Our Senses Matter: Why We Need to Reengage

June 24 is Celebration of the Senses Day, a great time to learn why our senses are crucial. 

At first, celebrating the five senses may sound a little absurd. 

How do we even do that?

Do we say, “I touched something and felt it…yay!”

Or drink tea and say, “Mmmmm….tastes herby!” 

Figuring out how to even celebrate the senses breeds unsureness, and that is proof enough that we are too disengaged with these magical gifts.  

When it comes down to it, these five little fairy-dusted abilities (plus some more) are the entire reason we experience anything.

Understand the importance of our senses

When we mindfully re-engage with our senses in a world where sensory overload has dulled everything, we automatically increase the depth and meaning of our experience. 

This article will cover the following:

  • The creation of Celebration of the Senses Day
  • What are some of the other senses we possess?
  • Why we’re increasingly disengaged from our senses
  • Why it’s essential to engage our senses and some fun ways to do it 

The senses deserve their day in the sun every June 24, but they also deserve much more than that.

We, very literally, owe it to them. 

So sniff the air, feel whatever is beneath your feet, and taste the excitement as we dive into our sensory gifts for Celebration of the Senses Day! 

The Creation of Celebration of the Senses Day 

This unique has a bit of an odd origin. 

It was started by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat.com and is deemed a “Wellcat Holiday.”

The Roys started Wellcat holidays to create more things to celebrate yearly to increase fun, laughter, and joy in people’s lives. 

Their website lists over 80 fun & quirky “holidays” and has been featured in publications like USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. 

Check it out to find more imaginative days to celebrate, including things like:

  • Embrace Your Geekness Day
  • Crackers Over the Keyboard Day
  • Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day
  • Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day
  • Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day 

We Have Five Senses, Plus More

Most people know that our senses include sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. 

Those are the big five meant to be truly embraced for Celebration of the Senses Day. 

But many people don’t know that humans also possess several other senses.

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I’m not referring to the mysterious “sixth sense” of subtle perception here, but rather the tangible senses as concluded by data-driven science. 

Other senses besides the typical five we think of include:

  • Equilibrioception: the sense of balance
  • Time perception: the sense of time and its passage in various ways 
  • Thermoception: the sensing of temperature changes both internally and externally
  • Proprioception: the sense of the relative position of one’s body parts and the amount of effort being used in movement
  • Magnetoreception: the ability to sense magnetic fields (some research suggests humans have a weak sense of magnetoreception, but it is more prominent in certain animals)

We don’t often think about any of our senses because they are second nature and essentially automatic. 

But when you do stop to consider our human sensory ability, you realize that it is genuinely remarkable. 

Here are a few astounding facts about the power of our senses:

  • Sight Fact: The human eye can distinguish between approximately 10 million different colors
  • Hearing Fact: The ear is capable of hearing sounds as short as 0.05 milliseconds in duration 
  • Touch Fact: The human finger can feel objects as small as 13 nanometers in size, which is over 6,000 times smaller than human hair
  • Taste Fact: Besides the familiar tastes of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami, there is evidence suggesting that humans can “taste” fat and other non-flavor modalities
  • Smell Fact: A study from 2014 suggests that the human nose can distinguish at least 1 trillion different odors, which is much higher than the previous estimate of 10,000 odors

Why We’re So Disengaged From Our Senses 

We often undervalue our senses or take them for granted. 

Partly because, as stated above, they are automatic to us, so we never think about them. 

But living in a world of technology that expands at an exponential rate has had a significant effect on our connection to the sensory world. 

Technology has diminished or replaced the need to rely on our senses in many ways. 

Because of technology, we as humans decreasingly participate in sensory-rich experiences. 

We are so stimulated by other things that hold our attention to a greater degree than the taste of food or the feel of a particular fabric.  

Often we are scrolling our phones instead of focusing on delicious food in front of us or taking in beautiful landscapes when we spend time outdoors. 

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Also, due to this technological overstimulation, we increasingly seek more intense sensory stimulation, like loud music or bright visuals.

This only perpetuates our desensitization to the subtler aspects of the senses, like the feeling of a gentle breeze, the scent of rain, or the background sounds of nature. 

When we do not engage in activities that stimulate our natural senses, we depress our experience of life and diminish our capacity for joy. 

Naturally, this leads to a lower quality of life over time. 

This is why we need Celebration of the Senses Day more than any other time in history!

Proof That We Need to Re-Engage Our Senses 

Strong scientific evidence says engaging with subtle sensory experiences improves our quality of life. 

The evidence is often linked to practices like mindfulness, savoring, and engaging in sensory-rich activities.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment, including being aware of sensory experiences. 

A 2015 Journal of Psychosomatic Research study showed that being mindful of subtle sensory experiences can make everyday activities more enjoyable and meaningful.

There is also strong evidence that a practice called Savoring is associated with increased happiness and well-being. 

Savoring means deliberately paying attention to and appreciating enjoyable experiences, including sensory experiences like tastes, smells, and sights. 

We must engage in activities stimulating our senses to practice mindfulness and savoring. 

This can mean spending time in nature, participating in art, listening to music, or cooking. 

All these things have been linked to improved mood, reduced stress, and overall vitality and well-being. 

Even social time with others presents an opportunity to engage with our senses. 

Using sensory perception to observe another’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language can improve social interactions and relationships, essential components of a quality life.

Overall, awareness of sensory experiences will enhance the depth and richness of our daily lives.

This helps us connect more deeply with our environment and contributes to long-term happiness and mental well-being.

Fun Ways to Engage Your Senses

Practicing mindfulness by focusing on sensations during everyday activities can enhance our appreciation for our senses and experience of life. 

But for Celebration of the Senses Day, take it a step further. 

Plan fun activities designed specifically to engage your senses in a way you wouldn’t do every day. 

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Below are some suggestions for lighting up your senses for this special day of sensory appreciation. 

Sight

1. Color or paint

Get some coloring books or canvases and play with colors and shapes. 

2. Go for a photography walk 

Take a camera or your smartphone and go for a walk specifically to take pictures of interesting things you see.

Hearing

1. Listen to outdoor background sounds 

Take a walk outside and focus on listening to the sounds around you – birds, objects moving in the wind, the sound of tires on pavement. 

Try to pick out highly specific sounds you wouldn’t normally notice. 

2. Music Tasting

Spend time sampling different types of music, especially genres or artists you’re unfamiliar with. 

Taste

1. Taste-Testing Game

Blindfold yourself and have a friend give you different foods to taste. 

Try to find foods not overly familiar to you, and guess what you eat only by the taste.

Touch

1. Do a Textured Craft 

Do a craft project using materials with different textures, such as fabrics, beads, or clay.

2. Gardening

If you can access a garden, explore the earth’s and plants’ feel.

Immerse your hands in some dirt; this is very grounding and engaging for the sense of touch.

Smell

1. Have a blindfolded aromatherapy session

Cover your eyes and explore scents with essential oils or scented candles.

Make combinations of two or three scents and try to pick out the individual aromas. 

2. Visit a Flower Garden or Market

Take in all the different floral scents surrounding you (this is an incredible sight activity, too).

Remember to Stay Present for Your Senses

Remember that the idea is to be present and engaged in the activity, paying attention to the sensory experiences. 

These activities can be very beneficial for relaxation, stress reduction, and generally improving the quality of your daily life through enhanced sensory engagement.

Use them to make fun memories with friends or family and use them as a reminder to engage your senses more in everyday life. 

Happy Celebration of the Senses Day!

Tell us your favorite way to engage your senses in the comment section. 

Share this article with friends and family to spread the word about using our senses for a richer and more meaningful life!

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