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Your mind is racing, your heart is like a time bomb. You can’t think straight and you feel like you will explode if you don’t relax.

Then you remember the standard advice: “Take all of your senses to a grassy meadow. Smell the flowers, listen to the insects, feel the grass, watch the birds flying above you.”

What a load of rubbish.

When I am really under pressure, this sort of method just doesn’t work. How am I supposed to pull together all of my senses to create an image like this. I can’t think straight as it is. I need a quick solution. Something that is reliable, practical and versatile.

I have found that there are 3 quick and reliable doors to relaxation. Try these any time you are stressed to the max and need to relax.

Door 1 is your eyes. Plug your ears (if you have ear plugs, good, if not use fingers). Let your eyes, lazily, slowly drift across any surface near you. Don’t read or identify what you are looking at. Instead, try to just look at the colours and shapes. Is it constant or is there change happening. Can you see definite lines and transitions or are shades blended and fuzzy. If you use only your eyes in this way for a minute or two, you can effectively stop the escalation of stress. You will quickly return to a more normal state of mind and then you can deal with whatever is stressing you.

Door 2 is your ears. Close your eyes. Just listen. Don’t listen for words or recognisable sounds, just listen to the noises around you. Think about what direction they are coming from, and listen to the sounds they are made up of. By isolating your sense of hearing you will cut yourself off from the stream of stress and break the cycle of stress reinforcement. Give it a minute or two and you will be back to a more stable state. Then you can go to work.

Door 3 is your mouth. Close your eyes. Take a small mouthful of food or drink and try to really taste it. Notice the flavours. How many are there? Notice the textures and temperature. What part of your tongue is picking up these sensations. What is it like to chew the food? If you have no food available, just lick your lip and try and taste the subtle flavour of you. Concentrate entirely on your taste sensation and quickly you will be calmed and soothed enough to return to reality with enough peace of mind to be more productive in dealing with your situation.

Think of these exercises as miniature holidays. Sneak away for a minute or 2 with just one of your senses and you will come back a different person. The stressful situation will still be there when you return but you will be in a much better state of mind to deal with it.

Practice it right now, and then when you really need it, you will be ready to use one of your 3 doors to relaxation.

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