The Coping Kete

No. 103: Mindfulness of My Senses

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…I will practice using the 5 senses of taste, touch, sight, sound and smell to shift my attention away from unhelpful thoughts, concerns and moods.

This week, as I move through my day I will take pauses whenever I remember to and make myself aware of my five senses in that moment. This will allow me to practice moving my attention away from a moment and onto my senses during everyday situations. I might set an alarm to remind me to practice.

Each time, I will take a few belly breaths like in the standard breathing exercise and I will mentally scan through each of my senses.

  1. What can I hear right now?
  2. What can I see right now?
  3. What can I touch/feel right now?
  4. What can I taste right now?
  5. What can I smell right now?

I will spend a moment on each sense, making myself aware of what I am sensing right now. Then I will turn my attention back to my day.

If my thoughts wander back to my day during this exercise, I will watch the thoughts pass through my mind and I will say to myself… “I am here, sensing the world.

Once I have a bit of practice with turning my attention away from the day and onto my senses for a while, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of distracting myself from unhelpful thoughts or moments of distress.

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Acknowledgement: Mindfulness can be traced back to buddhist philosophy. Thich Naht Hanh is known for creating the Engaged Buddhism movement  and popularising mindfulness in the Western world. Jon Kabbat-Zinn is known for popularising mindfulness in the medical community with the Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) programme at the University of Massachusetts. Marsha Linehan is known for popularising mindfulness in the mental health community with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).  The basic practice of mindfulness features in many strategies shared in The Coping Kete. Once you learn the basic skills, you can use mindfulness in any moment you find yourself in, in countless different ways. There is an awful lot behind each of the skills involved. Follow the links above to learn more. 

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