Blog Posts

Exercise

Hi everyone, this is Nicole, owner of Mind-Body Solutions. If you would like to know more about me, please read my bio here. This article is about exercise. This is a subject that I am passionate about, not only because of its close relation to the Mind-Body connection, but because I am a big promoter of exercise as part of my therapy sessions with my clients. You will understand why by reading this article.

Motivation

If you are one of those who have difficulty motivating yourself to exercise, keep reading because this article is for you. Some people find it very difficult to motivate themselves to exercise, in any way, shape, or form. I understand where you are coming from since I consider myself one of these unmotivated people. I often find myself completely amazed (and sometimes even envious) when watching those around me who can’t wait for their next workout, who can run half marathons, marathons, triathlons, and even 5 or 10km. I sincerely believe that our biggest obstacle to motivation is ourselves and our beliefs. Most people I see in therapy think that motivation will come to them on its own. This is a false conception or belief. If you wait for motivation to come to you, you will probably waste most of your life waiting. Motivation comes from within and only you can create it. The only way to create it is to really push yourself to exercise when you first start a program and keep at it. Your motivation will eventually increase.

Most people only become motivated once they start to see results. This is strongly related to the fact that people who are unmotivated towards exercise need immediate gratification. This also applies to other types of changes to your lifestyle, like following a diet or other healthy habits. You often need to wait a few weeks, even months before you can actually see results, such as losing weight or obtaining more muscle tone. This is the reason why you need to reframe your thoughts about exercise. You need to focus on the results that are the most immediate, such as the endorphins (the feel good hormones that are released during exercise), the boost of energy you will get to finish your day, and simply feeling good about yourself in general.

It is easier to motivate yourself to exercise if you choose a type of exercise that you enjoy doing. For some, it can be in a group setting like joining a Zumba class or a dance class, yoga class, or your local gym. For others, it can be hiking or doing exercise outdoors. For those who want to exercise in the comfort of their own home, if that’s what it takes, go for it. It is important to do what feels the most comfortable and natural for you. Do not force yourself or try to enjoy something you don’t; simply accept that you may not like or enjoy all types of exercises. Here are some interesting options for those who are running out of ideas: walking in the woods (for winter: snowshoeing in the woods), walking on the beach, doing yoga on the beach, mindful walking, and walking with friends. Notice how a lot of these recommendations are outdoors. This is because recent studies indicate that walking outdoors is more beneficial than walking indoors. In addition to this, walking in nature is more beneficial than walking in the city.

So, how do you start exercising?

A trick that usually works well to increase motivation is to start slow, but really give yourself a good start. If you start slow and gradually build up to your goals, it will help you to feel more fulfilled, since you’re meeting all these smaller goals on your way to the bigger ones. For example, start by exercising 15-20 minutes once or twice a week and gradually build up to 45 minutes to an hour 4-6 times a week. For those who have a busy schedule, you can do shorter workouts or perhaps work out less frequently. Keep in mind that Health Canada recommends 150 minutes a week no matter how this is spread out (75 min. workouts twice a week, 50 min. workouts three times a week, 30 min. workouts five times a week, etc.).

It is also important to consider that some types of exercise are not meant for everyone, or every body type. Some people, or body types are not meant to run, swim, do cycling, dance, etc. For example, if you have back or knee problems, I don’t recommend running as your exercise of choice. On a similar note, don’t attempt en-pointe ballet if you have problems with your feet or toes. If you have chronic pain or other medical issues, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist before attempting any type of exercise. You can also try consulting a physiotherapist or kinesiologist if you want a more personalized exercise program that is adapted to your condition and needs. For those with fibromyalgia, it is recommended to do exercise to decrease the chronic pain, but exercises of lower intensity are recommended. This includes, light yoga, light stretching, Taï chi, walking, and swimming.

What else can exercising do?

If the above tips and tricks are not enough to motivate you, maybe this will help. For one, there are numerous physical benefits that exercise can provide to you: lower cholesterol levels (LDL- the bad one), increases in HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower blood pressure (arterial hypertension). It can also reduce the risk of heart conditions, reduce the risk of diabetes (type 2), increase blood circulation and release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps with brain cell development. It’s good for your muscles and bones, it promotes healthy skin, and helps you lose weight.

Notice how weight loss is the last one on the list because as we mentioned- it doesn’t help to motivate you to exercise since you don’t see the weight loss effect right away. It also isn’t the one and only reason to exercise, having a healthy body is way more important than having a thin one!

There are also ways exercise can benefit your mental health: it reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as chronic pain by releasing endorphins (natural morphine your body produces) and serotonin (‘happy hormone’). It helps with sleep, increases your energy levels, increases blood flow to the brain, which helps increase concentration and memory, increases self-esteem, and can even increase your resilience.

You can see that there are many different ways that exercising can benefit you. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to us! We also offer one-on-one yoga therapy sessions if you would like to start exploring the connection between your mind and body, as well as massage therapy in case your next workout makes you a little sore! Happy exercising!

The Mind-Body Solutions Podcast Episode 1: Phobias

Hello! Valérie Foulem, social worker here! Today we bring you a little something different: a podcast! It’s a project I’ve been working on for a little while, I am happy to finally be able to share it with you. Our intention with this podcast is to offer a fun way to absorb some information. Please feel free to subscribe to us on YouTube so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode!

This first episode will be about phobias, so there’s a chance I’ll talk about some subjects that can be disturbing for some of you (trauma, anxiety, blood draws/injections, planes/heights). If ever you want to talk about it with someone, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you.

Happy listening!

 

Mindful Organization

Hey everyone!

It’s soo great to have the opportunity to connect with you here on our blog.

In case we haven’t met in person, I am Veronica, the registered massage therapist here with Mind-Body Solutions. I just joined this amazing team of empowering women this summer and am so blessed to be able to be of service to the Bathurst community. If you would like to learn more about me click HERE and you will be redirected to my bio.

One of my many passions in life is personal growth and development. I feel that, like a flower, if we are not personally growing then we are not truly living to our fullest potential. Just like you, I’ve had many struggles in my life where I’ve felt helpless and not in control. I often blamed everyone for the situations I was in, until I started diving into personal development. I learned that I am the only one in control of my life and happiness. Not my life partner, or my parents, or my colleagues, but me.

I want to be able to empower you today to do the same and start taking more control of your life and choices. Everyday is different and trust me it will take a little bit of work and determination but once you get into the swing of things and develop the habits I’m about to share with you, you will notice your stress level going down and you will see your life slowly transform.

If you truly want a life of happiness and fulfillment, today’s blog will help kick start that for you. We will identify what is important to you and how to set realistic goals to help you create the life you’ve always dreamed of.

So, let’s jump right in!

Step 1. Get yourself a journal.

White journal with Rose gold pen on top laying on white surface
  1. This will help keep all your plans in one place.
  2. Will keep you organized and on track.
  3. Help you achieve your goals FAST!!

** Make sure to keep up to date for our next journaling for your wellness class on our Facebook page.**

Page 1 of your journal is all about taking inventory of where you are, currently, in your life.

Step 2: Take stock of your life

By taking inventory of the key areas of your life, this will show you EXACTLY where you are focusing too much or too little time on and will help you see where you need to prioritize your attention. Consider only YOUR opinions and feelings when scoring these areas from 1-10.
1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Well-being
  • Environment
  • Hobbies/Joy/Restorative pursuits
  • Romance
  • Friends & Family
  • Finances
  • Purpose & Career
  • Spirituality
  • Personal Development & Growth as an individual

Once you have a score next to each area, place a star (*) next to the 3 lowest scores. Most of the time, these will be the areas in your life that really stresses you out or overwhelms you.

For example; my lowest scores are Restorative pursuits, Mental well-being and Physical health.

Knowing this shows me that I currently need to focus on these areas in order to bring more balance into my life and help me feel more fulfilled and my goals will revolve around these areas.

Step 3: Set some goals!

Next sit down and think of everything that you would like to accomplish revolving around these areas. Do a HUGE brain dump and be creative with your goals and make them into S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).
Tip: write them as if you are currently doing these tasks.

For example: my goals are the following for the next 30 days:

  • I get 8.5 hours of sleep each night by tracking my sleeping patterns and going to bed earlier.
  • I meditate by the water 3x a week @ 8:15 am or 5 pm to clear my mind and reconnect with myself.
  • Each Saturday I plan and shop for my meals for the week and Sunday afternoon I prep my meals for the week so that I am on track with my health.
  • I practise singing 3-4 songs daily, because it brings me joy and helps me keep my vocals warm.
  • I drink 3 litres of water and 1 small coffee each day (coffee is optional for me).
  • I listen to 10-15 mins of personal development each day to fuel my brain with good vibes, positive self talk and to help me become a better version of myself.

Once I have this all on paper and have had time to reflect on them, making sure that these goals don’t have a negative effect on my life or the lives of my family members I then create my PUSH goal.

This goal will help you knock most, if not all, of your goals off your list. Again, you want to make a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely goal written as if you are currently doing it.

For example: my PUSH goal is:

  • Sunday morning (8:30 am), I review my list of goals, do a 30 min brain dump of things that are stressing me out or need to get done this week. I then schedule it into my weekly planner, because I’ve decided theses are “non-negotiables”. Each night, before I go to bed, I review/edit my plan for the next day.

Step 4: Action!

Finally, put your plan into action:

Schedule it! Give your tasks a time & date and track your progress either by pen and paper, using a wall calendar or a daily to-do list. That way you can track who’s doing what and see if you are meeting your deadlines. It’s sooo freeing for your head when you have a plan set in place and things get prioritized.

Do your best to keep your journal or daily planner with you regularly to help you stay on track and stay accountable. As you start completing tasks, go back to your brainstorm list cross them out and continue to pluck tasks off as you go.

Thank you for taking the time to hang out with me today!! Just know that this will take time to become a new habit in you tool box and if you would like some more information on mindful organization or goal setting, feel free to contact us and schedule a one-on-one session!

Sending you much love and good vibes!

Veronica : )

Challenge: Healthy Eating in June!

Hi there, Valérie here again! I won’t keep you too long this time!

Here’s a challenge for the month of June: Healthy eating! Most of the foods we suggest in the challenge below have been shown to help with depression and anxiety. Food is not only what nourishes us, it is also a great way to have fun and connect with people, or even with oneself. Feel free to follow along, and have fun!

A good resource for this challenge? The brand-new Canada’s Food Guide!  Their website contains plenty of information on food and nutrition, we strongly suggest you go check it out.

If you’re looking for fresh ingredients, you can obtain bags of fresh food every month with Chaleur Eat Fresh!

Don’t hesitate to follow along with this challenge, and above all have fun!

June Healthy Eating Challenge! 1.	Look at the new Canada Food Guide  2.	Drink lots of water to stay hydrated!   3.	Try to cook at home more often  4.	Eat some tuna, salmon or walnuts to get some Omega 3  5.	Get zinc by eating some pumpkin seeds, whole-grain wheat bran or protein-rich foods  6.	Prepare a meal with beets, pork, chicken, dried beans or oily fish to get some vitamin B-3  7.	Take time to eat breakfast  8.	Be mindful of your food environment: how is your access to food? What are the types and qualities of food available to you? What can you do to improve it?   9.	Try a fruit you’ve never tried before  10.	Replace one cup of coffee with a cup of green tea  11.	Bring a handful of raw almonds, pecans, or walnuts with you as a healthy snack  12.	Make a smoothie with a banana  13.	Get some extra vitamin E by adding wheat germ, nuts or seeds to a meal  14.	Add a little bit of calcium by eating dairy products, or alternatively broccoli, tofu, or fortified orange juice to a meal  15. Make a salad: use a leafy green as your base, add a protein, some dressing, and a treat!   16. Try a veggie you’ve never tried before  17. Add some turmeric to your diet to reduce inflammation  18. Sit down and plan out a week’s worth of meals and snacks 19. Try replacing sugar in your coffee with stevia  20. Get a little iron boost by adding some liver, beef, beans, peas, and nuts to your diet  21. Obtain more immune-response boosting vitamin-C by snacking on an orange or grapefruit, or even by adding citrus slices to your water  22. Try roasting some kale leaves with olive oil and spices to create a crunchy snack  23. If you’re a snacker, try to eat your snacks without a distraction (eg, the TV). This will help you limit the amount of snack foods you eat  24. Choose foods that have little to no added sodium, sugars, or saturated fats  25. When shopping, compare the nutrition fact tables to better inform your choices  26. Give your body a chance to digest a little bit before getting seconds.   27. Try to eat mindfully, instead of eating your food too fast  28. Try a type of cuisine you’ve never tried before!  29. Need an energy boost? Try making some energy bites using a recipe on the internet! Ingredients usually include oats, some type of nut butter, honey or syrups, and add-ins, such as dried fruit, nuts and seeds, or chocolate  30. Get yourself your favourite treat! It is important to cultivate a healthy relationship to food, and that means giving yourself a break from time to time

Sleeping

Sleeping can be a big struggle for a lot of us in our journey towards a healthier life. Valérie here again, a social worker with Mind Body Solutions. Today’s post will focus on sleep and a couple tips you can use to fall or stay asleep easier.

What does lack of sleep do?

In our Western society, we put a lot of emphasis on productivity. We push ourselves, over-exert ourselves, and thus set ourselves up for failure when it comes to sleep. Dr Gleixner of the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic states that it is important to work with your healthcare practitioners to find the root cause (family doctor, psychologist, etc.) so you can proceed in taking care of your sleep schedule in the best way possible. Sleep, as he mentions, is the time where our body heals, so it is important to make sure that we get the amount of sleep that is right for us. Asides from feeling more awake during the day, Dr Gleixner says that better sleep can help you have a better memory, an easier time losing weight, and reduce the risk for depression and cardiovascular diseases. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re not giving your body the time it needs to heal and recover, according to Dr Gleixner.

Tips to get better sleep

Go to bed within 2 hours and wake up within one hour of the same time, every day. This helps set a rhythm to your sleep schedule and gets your body used to being awake and asleep at certain specific times. To strengthen this schedule, dim the lights 2-3 hours before you go to bed and in the morning, get a good 5-30 minutes of sunlight. Work the night shift? Have to get up early during the winter months? Invest in a natural spectrum lamp! Get that sunrise feeling minus the sun! You can also incorporate something a bit more specific, like maybe skincare or a hot cup of chamomile tea. These types of small rituals can help your brain sink deeper into that routine, it’s like a little sign that says “Hey, it’s time to go to bed soon”.

Put work aside 2-3 hours before bed. This ensures that not only you are more relaxed before going to bed, but you’re also not worrying about that big deadline or project before dozing off. Your bed is for sleeping, working and/or studying in it makes it so your brain associates that comfy spot with being active and awake. Try not watch shows or play video games too much as well, unless they help you fall asleep. If you absolutely must look at a screen before bed, use an app like F.lux or Twilight to both dim and filter the light from those devices to make it more soothing. The idea is to really make your bedroom an oasis of relaxation. Consider getting an aromatherapy diffuser (perhaps from our neighbors Aromaticos Purity!), a good comfy pillow, maybe even a heated or weighted blanket. Part of sleep is the environment in which you sleep, so try to make sure it’s to your liking.

If you really can’t fall asleep within a half hour, get up and do something. Nothing too strenuous or exciting, maybe just some light reading or listening to music. Something that can trick your brain into getting relaxed again. Another idea can be coloring, doodling, or any other kind of small craft. Again, not a project that requires a ton of setting up and tons of energy, but something quick and relaxing. Personally, I’m a big fan of listening to shows or movies I’ve already seen when I have a rough time: I don’t need to care about the plot since I’ve seen and heard it all before, and since I don’t pay close attention to it, it becomes white noise that relaxes my brain and lets me drift off to sleep easier.

And if none of it works?

See your doctor, it could be a physical symptom that can be properly treated. Consider going to a sleep specialist if the problem really persists. Another useful thing to do is examine your life: is there a big stressful event making it difficult for you to relax? Do you perhaps have anxiety? Feel free to drop us a line or email here if you would like to talk to one of our counselors about what is going on in your life that is preventing you from sleeping.

Thank you very much for reading this blog, if you have any questions or comments please let us know!

Meditation

Hi! My name is Nicole and I am a psychologist and the owner of Mind-Body Solutions. If you would like to know more about me and my services, you can read my biography here. Today’s article is on meditation and how it could help you deal with stress on a daily basis. The benefits of this technique are too numerous to talk about, but they can be discussed during a consultation at the clinic. Basically, this technique can bring you a sense of relief  that can be quite surprising! Obviously with our approach based on the connection between mind and body, between the physical and emotional aspects of our clients’ well-being, it was well worth a look.

Going to Harvard…

Recently, I had the pleasure to attend a conference on Mind Body Medicine from Harvard Medical School. As part of this conference, I heard a talk by Dr. Richard Davidson who is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds. He is known for his ground-breaking work studying emotion and the brain. He is also a friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama. Time Magazine named Davidson one of the ‘100 Most Influential People of the World’ in 2006.

According to Davidson, data shows that when people are really focused on what they’re doing, and their minds are not wandering, they actually feel better about themselves. One study in particular points to why this is important, its conclusions suggest that the average person is inattentive 47% of the time. In addition, studies show that mindfulness (being in the present moment) can lessen our tendency to want and desire things we don’t have.

Inner Peace

A few years ago, I also had the privilege to meet Bill Morgan at the New England Educational Institute during a conference in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Bill Morgan is a psychologist with more than 40 years of experience with meditation. In his book, The Meditator’s Dilemma, Morgan explains how to deepen your meditation practice in this age of mindfulness as successfully as possible. If you’re interested, read more about the author here.

Here’s a quick summary of what I learned from this book. When we meditate, we can attain a moment of tranquility, of contentment, and of inner peace. Think of the sensation you feel when you see a beautiful sunset, or even being completely absorbed by gardening, or playing with kids. Even when we’re surrounded by distractions or annoying situations (like mosquitoes buzzing in our ears, or a friend who cancels on us last minute), we can still feel this calm, according to the author. Therefore, Morgan tells us that happiness doesn’t come from exterior factors, but from within ourselves. To better illustrate: “Looking for happiness on the outside is like waiting for a ray of sunlight in a cave facing North.”

When you feel frustrated…

You can overcome the turbulence in your thoughts and your life to get to a calmer, more peaceful state of mind. The possibility of attaining these feelings of well-being can seem improbable, even impossible. “How can I even feel good? I’m stressed, I have too much work, it’s not a good time, etc.” Even if it’s possible to attain this serenity when we’re having a rough time, it can be a little out of reach when we begin our meditation practice, which Morgan affirms can bring on lots of frustration for some people. The good news? This is normal! You need to give yourself time and practice to be able to fully benefit from meditation and to experience all the benefits it offers.
Furthermore, the concentration practices in more traditional forms of meditation (like concentrating on a single object or word, on our breathing) aren’t sufficiently interesting or engaging for us Westerners, considering our culture based on more attention-grabbing stimuli, inattention, and hyperactivity. Everything in our culture is ‘Go! Go! Go!’ and meditation tells us ‘hey now, stop for a minute’. According to the author, this explains the large amount of ‘dropouts’ in meditation practice. A good way to help you ease into this is imagination! Morgan suggests imagining that your breathing is like a wave, or a ferris wheel in a carnival. There are even gadgets and apps fully dedicated to just helping you breathe. For instance, drawing a star on a piece of paper and slowly tracing it with your finger. Every time you reach a point you breathe in, and breathe out once you reach a hollow. Morgan affirms that our culture puts a lot of emphasis on success, appearance, material goods, so it can be really difficult to be content with what we have. It’s nice to say ‘don’t worry, be happy’, but it’s totally different to put that into play in this cultural context. However, like we’ve mentioned before, we build our own happiness. It’s a question of perspective!

Letting go

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means to intentionally concentrate on the present moment, without judgement. That’s kind of a murky concept, it’s not too clear. Morgan says that for people in our culture, it’s difficult for us to practice this since we’re so used to thinking, analysing, and judging things, so letting go of our more ‘logical’ side can be a little hard. Also, it’s very possible that ideas go through our mind while we try to meditate, positive and negative. Morgan reassures us that this is totally normal and a part of the process, and that thinking that our brain needs to stop working during our meditation is a common misconception about what we really do while meditating. When meditating, thoughts keep coming in and out, but we must make a concerted effort to treat them differently: they must not be analysed or judged. We just need to accept them, let them pass through, and not dwell on them.

If you would like some more information on mindfulness and meditation, feel free to contact us and schedule a one-on-one session!

Good luck, and happy meditating!

Taking care of ourselves: Putting ourselves first

Did I take a few minutes today to breathe deeply? Did I take the opportunity to express my creativity? Did I laugh wholeheartedly today? Did I drink enough water? Did I rest enough? Did I spend some time with someone that I love dearly today? Did I learn something new?

I know, that’s a lot of questions. But, do we take the time to ask ourselves these questions? And, more importantly, do we meet our basic needs to recharge our batteries?

Wendy Pinet here, registered social worker with Mind-Body Solutions (for more information on my journey, find my biography here) and today, I will be discussing how you can best prioritize yourself.

This subject is important to me because so many times, we don’t put ourselves first. Often, we’re the last person we think of but we’re also the only person that is guaranteed to be there for ourselves 100% of the time. Therefore, it is important that we take care of ourselves!

Our speed and our priorities

How many of us spend our days on autopilot, rushing to get to work while we are getting the kids to school or daycare, and at the same time checking messages on our phones to prepare for our day? We live on high speed, with more and more tasks on our lists to balance work-family-activities-community-learning, and more!

More often than not, we forget to put ourselves on our list of priorities and exhaustion creeps up on us. We do more and more, but time isn’t getting any longer! That is why it is important to reflect on our priorities. By putting everything on the same level of priority, our load quickly finds itself too heavy and our capacity gets diminished with exhaustion. To put ourselves first in order to take care of ourselves is an investment in ourselves.

Prioritizing ourselves, an amazing investment!

We can think of our time and energy as if it were money. Would we give all of our money to anyone? Or, do we look at our expenses and our income to make sure that everything is balanced, that we have enough money for things that are important to us? We can easily make a habit of doing the same thing for our time and energy. Do we spend our time at the right place? Do we keep enough time to refill on our energy and meet our own needs?

Here are three tricks to take time to prioritize ourselves to fill our ‘wallet’ with energy:

  • Breathe : easy, accessible at all times, and cheap! Taking the time to breathe deeply can save us a lot of heartache. Breathing and being aware of what is happening in our body when we breathe in, feeling our abdomen fill with air… Many breathing techniques exist that we can easily find on the internet.
  • Having fun: making sure that we have done at least one thing in the day that we had fun doing. It can be a few minutes of reading, a short walk to stretch our legs during our break, add a couple pieces to a puzzle, go visit or call a loved one that we miss, take a few minutes to connect with our partner, listen to funny videos on the Internet. No matter what makes you happy, take the time to do it and feel the comfort that it brings you.
  • Making a list of things NOT to do: we often make long unrealistic lists of things to accomplish in a day. Well, I suggest making a list of things that aren’t ours to worry about, that we can say ‘no’ to, that we can delegate, that aren’t urgent, and that aren’t a priority. This list will help lighten our load a little and help us become aware that in the end, everything is not a priority!

There are many other ways to take care of ourselves, but what’s important is to plan out your time, to stick with your plan and to make it a priority! On that note, I wish you a good week and a good investment in yourself! If you’d like more information on what we offer, or if you need help with this, please contact us and we will direct you towards the proper services.

Grounding: A tool to help you stay in the present (5-4-3-2-1)

Grounding is a technique that could help you stay in the present. My name is Valérie, and I am a social worker out of the Mind-Body Solutions offices. If you want to learn more about me, and the services that I offer, check out my biography here. Today’s article will be about grounding, and how it can help you during crisis. I’ve always been fascinated with crisis myself, in fact I wanted to be a surgeon! I liked watching medical shows when I was child, and I loved the idea of helping people through tough times. Then I figured surgeons didn’t have time to actually talk to people, so here I am! I hope this article helps you all feel a little bit more at ease!

What is grounding?

Grounding is a coping strategy to bring you back into the present moment. It can be a distraction, or even a way to make sense of what is happening around you. Grounding is particularly useful to people who have anxiety and those who have lived through trauma, though anyone can use them.

When does grounding come into play?

Any type of crisis usually causes pain because we feel we don’t have control over ourselves or the situation. We’re like a little boat stuck on a stormy ocean at the sea’s mercy. Now obviously, we have as much control over the weather as we have over random bad situations in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t regain some of our agency. This is where grounding techniques come in. When crisis takes you away into your mind, this technique brings you back, and gives you control of the boat.

What exactly is the technique?

The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is one of my favourites, and the method I professionally recommend. It’s easy to do, anywhere, and at any time. The only thing this technique requires is your mind and your senses.

Start by taking a couple of deep, big breaths. In and out, and feel free to close your eyes. Once you have a good, slow rhythm going, take a look around the room and list five things you see. You can do this out loud, list them to yourself or a friend, text them, or even do so mentally. Then, list four things that you feel. Next, list three things that you hear. If you want, list two things that you smell. Finally, list one thing that you taste.

I usually recommend that if you want to or need to do all five of your senses, carry a piece of your favourite candy or gum, as well as a favourite scent, like a hand cream or perfume with you.

How is this helping?

The slow scan of your senses tells you that it’s okay, that you’re safe, that you’re in a good place, and that nothing bad is currently happening. You might be in an environment that doesn’t feel safe to you. This could be a crowded area. In those moments, it’s important to notice the positive things around you rather than what overwhelms you. For instance, if you’re not great in crowds and you keep hearing all the hustle and bustle, wear headphones and try to zero in on some music or relaxing noises. If you’re afraid of needles but have no other choice, squeeze someone’s hand, or bring something pleasant to touch, smell, or taste. It can work to focus your mind on the present, or distract from the situation.

If you ever feel like you need one-on-one help, we at Mind-Body Solutions would be more than happy to help. Please contact us and we’ll help you find someone suited to you.