The great Renaissance painter and sculptor, Leonardo da Vinci said that the average person…
Looks without seeing,
Listens without hearing,
Touches without feeling,
Eats without tasting,
Moves without physical awareness,
Inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, and
Talks without thinking.
Does this describe you? Your senses are powerful. You need all five of them for basic functions. But you can also use them to enhance your personal development.
Focus on one sense each day. For instance, on one day, you could pay particular attention to everything you see that day. Don’t pay much attention to your other senses on your “sight” day. On a touch day, focus on feeling various textures, and so on.
Perform this exercise over 5 days, concentrating on a different sense each day.
Repeat this 5-day exercise from time to time to stay in tune with all of your senses so you can reap the most benefits from them.
Your Sense of Hearing
True listening has the power to transform relationships, whether it’s with loved ones, colleagues, or bosses. In fact, when your boss speaks, you really need to understand what they’re saying and what they expect from you. It can make the difference between a failed and a successful career. In the same way, how well you listen affects your relationships with friends, lovers and family.
Try these tips to fine tune your listening skills:
Look at the person speaking. Show your interest by leaning forward and maintain eye contact.
Show interest. From time to time, nod your head or say something like “Really?” or “I see what you mean.”
While the speaker is talking, avoid planning what you’re going to say next. It’s also disruptive to interject statements like “Oh, it happened to me too” and then talk about yourself. Let the speaker finish their thought before you reply.
Improve Your Creativity and Focus With Mozart
Research has long shown that music can enhance health, brain power and a sense of well-being. This phenomenon is known as “The Mozart Effect.”
Mozart’s music, particularly the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, has been shown to boost brain power. Its rhythm mimics the rhythmic pulses of Alpha brainwaves, known to be experienced during meditation, a creative act, or relaxation. Mozart’s music can also wake you up if you need to concentrate.
Your Sense of Touch
There are physiologic changes that occur in the body when you are touched. A study conducted at the University of New York has shown that “therapeutic touch,” which involves placing the hands just above or on the patient’s problem area for half an hour, boosts hemoglobin levels.
After a session of touch therapy, the hypothalamic area of the brain which controls the “fight or flight” response slows down, causing stress hormones to drop and endorphins (the feel-good hormones) to rise. Hug someone or your pets to enhance immunity and positive feelings.
Your sense of Sight
There’s a popular saying: “the eyes are the window to the soul.” You can’t hide what you’re feeling inside when you look someone straight in the eyes. I think similarly, your eyes are the gateway to your mind. What you visually consume has a profound impact on what you think.
If you want to protect your mind from garbage, you have to turn away. What you see is not always within your control. But you can intentionally feast your eyes on the beauty of nature, soothing colors and affirming visual media. Surround yourself with a rejuvenating garden or relaxing colors like blues and greens.
Your Sense of Smell
Smell has a long memory. Have you noticed how you can get a whiff of something that reminds you of something from your past? In my article on aromatherapy http://beyondburnout.com/relax-mind-aromatherapy/, I discuss how essential oils have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
Spend a day focused on the scents in nature. This would include the scent of your food. How often do you take the time to notice how your food smells before you eat it. Reflecting on the aroma can be a part of mindful eating. Mindfulness http://beyondburnout.com/why-mindfulness-matters/ while you eat slows your eating and helps you eat less.
Also, try using an essential oil, like Lavender to help you relax in the evening after a long day. As you become more aware of scents, avoid ones that evoke a negative emotion. You may be subjecting yourself to negative thoughts in your head that are triggered by odors without making the connection between the two. By making yourself more aware of odors and how they affect you, you can reduce your negative exposures and enhance the positive ones.
Your Sense of Taste
Your sense of taste plays a major role in the quality of your life on a day-to-day basis. Your sense of taste is dictates your eating and drinking habits, and these are behaviors we engage in every day.
If you are attracted to foods that are low in nutrition and unhealthy for your body, then that’s what you will consume. It will be hard to eat the things you find distasteful.
I mentioned in this article on juicing and smoothies http://beyondburnout.com/juicing-smoothies-good-bad-ugly/ that you can retrain your taste buds to prefer whole foods over processed foods and sugar.
We all know that we should drink 8 cups of water per day. But with all of the sodas and flavored drinks, who wants to drink plain water?
But it is important to retrain yourself to love water. Try a slice of a fresh orange, lime, or lemon in your water to add natural flavoring. You can even turn it into a fancy drink by floating strawberries or cucumbers on top. As you become more and more accustomed to drinking water, you’ll find yourself craving it.
As a busy mom, it’s easy to eat while you are standing in the kitchen getting seconds for someone else or eat fast while checking emails. When you eat fast you eat more. Slow down your eating by focusing on the taste of each bite.
As you clean up your diet http://beyondburnout.com/two-quick-start-tips-to-clean-up-your-diet/ and eliminate processed foods, your taste buds will become more sensitive to the natural spices and flavors of the whole foods.
Your sense of taste can do so much more than help you enjoy your food! Use it to help you lead a healthy lifestyle and take pleasure in a more vibrant life. All of your senses help you experience the world. By actively using your senses to your best advantage, you bring more of that world to your life.
Bangerter, A. & Heath, C. (2004). The Mozart effect: tracking the evolution of a scientific legend. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 605-623.
Hetland, L. (2000). Listening to music enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: Evidence for the “Mozart Effect.” Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34, 105-148.
Rauscher, F.H., Shwa, G. L., Levine, L. J., Wrights, E. L., Dennis. W.R., & Newcomb, R. L. (1997). Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial- temporal reasoning. Neurological Research, 19, 2-8.
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