Bird songs and bark

Some people find flow in their hobbies or work. Others, know the bliss of endorphins surging during a run. A few have a meditation practice they can call upon in times of stress. What about those of us leading who don’t have one of these tools in our toolbox? How can we switch from anger, despair, and anxiety into a mindset that helps us to focus, be present for others, and problem solve?

While there are quite a few tools, one of the most accessible to me is tapping into my senses.

Freshly ground nutmeg (holidays making eggnog with my Dad). Lilacs in bloom (my Mom’s garden). Raw cut green peppers (my Grandmother’s kitchen).

Birdsong outside my window. The chatter of the neighborhood children. A lovely voice singing scat.

The bark of a tree. A smooth pebble between my thumb and finger. A cool breeze in Summer.

Spring flowers. The outline of trees framed by a blue sky. The smile of my beloved.

A freshly picked wild strawberry. A cold beer. A sip of hot mint tea.

What sensory experiences help you breathe, smile, and slow down?

If like me, you could use a more accessible tool for those difficult days and moments, make a list of what sensory experiences bring you joy. Try to incorporate them more intentionally in your life.

When you are struggling, stop. Note what you smell, hear, see, feel and taste that makes you smile. Acknowledge it. Give it words, praise, or even just a nod.

These very simple reminders of our connection to joy and to the world help us to focus, be present for others, and unlock our ability to problem solve.