Our sensible senses: use them all, daily, for best effect

“Use your common sense!” as my Mum used to tell me.  But which one is “common”?  If you’re lucky enough to have all your 5 senses working properly, you need a combination of all of them to get the best experience.  If one or more is impaired, you can be sure the others will be working extra hard to get you the best.

There’s a proverb (often wrongly attributed to Confucius, but still worthwhile for this blog) which goes like this: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.  

Active learning

It’s a good quote, regardless of who said it, because it explains that we need to use as many of our senses as possible to learn something well.  It’s often not quite good enough for someone to tell me how to do something.  It’s better if I’m shown, and better still if I do it myself.  Take line-dancing (or any other practical skill).  How would you learn those complicated steps without physically doing it yourself?  In a gym class, it’s not enough, or safe enough, simply to be told what to do: you need to look, listen and then do it (carefully) too.

Our senses teach us all the time, and yet sometimes we neglect them, just as we used to stop paying attention to our teachers at school.  And don’t pretend you didn’t!  Mindfulness is a great teacher; it helps us to nurture our senses, by paying attention to them, one by one.

Get mindful

Next time you have a minute, and that’s all it takes, pay close attention to what you’re doing: eating, walking, sitting.  Focus in on your senses, one by one, and notice what you feel.  That’s all it takes.  One minute.  Yes, you do have time.  It’s brain training and it doesn’t need you to sit on a cushion going “Om” (unless you’d like to, in which case, that’s great too!)

Pink clouds and unicorns?

What’s the point?  The point is that you’re making time to connect with the present moment, which is all there is.  The past is gone, the future’s yet to be and all we have is now.  And if  you think that’s not your thing, then think about this: help train your brain to focus, give yourself a mini-break, become more productive, nurture peace of mind.  Who wouldn’t want some of that?  It’s just common sense, surely?

 

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About Marianna Beckwith