the movement and serenity. The whole mood of the painting is peace to me. Whether it’s imagining the movement of waves or the sway of tree branches…or the peacefulness of the bird perched on her finger…it centers me. Kelley has other amazing art pieces over at www.kdmorris.net, and she’s also a pretty awesome human being that has built a life around art and yoga and wellness. I can’t wait to get some time to check out the gallery and wine shop that she and her husband have in Holden Beach, North Carolina.
- Hearing – If you have access to your cell phone or a radio, you can have a song cued that will inspire you and take your focus off of the immediate crisis. Music is powerful. I also keep song lyrics (Fight Song by Rachel Platten or I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash) and lines of my favorite poetry (Robert Frost or William Wordsworth) tucked into the page of my self-soothe “book” kit. I can sing the lyrics in my head, aloud in the car or shower, or just focus on the meaning those lyrics and poetry hold for me. Changing gears like that really helps me center and get a grip.
- Smell – This is one of my favorite soothing senses. Essential oils and oil blends are small and can be tucked into your kit. I prefer bold scents that can really snap me out of my mental quicksand. Many times, I use scents that remind me of happy memories. This is totally customizable. Perfume, lotions and coffee beans also work!
- Taste – A piece of hard candy that can be mindfully eaten will help you be more aware and bring your attention into yourself. I like Lemon Heads and peppermints, but there are other excellent choices. Choose what you like best.
- Touch – Touch is a great way to anchor your emotions and get control. I have touchstone pieces of jewelry, smooth rocks (usually pink quartz), stress balls, or incredibly soft fabric swatches. Whatever you can use to focus on the feeling at your fingertips will work.
Sometimes you only need to soothe through one of your senses, but sometimes you need all 5. If you need to go through your entire kit multiple times, that is totally fine. You learn what works best for you.
Having a portable kit is great for when you’re away from home, and you can create a larger self-soothing box for when you are home. It just needs to be available to you during times of stress. I find using mine to be very relaxing.
Breathing is something that we take for granted. It tends to go on without our direct input…even when we’re sleeping! Yay for oxygen!!!
Controlling your breath is the fastest and easiest way to lower your heart rate and calm your frazzled mind. People who need to focus for a living (marksmen and athletes, for example) use tactical breathing to improve their focus and stop stress in its tracks. There are many other names for this controlled breathing…
Here’s where you learn 16 Seconds to Bliss!!!
It really is simple to calm down with immediate results.
- Inhale deeply for 4 seconds.
- Hold that breath for another 4 seconds.
- Exhale slowly for 8 seconds.
16 seconds of bliss.
Try it. Can you feel your heart rate slowing? Can you feel that calmness wash over you? This is scientifically proven stuff!
There’s your bliss.
Going from stressed to calm is the closest to bliss you can achieve in 16 seconds. I use this often in many situations. Especially situations where all I can do is breathe.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset, take your 16 seconds of bliss. Do this regularly and you’ll notice deeper changes. Hell, you’re practically meditating at this point!
It will make a difference so that you can make a difference.
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