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Calming and Alerting Activities for Sensory Integration and Monday Mornings

Junganew Blog, Motivational Mondays

We as speech language pathologists, alongside occupational therapists use practical strategies for our clients with sensory dysfunction.  I would like to suggest utilizing some of these activities for anyone who requires calming or alerting activities to get through every day life, especially Monday mornings. We are sensory based human beings who perceive and process the world through our senses. Our senses include taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.  But, we actually have two more senses in which we perceive and process our world: proprioceptive and vestibular. Proprioception is our OWN body sense coming from receptors in the muscles, joints, and bones. For example, running up the stairs.  We are not fully conscious of it, yet we know exactly how far to lift our foot to get to the next stair by “feeling” the distance.  Vestibular is our system of movement and balance.  For example, doing cartwheels is a vestibular activity. So, wouldn’t it be useful to help ourselves to function as productively as we can throughout our day using some of the following strategies to engage our senses?

Calming Activities: Concentrate on slow, repetitive, gentle, and rhythmic activities.

  • Keep your tongue touching the roof of your mouth
  • Apply pressure beneath your nose and above your lip simultaneously
  • Listen to soft music
  • Smell eucalyptus and pine tree scents
  • Firmly touch to larger joints in the body such as your shoulders and your hips
  • Deep breathing such as in meditation and yoga.  This helps the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system
  • Wrap yourself in a light blanket
  • Accupressure points: apply pressure between thumb and index finger
  • Suck thickened liquids through a straw (milkshakes…that’s always fun!)
  • Engage in repetitive actions (such as rubbing your hands or softly rocking)
  • Engage in soft repetitive talk (stating positive affirmations to yourself)
  • Dim lights
  • Play a beat in a rhythmical manner: drums or tapping your foot

Arousing/Alerting Activities: Concentrate on activities that are quick and varied, having bright colors, noise, and include movement

  • Run, jump, and calisthenics
  • Listen to loud music
  • Dance
  • Brisk touch such as tickling
  • Change activities frequently
  • Chew strong flavored gum and eat crunchy foods
  • Look at brightly colored objects
  • Give yourself frequent reinforcement
  • Pulling and Pushing items (organizes and regulates your system)
  • Jumping Jacks

Try these activities for yourself and your children.  Feel good! Pay attention to your sensory input throughout your day and have a spectacular Monday!