Sense Your Senses

There is so much going on in the world — life can be overwhelming at times and it can be difficult to focus and be still. One way to practice focus is to use your senses. If you think about it, what our senses do for us is pretty amazing. Have you ever tried to focus on one sense at a time? This can be a helpful tool when you find yourself overstimulated with the activities and demands of everyday life.

Woman walking in a field of flowers
  1. Sight. 
    • Pick any object you encounter during the day — it could be your coffee mug, a tissue box, an apple or whatever you like. Once you’ve picked an object, spend time using only your sense of sight. What color is it?  What shape is it?  Maybe go for a slow walk and use sight to bring your attention to things you may not normally notice. And if your mind wanders, tell yourself “I’m only paying attention with my eyes.”
  2. Sound. 
    • Find a comfortable and safe place to sit. Close your eyes. Begin to really listen to what’s going on around you. Maybe there’s noise in the silence or maybe there are so many sounds that it’s hard to focus on just one. The task is to just be still and listen without judgment.
  3. Touch. 
    • This activity can be as simple as taking the time to notice the feel of the chair you’re sitting in or the keys on your keyboard. Notice the temperature, texture, material and how each feels on your fingers and hands — this is especially fun to do with something soft!
  4. Taste.
    • When was the last time you ate slowly enough to truly pay attention to each of your taste buds? The goal is to really taste your food slowly, eating one bite at a time. Notice how each bite, or even each time you chew, prompts a slightly new flavor.

Remember, when practicing these exercises, your mind will naturally want to wander. When you notice, gently bring your attention back to the object/sense at hand. The amount of stimulation you can get by focusing on one sense at a time is pretty incredible, so it’s no wonder you might feel overwhelmed when you use them all at once! Hopefully these exercises will help you find a bit more peace in this chaotic and active world.

Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer