Awaken The Senses “Life List”
Did you know that stimulating your senses can create new cognitive connections that allow for new conscious interactive experiences within your own mind? And it’s these new experiences that can make you feel more alive! Why?
Because when you take notice and focus on what your senses are experiencing at that moment, you are truly living in the present…in the NOW.
On the other hand, there are individuals who are keenly aware of their senses and use this understanding to pursue hobbies or even career goals.
Let’s look at a few:
An Aromachologist uses scents, such as those associated with essential oils, to create formulations that have a positive impact on human behavior including inducing relaxation, activating energy, and triggering healthy emotional responses.
A Perfumer is an individual who has fine-tuned their sense of smell and can pick up on the subtleties of scents. They often use this skill to design unique and creative scents to be used in perfumes, colognes and other scented products.
A Wine Connoisseur/Oenophile is a person who has the ability to describe the nuances of various wines, and through his senses of smell and taste can even determine where the grapes were grown by the subtle fragrances unique to that area.
It is well documented that if an individual experiences sensory impairment (permanent or temporary loss of sight, hearing, taste, touch, etc.), other areas of the brain will create new neural pathways to heighten the remaining senses.
Of course, you don’t have to lose a sense in order to heighten your awareness of other sensations, you just need to pay closer attention to them. And that is exactly what this following activity is all about.
We have all heard of a “Bucket List”, or I prefer “Life List”, so let’s call this an Awaken The Senses Life List!
This list will help you to focus on your senses in some new and exciting ways. Sight, smell, hearing, and taste are technically physical attributes that generate tangible physical reactions. But did you know that they also have the ability to bring about internal chemical reactions, as well as intangible emotional responses?
Okay, ready to engage your senses?
Now, think about places that will test your senses and choose 5-10 to visit (the more the better).
At each place you visit, really focus on what you hear, smell, see, taste and feel. Try to notice as many as possible.
If you found it easy to recognize 7 sensations, then challenge yourself to pick out 3 more.
This is a fun activity to ask a friend or family member to join in to share your experience and to compare your different perspectives.
Here are a few examples to help get you started.
- Go to a park, forest or indoor/outdoor arboretum.
- What does it smell like? Can you smell the greenery? The flowers? The soil?
- What does it sound like? Can you hear the birds? Are the trees moving in the wind?
- What do the air and the wind feel like on your skin?
- How does being immersed in nature make you feel?
- What does the air smell like? Can you smell the electricity? Can you feel it?
- Can you smell the earth as the rain hits it for the first time? What does it sound like?
- How does being immersed in the elements make you feel?
- Sit on a bench in a busy city and allow yourself to notice and feel all that is going on around you.
- How many sounds do you hear?
- What visually captures your attention? Notice at least 5 things that no one else will likely notice. Perhaps a ladybug that has lightly landed on the leaf of a small tree in front of you.
- What do you smell? Bus exhaust? The nearby bakery?
- How does it differ in the daylight and the evening?
- How does being immersed in the cityscape make you feel?
- Most towns and cities have an area lined with trendy restaurants and cafes.
Other ideas to consider for this activity include going to:
- Coffee Shops
- Local Zoo
- The Beach
As with anything, the more you practice and play with your senses, the more present and in tune you will become. Here are a few questions to consider as you begin to awaken your senses!
- Did this activity lead you to new discoveries and experiences?
- The senses can instantly trigger an emotional response. Which sense triggers the greatest emotional response in you? Sight? Sound? Smell? Touch? Are there specific combinations that trigger emotional responses?
And lastly, do things smell differently than you remember? For example, I remember as a little girl noticing the intense and amazing smells of the produce section in the grocery store. The aromas coming from the various fruits are especially memorable. Today, however, fresh produce lacks these irresistible smells of yesterday along with the flavor bursts that used to come with each bite. What do you think has caused such a change in our food? What is the difference between a melon that smells sweet and one that has no odor?
Can you think of other areas that have suffered this same phenomenon? I’d love to hear form you!