Most of us use our five senses so frequently, we don’t stop to think about how incredible it is to have the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and feel touch until one or multiple senses become dulled or weakened. A dulled sense of smell, taste and hearing due to a cold or other illness is a sharp reminder of how significant of a role the sensory system has when experiencing life’s moments. The sensory system undergoes changes as we age and sensory loss is common in older adults, but there are also many environmental factors in our lives that can lead to dulled senses—such as blaring headphones and blue light from electronics. Many people experience sensory impairment from such causes and seek out professional services such as vision correction for an impaired sense of sight or hearing aids for hearing loss.
Since we experience the world through our five senses, improving and sharpening those senses can lead to more enjoyment in everyday life, a better quality of life and protection from age-related sensory loss. Similar to sharpening the mind with continued learning and stimulating tasks, developing and improving your senses requires stimulation of the senses and specific sensory exercises to target and strengthen each individual sense. Check out our tips below for how to sharpen each of your senses, if you want to improve how you experience the pleasures of life!
We’ve all had those colds that dull your sense of smell and make eating and life in general less enjoyable. In those moments, we promise to never take our clear nasal passages or sense of smell for granted ever again! Stick to those stuffy-nosed promises by sharpening your sense of smell! You can improve your sense of smell with practice, by inhaling powerful scents every day.
MOXĒ Breathe is an aromatherapy nasal inhaler that contains Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Cajeput, Tea Tree, Lavender and Rosemary essential oils, as well as Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. This all-natural blend of essential oils has an invigorating aroma that stimulates the senses and brings lasting relief to a stuffy nose! Try inhaling MOXĒ Breathe daily to improve your sense of smell!
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment. Most often these vision impairments are corrected by prescription glasses, contacts or surgery. However, there are controllable factors in our environment that can cause visual impairment or exacerbate existing vision problems, such as the blue light that is emitted by our digital devices. Too much exposure to blue light can cause dry eyes, eye strain and damage cells in the retina—potentially leading to vision loss.
According to HDFC Health, performing the following exercises on a regular basis can lead to vision improvement:
- Palming: Rub the palms of your hands together until they are warm and place them gently over your closed eyelids until the warmth is gone and repeat 2-3x. The warmth from the palms of your hands helps to relax the eye muscles, which may help improve vision if they are strained.
- Blinking: When we look at our screens, our eyes can become dry because we are not blinking as frequently. Try this exercise to moisten your dry eyes: blink 10-15 times quickly, then close your eyes and relax for 20 seconds. Repeat 4-5x.
Hearing loss is another common form of sensory impairment—often happening in old age or due to environmental factors such as loud music playing from headphones. When hearing loss is severe, people may have to turn to corrective devices such as hearing aids in order to correct the impairment. If you notice your hearing is not as sharp as it used to be, try the following exercises to enhance your auditory senses!
An impaired sense of touch is caused by damage to the nervous system—we experience sensations of touch (both pain and pleasure) through our nerve endings. It’s common to feel a decreased sense of touch when a part of our body “falls asleep” and we have the feeling of pins and needles. This is known as “paresthesia,” and is caused by the temporary compression of nerves—which means that the communication between the brain and your nerves is temporarily interrupted. Sharpening the sense of touch can improve how we experience life’s simple pleasures—tune into this sense by following the exercises below!
- Touch different textures. Feel the sensations of different textures against your skin such as fabrics like velvet, hardened denim, or soft cotton.
- Get a massage. Enjoy the relaxation and focus on how sensitive to touch each part of your body is during the massage.
Can you imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t enjoy your favorite foods? Enjoying the food we eat is one of life’s greatest pleasures—but our ability to taste can lessen as we age due to a decline in the number of taste buds in the tongue and reduced saliva production. Improve your sense of taste from the following list of exercises:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid using mouthwash with Chlorhexidine. This chemical that is used in some mouthwashes can alter the way you taste foods.
- Swish your drink around your mouth before swallowing. This allows for longer stimulation of the taste buds in your mouth.
- Try new spices and foods. Introducing new tastes will stimulate your taste buds.
The five senses are part of how we live life every day—impairment of one or more of the senses can severely decrease one’s quality of life. Follow the suggestions and exercises above to sharpen your senses and improve your sensory experience with the world!