Using All Five Senses

I recently found an interesting magazine article about using all your five senses. By which I mean Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, and Smell. As soon as your day starts, your five senses are hard at work. You see, you hear, you feel, you smell and you taste. Many of us take our senses for granted and don’t give then much thought at all. We rarely experience with one sense alone. Our senses work together to give us the whole picture. In recent times we have been unable to call on all our senses. Many have lost their sense of smell, temporarily or in some cases more permanently, which has had the knock- on- effect of also losing the sense of taste. We have had restrictions on touching both objects and other people. Meetings and appointments are held over Zoom. We buy online rather than visiting a physical shop, we can see, but not feel or smell what we are purchasing. These five senses link us to world around us, by collecting information that is then interpreted by the brain. It’s the primary means we use to gain new knowledge.

When I hear, I forget. When I see, I remember. When I do, I understand

Old Chinese proverb

Children naturally learn with all the senses. From birth, children are experts at learning with all five senses active. Young children make sense of their world by hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling. Should this be something we all need to do? Children can teach us all a thing or two about living more in the moment!

Although many people enjoy full lives with sensory disabilities, any disturbances or loss of our senses can have a profound impact upon us. Our senses can help with everyday tasks such as driving, talking to people and performing activities at work. But far more importantly, they are essential for our enjoyment of experiences such as eating a meal or listening to music. Because of the close connection to our emotions and memories, the senses impact very dramatically on how we feel.

Researchers have recently started to explore ways to purposely manipulate the senses for people’s benefit. Charles Spence, an Oxford University PhD researcher who runs a lab dedicated to studying the role that perception plays in behaviour and health, says that, “Interventions based on what we see, feel, and even taste can have a seemingly dramatic effect on health. They can reduce pain, speed recovery from illness, and much more”

You can put all your five senses to work with activities like gardening, walking and cycling. Just by taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings and been more aware, you can live more fully, even during an everyday task such as going to work. When you walk into any environment, you experience the space with all five senses turned on. The five senses are alert in your body, receiving information that your brain processes, this then influence your feelings, affect your well-being and can play a key role in the creation of memories. Sometimes people experience decreased sensation or the absence of a sense altogether. If this affects you, know you’re not alone. There are many people that experience life just like you do. Often, if one of the five senses is reduced or absent, the other four will strengthen to help the brain to form a complete picture of the environment. Your sense of smell or hearing might be heightened if you experience blindness or low vision. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, your senses of touch and sight may become keener.

By making healthier choices, you can continue enjoying life through your senses. Be cautious with your hearing. Long-term exposure to loud noises can damage the membranes in your ear that create sound. Keep your eyes safe from sun damage by wearing sunglasses. You can also help support your vision by eating foods with healthy fats, antioxidants Your senses do add variety and texture to your life. And it’s important to protect their health. It’s perfectly normal to experience some decline in sensation with age. But there are steps you can take to preserve your senses and take care of your body, too. The sensory approach to health and wellness is still in its early days, and there’s much for researchers to tease out and clarify. But in most cases, there’s little cost and virtually no risks or side effects involved in experimenting with them on your own.

It’s such a big subject, I have spilt this into a couple of posts rather than trying to squeeze everything into one post. These will be following soon. But I hope in the meantime, this has given you something to think about.

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