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Mental Health Awareness Month: A lesson from my therapist


According to the National Institute of Mental Health over 20% of the US population is living with a mental illness.


And as someone who is a part of that percentage, I’ve acquired many useful tools from some amazing mental health professionals to help me navigate life in a way that’s more manageable for me.


If this is already making you uncomfortable, I get it.


Discussing mental health can seem highly personal and until recently, taboo. However, data has shown that 2020 onwards did a number on a lot of people’s mental health.


So, I think it’s an important topic to discuss and more importantly normalize.

Prior to coming to California, I had an amazing therapist who taught me a very simple method of grounding.


Grounding is a self-soothing tool/technique that helps you become more present, especially when you are anxious or finding yourself ruminating (excessively worrying about things in the past).


This grounding technique involves utilizing your 5 senses so that you can get out of your head and into your body, so to speak.


The method is simple, effective, and very importantly Free.99. ( That’s $0 y’all)

Examples of the 5 senses technique:

  1. Utilizing sight

    1. When I get anxious I like to take advantage of this sense through a game. I pick a color, shape, or texture/material, and then pick a number (don’t make it easy and pick the color green and the number 3 in the middle of a hike).

    2. Then I spend the next 1-5 minutes or so finding something that meets those qualifications and it does a great job of reorienting me into the here and now.

  2. Utilizing hearing

    1. When I lived in Jacksonville, NC I could have sworn there was some otherworldly bayou hidden in my backyard. When I would get anxious I would go outside, and sometimes lie down with my eyes closed and just listen to the frogs, crickets, and birds. It was the most beautiful natural symphony and it was an amazing way for me to also practice gratitude for my environment.

  3. Utilizing touch

    1. DARK Baths, I know I know hear me out. Of course, proceed with caution, please. This is also much better if you live with someone else and can have them turn on the light for you when you're done or at least bring a candle in with you so you have dim light.

    2. When you take a bath with minimal light it heightens the experience of feeling the water, soap, etc on your skin. Especially if you do a scrub or have some type of exfoliant.

    3. And if you want to do it in a more controlled environment, try a sensory deprivation tank/pool. I tried this 6 years ago and it was one of the most relaxing things I had ever experienced. Sadly this is not Free.99.

  4. Utilizing taste

    1. Mindful meals/drinks are a great way to focus on your sense of taste. Remove all distractions, your phone, music, etc.

    2. Go into a room with a snack or your favorite cup of not-scorching tea or coffee ( safety first). Then focus on the taste, texture, temperature, and other lovely subtleties of the food or drink you’re consuming

  5. Utilizing smell

    1. Repeat 4 except substitute flavors for scents.


I hope you all found this helpful! At some point in time, nearly everyone feels anxious or gets stressed and although these two things are not the same as an anxiety disorder, grounding still helps.


I hope you all have an amazing, mindfull, and healthfull week.


Be kind to yourself, you deserve nothing less.

-Aqilah

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