Mindfulness Activity #99
Self-Soothing with Scent
Good Morning. I’m not sure about each of you, but aside from mindfulness practices, this week has been anything but relaxing! That’s why this week’s practices are so important. When your life is stressful, busy, or difficult self-care, even if it is just 30 quiet minutes to yourself makes a difference.
These relaxing practices are often the easiest to teach and among the easiest practices; yet, they are the hardest practices to get yourself and others to do. Why is that? We have thoughts that range from, “how is this going to help?” to “I don’t feel like it.” Others feel that they don’t deserve to take time for themselves. Still others feel that the things that cause them stress should change; they should not have to do the work. So to do a simple self-soothing practice, you have to clear any unhelpful thoughts away.
The second problem with this practice is that sometimes people engage in the practice, but let the reel in their head keep playing. The idea of a self-soothing practice is to use your senses, and all your focus and powers of concentration to throw yourself into the experience 100%.
Only if you can do these two things: Clearing unhelpful thoughts and participating 100% into the experience will you reap the stress reducing benefits of a relaxation mindfulness practice. This is harder to do at times when you are actually stressed. It’s ironic, but when things are going well and you have no pressure, it’s easy to light a candle, put on music and breathe or to take a slow, hot bath, or to sit by a firepit and just watch it. It is in the middle of stress and chaos that relaxation mindfulness practices seem futile or too small to make impact. So, if you are having a relaxing week this will likely be a tad easier for you. If you are having a really stressful week, what a perfect opportunity to practice what you need!
Practice: Gather materials. For this practice, you need a small bit of essential oil or some scented lotion. When you are ready, cue up this clip and hit play. The music will serve as your timer.
Now take the oil or lotion and place some on one of your palms. With palms facing upward slowly take a deep breath in and out, noting gratitude for the peace of the present moment. Take another breath in and out and rub your palms together . On your next breath in, hold your hands up to your nose and breathe in, taking in the scent you have chosen. If you like you can rub lotion into your hands. Continue to breathe in and out rubbing your hands together to activate the smell and breathing in the scent as you listen to the music. If any thoughts enter your mind, allow them to float away and increase your attention to the scent on your next inhale.
When this practice is finished, note that you have actually done a little bit to increase peace and calm, to adjust your body’s stress hormone level, and to relax. If you can, plan a few more relaxing practices for yourself throughout the day.