If you’re reading this then STOP. Take a moment to isolate yourself from distractions – put down your headphones, turn off your music, put your phone away. Whatever that diverts your attention, set it aside just for the next five or so minutes.

Finished?

Now close your eyes and listen to your surroundings. If you’re outside listen to the tiny details and imagine what it is in your head. If you’re inside do the same, listen to whatever sound is around you and imagine it. If you only hear silence, surround yourself in that silence but don’t think of anything, just let it flow through you. You can take your time, I’ll wait.

Done?

Did you notice anything different? Your sense of hearing should have been amplified. Without your other senses in the way, your brain is more receptive to your surroundings through sound. It enables you to pick up things that you normally wouldn’t register throughout the day.

How do you feel now?

Different from when you started?

You should feel more relaxed.

Clearing your senses and just focusing on only one thing is the single most method of stress relief. Throughout the day we’re constantly receiving raw stimulation through our senses– vision, auditory, tactile, olfactory (smell) vestibular (sound), and taste. We also process two more senses: proprioception, which is the sense of balance and introception, which is our body’s awareness of our internal organs such as the stretch receptors in our lungs or sensory receptors in our urinary bladder that gives us that sensation of fullness.

Our brain constantly picks up on these signals and translate them on a daily basis, only ceasing 100% load when we sleep. Can you imagine working at 100% without any breaks? From the moment you wake up to when you fall asleep? This is exactly what your brain is doing without you even noticing.

When I was in medical school, there was a time when I was in tremendous pressure. I would have moments when the workload was too much that it felt like the world would end. And all it took to finish an endless pile of information to take in was just a few minutes to close my eyes and breathe. Afterwards, I was able to pick myself up again and go.

If you’re burnt out and catch yourself being overwhelmed, take a few minutes from your day to destress- close your eyes, relax, and just listen to your surroundings. Commit to a daily mental reminder to give your brain or rather yourself a chance to rest. And only then you’ll find newer strength to overcome whatever tasks lie ahead of you.

We are both salt water mixed with air just like the ocean. So if the ocean can calm itself, so can you. And please remember to just BREATHE.

 

Published by The Thought Nebulae