I am realising more and more that looking after ourselves, supporting our wellbeing, and keeping healthy doesn’t need a lot of investment in time and money, it can be incredibly simple.  When we discover the foundations of what makes us feel good, when we find the tools that specifically work for us, we can regularly implement simple activities to ensure that our wellbeing doesn’t come as an afterthought.

By allowing space to check in with ourselves, we can begin to take more notice.  We can start to attend more closely to the everyday information received by our everyday senses.  We can create ‘senseful moments’ where we tune in, acknowledge, and appreciate on a much deeper level.

Recently I have been creating much more space for myself and one thing I have really been aware of is how my 5 senses are heightened and more sensitive.  It got me thinking about how we can use our senses to feel good.

Our senses connect us to the world around us, they help us enjoy certain experiences, they help keep us from dangerous situations, they trigger emotions and release memories, so they have a big impact on the way we feel.

By focusing on our 5 senses individually we can bring ourselves more into the present, rather than worrying about the past or future.  As we move from thinking to observing, we can better understand how we can sense our way to feeling good

Sight –

This is often thought of as the strongest of our senses.  We rely a lot on what we can see to understand the world around us, therefore it is an important one to ensure that we are nourishing.

What is the first thing you look at in the morning?  Do you immediately pick up your phone or switch on your computer?  Do you get stuck there for most of the day?  If you do, could you give yourself a few moments to open your eyes to the natural world around you?

Looking away from our screens, and out the window as far as the scene outside of where you are can take you, is not only super beneficial in strengthening your eyesight and long vision, but it also reminds us of the world around us.  It helps us to take a moment and check in with how we are feeling and, in regard to perspective, be able to see ‘the bigger picture’.

What else can you fill your eyes with during your days that you enjoy?

Your favourite colours, or the faces of your favourite people, which could be in person or through photos, or of course Zoom!  Perhaps your eyes would appreciate a good book or exploring your creative side through art.

When you go for a walk really notice the nature around you, the colours, the shapes, the textures.

Observe and notice how it makes you feel.

Hearing –

What types of sounds are filling your days?  Are you putting the news on straight away in the morning?  Do you listen to it throughout the day or before bed?  Are you feeling informed by it or is it inducing fear and anxiety?  

If it is the latter, you may want to consider restricting the time that you are hearing about all the world’s problems so that you can focus more on what you can control within yourself and your own home.

When you’re chatting to friends and family are your conversations heavy with things like the current political or environmental situation?  

These kinds of conversations have a time and a place, if it doesn’t feel beneficial for you to get involved in them, it is ok to change the subject to move in to a discussion and find common ground with the things that bring you joy instead.

Are you surrounded by noise?

Sometimes too much noise, whether that’s traffic, sirens, other people, children, animals, the radio, the TV, or even our own thoughts, can really rile up the nervous system.

Take some moments throughout the day to find a space of quiet.  The external noise may well be out of your control, but you could adopt some internal quiet by giving yourself a mindful meditative moment away from the intensity of the day.

There are also lots of mindfulness apps and guided meditation videos on You Tube that you can include in your feel-good plan.  You may also like to create different playlists to pop on at particular times of the day or for when you feel in need.

If you regularly fill your ears with positive sound vibrations your mind, body, and emotions will thank you for it.

Taste

When you are eating are you truly tasting the food that you eat?

Mindfully eating local foods that are in season has a huge impact on how good things taste but also how well we digest them, and therefore the overall health of our guts.  The happiness of our guts has huge repercussions for how the rest us feels, but that’s for another blog!

We very often reach for fast junk food when we are feeling low, however this can cause inflammation in the body, lower our immunity, and reduce our energy.  The true benefit comes when we indulge in the tasty things that we enjoy but that offer us nutrition and strength.

Next time you make yourself a warm drink, sit quietly, sip steadily, breathe it in, and truly savour the flavour.

Smell

Did you know we have 5 million receptor cells in our nose?! 

Which scents do you love?  Are you offering them to yourself regularly?  

Whether that’s through particular foods cooking, the smell of a good coffee brewing, a herbal tea steaming in a favourite mug, or perhaps through good quality scented candles, incense, or essential oils, the smells that you enjoy trigger the limbic system in the brain which controls your memories, behaviours, and feelings.

You may like to consider investing in an oil diffuser and some good quality essential oils.  You can then fill your home with the cleansing scent of oils which offer calm when you need to relax or energise when you need a lift.

Essential oils are a wonderful resource to help us slow down the nervous system, lower blood pressure, promote relaxation, enhance concentration & productivity, as well as improve our quality of sleep.

You can find these smells within nature too, within the herbs, flowers, and trees.

Stop, take a deep breath, inhale the beautiful scent, let it linger.

Touch

This is a big one currently due to the restrictions of how much touch we have been able to experience this year.  

Touch is an integral part to our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.  One way we can satisfy this need is through self-massage which is a powerful form of touch.  It increases our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, boosts immunity, calms the nervous system, and lowers stress.  

Cuddles from others may be limited right now, but you can give yourself a big hug through self-massage.  

Petting an animal is also incredibly therapeutic.  If you don’t have a pet perhaps you could borrow your neighbours’ cat, dog or rabbit!

If you can hug another person make that hug last at least 30-60 seconds.  Notice how much calmer and safer you feel.

The next time you pick up a book, really feel the pages as you turn them.  Perhaps whilst reading your book you could cover yourself with a soft blanket.  The materials and fabrics that we wear and use throughout our days can really help to offer us comfort or give us a boost.

You may like to explore which touch therapies work for you too.  Reflexology, amongst many other wonderfully relaxing and wellbeing boosting therapies, is a great one to try!