Becoming present state aware is one of the most effective ways that I have found to manage my anxiety .Not only does it reduce the overall occurrences of anxiety, but it also reduces the severity and duration of panic attacks. The goal of present state awareness is to focus your attention on your senses.
What you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. By focusing on your senses, you are directing your attention out of your head and into the present moment .
You are grounding yourself in what is happening now, not what was happening or what you think may happen .
The process of actually becoming present state aware is quite simple: 1) Take five slow and deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Don’t force this breathing pattern , it should feel comfortable and not strained. Continue breathing this way with five breaths for each sense. 2) Focus your attention onto what you can feel .What does the ground feel like? Can you feel the wind? Is there any pressure, tension or sensation coming from inside your body? What do your clothes feel like? Are you hungry? Do you feel hot or cold?Have you felt anything new? 3) Move your attention onto what you can see .Notice the colours, lines, shapes, textures. Notice the play of light and the casting of shadows.
Have you seen anything new? 4) Move your attention onto what you can hear .What sounds are coming to your ears? Are they natural or man-made? Can you hear music or a conversation? What is the pitch and tone? Is it loud or quiet?
Have you heard anything new? 5) Move your attention onto what you can smell. Focus on the air coming into your nose, are there any smells that you instantly recognise? Are there some that you can’t place? Is there an undertone of a particular smell?Have you smelt anything new? 6) Move your attention onto what you can taste. Focus on your mouth and tongue, are there any residual tastes in your mouth? Perhaps you can still taste some of the stronger flavours from your last meal or toothpaste.Have you tasted anything new? 7) Cycle through each sense three times before stopping.
Present State Awareness gets you out of your head and into the present moment. It is one of the quickest and easiest methods of becoming mindful.
I like to use ‘Present State Awareness’ throughout the day as a way to ground myself. I use the sensations coming from my feet touching the ground as a point of focus.
~ Zachary Phillips
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This advice comes from my book ‘ How To Get Your Sh!t Together ’. Read the full chapter here .
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