Appealing to our senses is helpful for many reasons: to reduce anxiety, to energize us, to inspire our work, to boost our mood, to soothe ourselves.
And it’s relatively simple and straightforward—and doesn’t take much time. Which is why it’s especially powerful as a daily routine and when you’re feeling overwhelmed, like right now, during the holidays.
For instance, as you’re going about your day, think about how you can appeal to each sense. Ask yourself what you need and what you want to feel (e.g., calm; energized). Then consider what each sense needs in order to create or spark that feeling.
What scent would soothe me right now? What kind of image would lift my mood? What sound or taste would energize me? What would calm and comfort my sense of touch?
Below are some examples of how you can satiate your five senses:
- burning candles with lavender, vanilla, apple scents or any of your favorite scents
- spraying essential oils on your pillow and sheets
- using a diffuser
- applying perfume that tends to put you in a positive mood
- keeping a plug-in fragrance in every room
- buying yourself a bouquet of fragrant flowers
- taking the time to breathe in the different aromas of the food you’re making or tasting
- buying fresh spices
- watching the sun rise or set
- watching the stars
- surrounding yourself with peaceful or inspiring images—everything from family photos to beach or forest scenes
- surrounding yourself with sentimental objects (versus keeping them inside boxes or closets)
- visiting the botanical gardens, an art gallery, an aquarium, or a bookstore
- starting your own garden
- having clean, soft sheets
- wearing comfortable fabrics
- cuddling on the couch with your partner
- getting regular hugs from loved ones
- taking a hot shower or warm bath
- applying lotion
- getting a massage
- including a variety of spices in your meals
- savoring squares of rich dark chocolate
- knowing what your comfort foods are—and actually making them
- thinking about the temperature of foods or drinks so they comfort you most—such as a hot cup of coffee or bowl of soup
- listening to classical music
- listening to a guided meditation
- creating different playlists for different ways you’d like to feel
- going to the beach and listening to the waves crashing onto the shore
Make a list of things that energize, inspire, uplift, soothe and relax your senses. Keep that list in your journal or your planner, or even somewhere visible like a bulletin board.
Think about how you can appeal to your senses on a regular basis. Maybe even schedule a few of those activities, such as a massage once a month, or a morning beach walk every Sunday.
Think about how you can appeal to your senses to help make dull or frustrating tasks less so: Maybe you listen to classical music while making dinner. Maybe you burn a favorite candle while organizing your tax receipts. Maybe you play Christmas music while you clean. Maybe you look at family photos while waiting in a long line.
Think about how you can use your senses to nourish you. Think about how you can nourish your senses. Every day.