The five senses mindfulness exercise is a simple yet effective technique for grounding and centering yourself during moments of chaos. The idea is to release distractions and bring your awareness solely to the present moment by focusing on all five of your senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
By focusing your attention inwards and grounding your thoughts, you can quiet feelings of stress and anxiety. Once in a more peaceful and centered state of mind, you will be better equipped to release negativity, set positive or productive intentions for the day, and tackle your to-do list with vim and vigor.
There are many ways to complete this exercise, but our preferred method combines mindfulness with the ancient art of steeping tea. First, set aside five minutes of time when you know you will not be disturbed. Leave your phone in another room or silence it, and make sure the lighting and temperature are comfortable for you.
Boil a pot of water, and place a tea bag or infuser basket with loose tea leaves into your cup. When the water has finished boiling, it is time to begin your five senses tea steeping ritual.
Start by getting into a comfortable seated position, and taking several slow, deep breaths. Then engage each of your five senses one by one, spending around one minute focusing on each sense.
By the time you reach “taste,” the final sense, your tea will be finished steeping and ready to enjoy sip by sip. Savor the sense of calm and tranquility you feel as you drink your tea and ease into a state of gentle alertness.
Before adding the boiling water to your tea, glance into your cup. What do you see? Take note of the color, texture, size, and shape of the dried tea leaves.
Then, pour the hot water over the tea leaves in your cup. Notice the way the leaves unfurl as the water fills the cup, and how the steam rises and swirls into the air.
Spend a few moments watching how the color of the liquid deepens and darkens as time passes. What other visible changes do you notice as the tea continues to steep?
What sounds can you hear as you prepare and steep your tea? Earlier, you may have noticed the hiss of steam escaping from the kettle, and the trickle of water being poured over the tea leaves.
You may also wish to simply take note of the sounds around you, including your own breath. Do you hear the clock on the wall, or the rain outside? The more quiet and still you allow your inner mind to be, the more perceptive your sense of hearing will become.
Lift your cup close to your face. Inhale deeply and slowly, allowing your body to experience the aromas without judgment. What do you smell? Closing your eyes may deepen your sense of smell and help you tap into your intuitive side.
After breathing in the scent of the tea several times, try to pinpoint the scents you notice. Does the tea smell floral, fruity, spicy, woody, or grassy? Can you smell the spicy-sweet fragrance of cinnamon or a bouquet of lavender and chamomile?
Place both hands around your cup, covering as much surface area with your fingers as possible. Notice the sensation of warmth from the mug flowing into your hands. Then, lift the cup and bring it close to your face, feeling the steam drift upwards.
Glide your fingertips over the mug, bringing awareness to the textures you feel. Is the cup smooth and delicate, or bumpy and sturdy? Can you notice any embellishments or engravings on the cup? What does the shape of the handle feel like?
Finally, bring the cup to your lips and take a slow sip of your tea, allowing the liquid to roll over your tongue. Does the tea taste light and clean, or bold and full-bodied? Would you classify the flavor as herbal, nutty, spicy, smoky or something else? Do you notice any undertones, like vanilla, cherry or almond?
Then, release any desire to further analyze or classify the tea’s flavor, and simply savor the taste for what it is. Your five senses mindfulness ritual is complete; now that your thoughts are centered and grounded, it is time to simply enjoy the tea sip by sip.
Try this five senses mindfulness tea ritual the next time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Or, make it a part of your regular self-care practice by incorporating this ritual into your morning or nightly routine.