Connecting With Yourself (Part I): Tune Into Your Senses

by - April 02, 2018


When we connect with ourselves, we also learn to better connect with the world around us. Tune into your senses and focus not only inward, but also outward. Connect with your inner feelings, observe your bodily sensations and allow yourself to simply be. Connect with yourself and deeply experience the connection with the environment, which you are undeniably a valuable part of, enveloping you. Practicing mindful awareness of your body signals and sensations can improve your ability to recognize and regulate emotions, reduce reactivity, healthily cope with daily stressors, notice more frequent moments of joy, and help you be more present.

By being aware of what's happening internally, you are activating your interoceptive skills (i.e. perception and signalling of internal bodily sensations). Research shows that enhanced interoceptive skills can affect cognition, boost memory (Garfinkel, Barrett, et al., 2013) and also  improve decision-making (Dunn, Galton et al., 2010). But becoming more interoceptively aware is not all that there is. There's a whole world out there, so don't limit yourself. Tune into your senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and why not your intuition too. Then reach out to your exteroceptive abilities (i.e. external awareness) and connect outward. Notice the sounds outside, the hum of the city, the singing of the birds or my favorite - try listening to the quietness around you. Find the scents of your environment and see what they elicit in you. It could be the coffee shop, the noodle stall outside or the distinctive smells of the season (I hope I'm not the only one who can sense the upcoming spring!). Take a deep breath and take it all in. Feel the fabric of your clothes and the ground under your feet.

If you find the thought of deepening your connection within yourself and with your surroundings something you'd like to try, below you can find a handful of suggestions and practical ideas you can sample with ease.


Look around you, what do you see? If you're inside at the moment, go closer to a window and take in the view. Observe the shapes and colors, the buildings, the people and the sky. Notice if there are any clouds, perhaps there is sunshine? At night you can watch the interaction between the shades and the street lights, see if you can find any flickers, see if you can locate any stars. Take a moment to contemplate the scenery in front of you and then close your eyes to focus on the sensations within you. How does it make your body feel? Can you spot something you haven't really noticed before? If you have the chance, try this little awareness exercise outside too where you can see and feel more. Find a nearby lake, river, docks or the ocean and allow yourself to simply watch the movements of the water without engaging with your thoughts. Find a park and do the same, but with the green space and the trees around you.


Listen to the sounds and hear the noises of the vehicles passing by, perhaps the playground voices from the school nearby or the office commotion, without reacting. Just allow yourself to listen and at the same time connect with yourself and with those sounds from a neutral place. Then take it up a notch and try opening your senses to different kinds of sounds, perhaps you can try listening to instrumental music in different rhythms, white noise, or delta waves music not only when it's time for bed. If you haven't yet, maybe you can try listening to ASMR sounds (autonomous sensory meridian response) that yield tingling-like sensations across your body. If you give yourself permission to feel relaxed not just when it comes to sleeping, you can be aware of the signals within your body without finding distractions such as browsing on your phone, watching or reading. In times when we're so used to be always on, it's good to feel "on" in a different, a more aware way.

If you get the chance, listen to the silence, because there is rarely a complete absence of sound. Even when you're at home and stay still, I bet you can hear all sorts of sounds coming from the outside and inside as well - the fridge, the heating or air conditioning, the vibrations in the air. Visit an art gallery, museum or a library (somewhere where it's usually kept quiet) and listen to the echo of the people's whispers.


What scents can you detect right now? Whether it's your home or workplace, what does the smell in the air remind you of? Studies report that our brains process specific odours and associate them with our memories. That's why when we sniff cinnamon for instance, we're often reminded of winter and the holidays. There are plenty of smells you can sense when you go outside, especially if you go somewhere where nature is in abundance. If you're up for a scent challenge, walk into an essential oils store and try out some of the essences. Feel the different fragrant notes and observe how your body responds. Some might calm you down like lavender or sandalwood for example, others might make you feel more revived such as citrus and peppermint.


When you nourish and hydrate your body, slow down and feel the texture and flavour of the food. It's common to eat while we emote certain feelings and thoughts, but if you just let yourself be mindful as you eat or drink, you'll see the difference. Eating in awareness allows your body to experience sensations in a new light and stay present.


Mornings can often have some of the highest stress and anxiety rates compared to other times of the day. Instead of jumping straight into worry over your tasks for the day, let your hands freely experience the warmth of your morning cup of coffee or tea as the steam gently wakes you up. Put on your best sweater that brings you comfort rather than style and feel the fabric against your skin. What feelings does it bring? Do you feel safer, at ease or more confident? We all love the sensations of fresh linen when we go to bed, perhaps you have a personal all-time favorite piece of clothing or a blanket that brings similar experiences within you? Think about how it makes you feel. As you take a walk, try not to rush, feel your body's movements and those of people around you, and notice the sensation as your shoes touch the ground.

Try, experiment and discover new ways to connect with yourself and your environment. Remember, you are part of this world and seeking connection comes naturally. Feel free to share your best practices with us!

Have a day of calm and joy!

Wellness is the place where you can join us on our journey to test some of those lifestyle tools and techniques the world has given us in its attempt to help us 'relax'. Working out, breathing, foods to avoid or cling to, journaling, and so on. We will share with you what worked, what didn't, and what surprised us most. And of course, encourage you to try your own!


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