Our five senses are the primary means through which we experience the world. From time to time, our experiences with our senses can be stressful. However, our senses can also be used to do the opposite and help us come to a more relaxed state. Here are examples for each of the senses:


Hearing – We can use the power of a gentle recorded sound such as rainfall or waves to help us relax.

Sight – We can focus on a tree outside and see how the wind gently blows its branches and leaves.

Touch – We can take a small ball and squeeze it gently a few times.

Smell – We can smell the aroma of a scented candle which evokes a calming memory of a mountain fir or a beach.

Taste – We can take a small piece of fruit like a grape and slowly taste its sweetness.

The 5..4..3..2..1..method

In times of great stress another technique is the 5..4..3..2..1..method. This incorporates all of the five senses to help move us out of our stressful episodes. Spend 2-3 minutes on each step.

Step 1

Focus on five things you can see – Wherever you are at the moment, look around and observe five items with your eyes. Notice colors, textures, and patterns.

Step 2

Focus on four things you can hear – Wherever you are, listen to the sounds around you – the clock on the wall, a car going by, the birds singing. Notice the differences in the volume and tones of the sounds.

Step 3

Focus on three things you can feel – Wherever you are, begin to notice some of the things you can touch, an item of clothing you are wearing, the floor under your feet, the smoothness of the table. Notice the sensation on the skill and the temperature of the object.

Step 4

Focus on two things you can smell – Wherever you are, begin to notice some smells around you such as soap on your hands, or coffee in a mug. Notice the strength the of the smell and the quality of the aroma.

Step 5

Focus on one thing you can taste – Wherever you are, begin to notice the taste of a drink or a piece of candy. Notice the flavor in your mouth.

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