What Are Mindset Minisodes?
I’ve been hosting the Phoenix Helix Podcast for over 8 years, and there are now over 200 episodes in the archives! The long-form interviews you know and love will continue every 4 weeks. In between, I’ll be sharing short episodes inspired by my book: Healing Mindset – A Guide to the Mind-Body Connection for People With Autoimmune Disease. Stress is a powerful trigger of inflammation and autoimmune activity, and most of us have experienced stress-induced autoimmune flares. That’s the power of the mind-body connection working against us. However, we can also make the mind-body connection work for us! Simple techniques can help us relieve stress and send an anti-inflammatory cascade through our bodies instead. That’s my goal with these episodes. In each one, I’ll teach a simple technique you can start using right away.
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Using Your Senses to Tap the Relaxation Response
Tuning into our senses immerses us in the present moment, offers a break from our worries, and gives us the space to simply be. It’s available to us anywhere, anytime, and it only takes a minute. You can do it for longer, but even a brief pause is beneficial. Below, I share some of my favorite ways to tune into the senses. Pick one sense, and try it for yourself.
- See – Light & Shadow. This is one of my favorite ways to tune into the present moment. Look around you and notice the art that light is creating that we rarely notice. In my office, I have a ceramic pink lamp, and the light falls on the base in a wide variety of glimmering white abstract shapes. During the day, the light through the window shimmers on the wood floor and makes my white curtain framing the window glow. Outside, sun falling through the leaves casts their shadows on the ground, and when the wind blows, those shadows dance. What is the light doing around you?
- Touch – Texture. Similar to Light & Shadow, we are surrounded by textures we rarely notice. Right now, as I type these words, I can slow down and let my fingers rest on the keys of my keyboard. Each key has a slight curve, designed to catch and cradle my fingertips. If I place my hands on my legs, I can feel the fabric of my pants. Today, it’s a soft fabric that’s soothing to touch. If I take off my shoes, I can feel the solidity of the floor beneath my feet. Touch the items surrounding you. How does each feel?
- Smell – Spice Cabinet. When we cook, the kitchen starts to smell delicious before the meal is done and that’s satisfying, but we don’t have to wait until mealtime to harness the relaxation effect of spices. One of my favorite sensory relaxation breaks is go to the spice cabinet in my kitchen when I’m not cooking. I open a jar of an herb or spice and gently inhale. It’s my favorite form of aromatherapy. I work from home so it’s easily available to me, but you could also bring a jar of your favorite herb or spice to work and open it when you feel stress.
- Taste – One Bite or Sip. There’s a famous meditation called the Raisin Meditation which helps you access all of the senses when eating a raisin. It transforms the experience into something quite magical. You can do this with any bite of food, and it actually improves digestion as well, because our body needs to be in a relaxed state to digest properly. You can also do it with a sip of water. First, feel your hands on the glass or bottle as you pick it up. What’s the texture and temperature? As you bring it to your lips, notice the sensation of your mouth on the rim. Take a sip of the water and hold it in your mouth. Notice how it feels on every surface as it moisturizes. Does it have a flavor? When you swallow, feel it go down your throat. Again, notice the temperature and the sensation. How does you mouth and throat feel afterward. Are you quenched? Would you like another sip?
- Hear – Seek Silence. There was a scientific study which tried to determine what sounds were the most relaxing, and they used silence as a neutral “control” to compare the positive or negative effects of other sounds. The scientists discovered something they didn’t expect. Silence was the most soothing. In the modern world, we are often surrounded by sound pollution. It’s so constant, we don’t even notice. See if you can find a way to experience silence today. If you cannot find complete silence, get as close as you can.
My Book: Healing Mindset
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