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  • Laura McKinnon

Use your 5 senses to feel happier and more mindful

Gratitude culture is such a huge thing these days. Often, practicing gratitude is something we know we should do, but forget or prioritize other things. Our busy lives get in the way. Sure, stopping to “smell the roses” would be nice, but who actually has time for that?!


We all want to live happier. We wish we could slow downtime. Some are afraid of aging and realizing that our lives slipped by... That our kids grew and we didn’t fully appreciate their childhood... Some hold the belief “once I get/have [blank], I will be happy.” Some may think "because [blank] happened, I'll never be happy again."


You can easily develop a practice using five gifts that you likely already possess - your senses. Smell, Sight, Hear, Touch and Taste.



In this blog, we’re going to dive into how using your senses


THE SCIENCE-Y PART OF GRATITUDE:


Gratitude is so much more than a simple list at the end of the day. It’s an elevated state you can live in and train your brain to easily return to, over and over again.


[1] Gratitude has been scientifically proven to change the neural structures in the brain, making us feel happier and more content. Feeling grateful and appreciating the little things triggers the ‘good’ hormones and regulates the effective functioning of the immune system.


Scientists have suggested by activating the reward center of the brain, gratitude alters the way we see the world and ourselves. When we give and receive gratitude, our brain naturally focuses on what we have, giving us a strong awareness of the present.


At the neurochemical level, gratitude acts as a catalyst for neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – hormones that manage our emotions, anxiety, and immediate stress responses.


How cool is that!? There are so many studies on the science of gratitude and positive psychology. The Greater Good Science Centre’s website - www.greatergood.berkeley.edu - is a wonderful resource for further learning.


[1] The Appreciative Heart: The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning McCraty and colleagues (1998) HeartMath Research Center, Institute of HeartMath, Publication No. 02-026. Boulder Creek, CA, 2002.




HOW YOUR FIVE SENSES WILL ELEVATE YOUR RESULTS


Most of us are blessed with the power to see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Each sense plays an important role in our life. All-day, every day (even when we are asleep) our senses are working together to make sure we are safe and protected.


Humans learn best, and more easily adapt to change, when our brains and bodies are experiencing multiple senses at once.


Our bodies do some amazing things when our 5 senses are ignited:

  1. SMELLING a baby releases dopamine, that feel-good neurotransmitter that fuels the brain’s reward center.

  2. SEEING a slow-flowing river can lower cortisol levels and helps your entire body relax.

  3. HEARING your favourite song directly affects your hormones and has been shown to improve your health, sleep and performance.

  4. TOUCHING a loved one (through a kiss for example) triggers your brain to release chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, creating euphoria and encouraging feelings of affection. This ignites the pleasure centre of the brain. It also lowers your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

  5. TASTING incredible flavours, like your favourite home-cooked meal, can also release all of those feel-good hormones! So take note of the mouthfeel, eat/drink slowly and enjoy!

Stay tuned because in just a few weeks we’ll be releasing a step-by-step guide to this easy gratitude practice that is suitable for, and can be learned quickly, by anyone. Yes, even if you’re missing or have a weakened sense! Oftentimes, when one of your senses is not as strong, your other senses are heightened. AMAZING!


XO, Laura


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