If you are stressed and not sleeping it is easy today to reach out to a peer, do a google search, or seek an expert in the field. There are many lists of things to do to alleviate stress, sleep well and create well being. Some of these lists have great ideas, but the ideas are not always actioned.
Seeking answers from someone else is great when we need information we do not have, when we want to be listened to, and when we want to bounce ideas around. We can use apps to tell us when to go to bed, when to wake up, track blood pressure and more.
Seeking answers and using external tools is worthwhile, AND, when combined with our own sensory information expands their success.
This post is more about questions for you to answer for yourself, than telling you what to do.
My invitation is to take an inner journey to discover your own “sense sights”® about how to reduce stress, sleep well and nourish your well being.
Seeking how to listen to inner guidance through our multiple senses is often left to guesswork. But, their are sensory cues.
When YOU learn to listen and identify what works for you, your commitment to take action and create change increases.
Activating our sensory awareness to find information about ourselves gives us information that no-one else can tell you, not even apps. The first step is noticing information from your senses that you may be ignoring.
Listen to your sensory cues to transform your relationship with tiredness, stress and overwhelm.
Notice your sense of tiredness, and also notice your sense of aliveness and your sense of being content. Triangulate the information to know what you need to do differently.
1 What do you sense when you feel alive and energised?
2 What do you sense when tired and needing to rest?
3 What do you sense when in neutral or a content mode?
You may be curious when I ask the question, what are you sensing? I could have said, what are you feeling? or what are you thinking? It is more common to focus on these two senses; thoughts and feelings, than our other senses. But, my invitation is to activate awareness of our multiple senses as there is much rich information we are ignoring. Let’s begin with our 5 common senses.
Which of these 5 common senses come to your awareness when stressed, tired or overwhelmed?
1 Do you sense the need for touch when stressed? Does touch calm you or irritate you when stressed? There is both physical touch and being “touched” by beauty or kindness. What can you do to sense the kind of touch you need to foster calmness and wellbeing?
2 Do you feel bombarded hearing too many voices giving you advice and telling you what to do, when stressed? Or, have the voices gone and left you alone, and the absence of hearing voices of support is causing stress? If so, what can you do to hear a sense of calm and support? Does music calm you? or nature? or birdsong?
3 Do you see all the things you have to do, including incomplete activities? Does this cause stress? If so, can you put things away? Make a schedule? Celebrate stages of completion even when incomplete? What can you do so your sense of sight fosters calmness and ease?
4 Does the taste in your mouth turn bitter when stressed? Do you have cravings for sweet when stressed? What does stress taste like for you? What does being content taste like for you? (Don’t worry about how irrational this may sound — not everything in life is rational.)
5 Smell is more powerful than we have realised in humans. What do you smell when stressed? What do you smell when calm? What memories can you introduce through your sense of smell to evoke a sense of calm and wellbeing?
Our Uncommon Senses
Our 5 common senses are doorways to information to alleviate stress. We can take another step and find out more information from 7 of our uncommon senses.
6 Your sense of balance.
We often talk about balance in life as if it is something that we can measure. I will sleep 8 hours a day, I will have exercise 1 hour a day, I will work 8 hours a day, I will have recreation 2 hours a day etc. Dividing work, play and rest has not worked very well for most of us.
What if we shift our awareness of balance to a sense in our body. A sense of balance within. When balanced do you feel as if your feet are planted firmly on the ground? Does your torso feel strong when balanced? Does your sense of judgement feel right for you when feeling balanced? Does does your sense of judgment go off, when not balanced?
Balance is connected to our hearing. If we have an ear infection we lose our sense of balance and may become dizzy. If you are off balance in your life we become stressed and tired. Is your stress a cue for being off balance?
Balance is also connected to our sense of timing.
What times are you tired during the day? How long were you doing an activity before sensing tiredness, stress or overwhelm? How can you you sense right timing to change activities to restore wellbeing?
7 Your sense of energy
Notice what you do that gives you energy? Notice what thoughts, or what you say and do when your energy drops? Do more of what gives you energy. When your energy drops are you giving yourself what you need to restore energy?
8 Your sense of emotion
What emotion do you sense when tired? Are you fighting your tiredness? or surrendering? Do you greet it as a friend? or as an enemy?
9 Your sense of thought about stress and sleep
What is your sense of thought and beliefs about tiredness?Do you believe you have little time and so much to do, so sleep is something you have to do, but you think it is wasteful as there are so many other things you could be doing? Do you have thoughts that belittle yourself for being stressed? Do you tell yourself not to tell anyone, and cover up when you are stressed?
If your beliefs about tiredness and sleep are limiting your ability to sleep, what new beliefs would change your relationship with sleep and wellbeing?
10 How do you sense your body moves when tired or needing to sleep?
When tired does your body move in agitation and unrest? Does it slow down and become lethargic? Do you have prolonged periods sitting still, moving quickly, or standing? What happens if you mix things up and add variety to your body movement throughout the day? Experiment with being active, having a swing in your step, hanging around and being still and quiet.
11 Your life sense
We have a sense of life and we have a sense of death. If we see a dead bird on the ground we sense it is dead, just as when we see a bird flying we sense it is alive. We can experience our life sense through our body. One easy way is to notice our breathe. When stressed are you breathing from the top of your lungs in short quick bursts? How are you breathing when tired? when rested? when energised? when agitated? Do you know? What would happen if you became lightly aware of your breathing throughout the day and breathed in and out fully? Go on a journey of discovery to find out.
12 Your sense of temperature
When agitated and stressed do you notice your temperature rising? Do you break into a sweat, or do you cool down and have to put on warm clothes even if it is a hot day? Our sense of temperature is inter-connected with our energy and our wellbeing.
Noticing and sensing your inner physical sensory and imaginal world gives you cues to nurture yourself into to a state of wellbeing. When able to shift and shape your state of being you will become more adept at using sensory cues as early warning signals to stop doing what you are doing that creates stress. You will be more aware of the sensory cues that are letting you know you are doing what nourishes you and creates your wellbeing.
Keep track of your sensory information in a journal. You will soon have valuable information to sense patterns to create your wellbeing. I share more ideas and stories in my book, “Trust Your Senses — Embodied Wisdom for the Modern Age.
I invite you to share your stories with me to build up the knowledge we have of our multiple intelligences through our senses.
Deborah (Deb) Lange is an experienced Mentor and Facilitator who coaches people to improve their wellbeing by developing their sensory, intuitive and social acuity. To learn more contact Deb at [email protected]
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Originally published at medium.com