“In every moment our senses reach out in longing to engage the world.” – John O’Donohue
By. Danielle Husband
Engaging your five senses is an important part of living a mindful life. Your senses root you in the present moment, pulling you out of your head space and into the real world. Your experiences become richer, allowing you to better enjoy the moment.
When you engage your senses, you can fully live in the now instead of getting caught up in thoughts about the past or the future. It’s a simple way to help yourself truly live rather than just going through the motions of day-to-day life.
This week, take time each day to engage your five senses. You can focus on each sense at different times of the day, or you can create a truly enriching experience by engaging all five senses at once. If you aren’t sure how to get started, here are five ways that you can engage each of your senses:
- Free yourself of distractions and gaze around you.
- Note every blue (or any color) item within your view.
- Create a one sentence description of the area around you.
- Look for patterns, such as piles of fallen leaves, planted flowers, or cracks in the sidewalk.
- Pick out unique landmarks.
- Name the sounds around you.
- Go for a walk without earbuds. Listen for birds, animals, and the sounds of your city.
- Turn off distractions like TV and radio while you do an activity.
- Actively listen to conversations you have with friends and family.
- Listen to your food as it cooks.
- Breathe in deeply and try to pick out different smells.
- Smell your food before you eat it.
- Think of one word to describe the smell of the places you frequent, such as your office or kitchen.
- Bake or cook foods with a strong smell, such as cookies.
- Take a break from air fresheners that mask smells.
- Slow down your eating so that you can taste each bite.
- Go outside and try to taste the air.
- Compare how food tastes to how it smells.
- Name the tastes in a complicated dish.
- Drink water with dinner instead of flavored drinks so that the tastes aren’t masked.
- Notice the texture of your clothes and furniture.
- Try to find five different textures in the world around you.
- Enjoy the warmth of a hug or cuddle.
- Sip on a hot beverage and notice how the heat feels.
- Take a hot bath.
Hopefully this week will bring you more mindful moments and better experiences. Take care of yourselves!