How to Use Your Space to Decrease Anxiety

In the therapy world, we teach clients to use their five senses to reduce anxiety and relax. We recommend finding items from each of your five senses to create your own space to Zen out. If you don’t have space to dedicate, a box or bin of these items that you can access will do as well.

Creating your space

*Sight*

Declutter. Clutter can feel chaotic and, therefore, induce anxiety. Clear your space and hang your favorite photos or artwork. Enlist the help of a friend who’s style you like to make your space visually appealing.
The article Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies goes further into how clutter can keep us from feeling relaxed.

*Smell*

Using aromatherapy in the form of a candle, incense, or essential oils is another way to feel calm and relaxed, often because different scents remind us of different comforts. The smell of pine tends to remind most people of the soothing and crisp outdoors.

When choosing the scents for your space, think about which type of scents help you feel comforted. You can also opt for scents such as lavender and eucalyptus that have natural calming effects. The article Top Scents for Aromatherapy Relaxation can also give you some suggestions on which scents to try out.

*Sense of Taste*

Taste can be a food or candy that reminds you of something comforting. Maybe your grandmother always had a bowl of butterscotch candies out. Implementing this into your space will allow your space to feel like home.

If that sort of thing doesn’t apply to you, baking or cooking can be a form of relaxation in itself. Set aside some time to bake or cook your favorite foods as a means to destress. Check out Top 10 Foods to Relax Your Nerves for some insight into certain foods that have natural stress reducing properties.

*Sense of Touch*

Drape a soft blanket over the couch to cuddle up with. Find other soothing to the touch items within your space. Feeling fidgety or anxious can sometimes be soothed with fidget toys or other tactile items that help distract us and let off some steam. Try rubbing a soft blanket between your fingers, or trying out a fidget spinner.  This article, Top 6 Stress Relieving Toys For Adults, has some ideas that you could add to your space.

*Sense of Sound*

Set up a radio or speaker in your space and explore what sounds help you feel calm and happy. Listening to music that you enjoy while you relax will naturally boost your mood and help to keep your mind busy. Just be aware of your song choice and not listening to anything too sappy.

Using a sound machine is a helpful alternative to listening to music. Most sound machines have soothing options to choose from that have calming effects, or just help drown out other background noises. The Power of Music to Reduce Stress discusses some of the research behind music being a natural stress reducer.

If you’re having a hard time managing your anxiety, one of our licensed professional counselors can help. All it takes is filling out the contact form or calling our office to schedule your first appointment. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out!

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