Engaging your senses to improve your every day life.
Studies show that when more of our senses are engaged, or all of them, we are more likely to get enjoyment out of something, than when only one or two of our senses are engaged. And we tend to rely heavily on our vision, when our other senses have stronger links in our brains to fond memories that will make us smile.
So today I’m going to talk you through a quick, easy exercise to help engage the senses and identify ways to just make every day a little more enjoyable. Now, who wouldn’t want that? Find a comfy place to sit, and take ten or so minutes to do this exercise. You’ll just need a pen and paper.
Close your eyes. (OK, maybe read the paragraph ahead and then close you eyes).
Now imagine you’re in your home (or your office space, if you like, and have the freedom to make changes to your surroundings). You might be in your living room, walking in your front door or sitting out on the back porch.
Take a deep breath, and imagine you can smell something that makes you smile or brings back pleasant memories.
It might be flowers from the garden like lilies or lavender. It might be the freshly cut grass or the baking wafting through from the kitchen. Make a note on your pad of the smell.
Now take another deep breath, and think about a song, or an artist that you always love listening to. Someone that makes you happy and want to sing a long. Not the love songs you listened to when you’re teenage boyfriend broke up with you, or the heavy metal you listened to when the world just didn’t understand you. (I get it thought, they have their place too. Just not today!). Think of something that makes you smile, and feel happy. Note it down.
Imagine you have come home early from work, and there is still a few hours left in the afternoon before you need to even think about dinner. You open the front door and walk down your hallway. What would make you smile? Flowers on the side table? A stack of magazines by your favourite chair? Or just that there isn’t much clutter? That you have come from outside where there is noise and pressures and responsibilities, and inside your front door is a calm, easy respite.
Or maybe it’s the ambience of the room, the dimmed lighting or the fairy lights glittering away. The sun rays streaming across the room and up the walls.
And finally, the image that makes you smile doesn’t have to be in person. You might have a favourite travelling book, or photo album you like to flick through that makes you smile. This is a favourite for me. When I want to feel inspired, I pull out my favourite Italian book, or one of Sibella Court’s beautifully designed books, like etcetera or Nomad: A Global Approach to Interior Style” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Nomad. These books really do provide a feast for the eyes and an escape for the imagination.
Note down what would make you smile on your paper.
Now picture yourself sinking into your chair.
Do your fingers rest on the leather arms, or do your toes sink into a plush rug at your feet? What would make your day feel special? If this was the only time in the day that was just for you, what would make it just perfect? Or maybe it’s the pillow on your bed or sinking into a comfortable hammock on the deck… just a moment where you can enjoy the textures around you. Note it down 🙂
And finally, think of something you love to eat that also loves you right back. Something that nourishes your body and soul, doesn’t leave you on a sugar high or suffering a carb overload. It might be your favourite fruit, a piece of dark chocolate, a warm winter stew or something simple like avocado on toast. This is your last item on the list!
These things make you smile. The make your day more cheerful, they’ll make you more cheerful and, chances are, they don’t make an appearance in your life often enough. We are often on auto-pilot, getting the chores done and hanging out for the weekend. And honestly, sometimes we are just prioritising the wrong things!
So part two of this exercise is to think of creative ways to bring these into your every day life. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out shopping and buy a luxury arm chair or plant a lavender garden. By all means, if you want to – go ahead! But if lavender is a scent that brings a smile to your face and just makes you feel happy, you could get a diffuser and some essential oils, or some scented candles. If an ambient room feels luxurious and cosy to you, take think about playing around with the lighting so you don’t always have bright overhead lights on.
I love listening to music, but I never used to think to put my favourite songs on. I’d be lucky if I remembered to flick the radio on in the car on my way to work! But my husband is like a walking soundtrack. Wherever he goes and whatever he is doing, his music follows him and it is slowly rubbing off on me! I’m telling you, it makes the biggest difference grooving to Pink or Six60 (they are a New Zealand band, you should definitely check them out!) while I’m peeling the veggies for dinner.
And if you just love a bit of smashed avo on toast, make sure you’ve got it on hand! Life is too short to be grabbing for a breakie that you don’t love. ♥
And the last step? Do it!
Make it a priority. If you’ve read any of my other posts, like this one, you’ll notice a similar theme.
There are really only two things required for success – planning well, and taking action.
We can get too busy working to get through the day. Planning holidays months ahead where you might get a chance to enjoy life and just letting day after day slip by. Some day I’ll have time to do this, some day I won’t be so busy. Well guess what? Today’s the day. It’s the only day in front of you right now. Make it a good one and enjoy it!