Have you ever considered that how you use your five senses can have an impact on your health?
Your five senses are taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. These five senses support your ability to experience your life and the world around you. These include feeling the wind on your face, smelling the flowers in your garden, and communicating through speech and learning through reading. The senses are constantly providing you with input so you can experience yourself and navigate the world around you. They also provide a mechanism for self-regulation to maintain a healthy and balanced life.
Modern society places so many demands on your senses. Today’s pace of life and the demands of work and family feels overwhelming. These demands create an overload of sensory input. Over time, that overload can take a toll on your health and well-being.
In your everyday busy life, you may eat in a rush and eat the wrong foods, causing heartburn and poor sleep. The quick fix is to look outward for solutions such as an antacid for the heartburn and a sleeping pill to get a good night’s sleep. Clearly, your senses are overstimulated, and that overstimulation will contribute to these symptoms.
When do you notice that your senses get overstimulated and out of balance?
Yoga and Ayurveda (the medicine of yoga) teach that misuse of the senses tips our minds and bodies out of balance and leads to disease. Here are some great examples of misuse of the senses that you can probably relate to. Overeating or not eating enough (anorexia) can affect the digestive system and deplete the body of energy and vitality. Watching violent movies or listening to loud music, talking too much, and too much screen time will overstimulate your nervous system, increasing your stress levels and contributing to poor sleep.
Instead of reaching for solutions outside of yourself, consider the possibility that simply recalibrating how you use your senses may resolve your symptoms. Using your senses appropriately and in a balanced way will contribute to better physical, mental and emotional health. When life gets out of balance, you can often use the five senses to pinpoint how you got there. If you start to listen to your body and pay attention to the messages it is sending you, you can begin to make little changes that can have a significant impact on your health.
Rather than reaching for the antacid for that heartburn, try eating less, and choose whole foods that will provide vitality to your body. Practice restricting screen time, particularly one hour before bed. Instead, build in a consistent bedtime routine that slows you down and nourishes your senses. Bedtime rituals such as self-massage, conscious breathing practice, or a gratitude journal to reflect on your day will soothe the senses and prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.
The next time you notice that you are feeling tired or overstimulated, pay attention. What do your senses need more of or less of to help you feel more balanced and easeful? Practice sensing and feeling what your body needs at the moment. Manage the sensory inputs deciding what is best for your health and happiness.