5 Simple Ways to Supercharge and Heighten Your Senses
Think about how wonderful it is to smell your delicious dinner cooking or witness a breathtaking sunset. Did you know that you can heighten your senses to get the most of those excellent aromas and beautiful views?
If your senses aren’t as sharp as you’d like them to be or you want to get more out of what’s going on around you, continue reading. We want to share simple ways to boost your 5 senses and what to avoid that could be weakening them.
What Are The 5 Senses in Humans?
We have our senses to thank for allowing us to fully experience life around us. The 5 basic senses humans have are sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. These senses allow us to understand and perceive the world around us by sending information to our brain.
- Sight is a complex process where light reflects off an object and passes through the cornea and lens. This combines to produce an image.
- Touch includes pressure, temperature, vibration, and pain.
- Hearing occurs when sound is channeled through the ear and sound waves reach the eardrum. Then, the tissue vibrates when sound waves hit it.
- Smell occurs when nerve endings transmit scents to the brain.
- Taste is sensed through tasting buds. It comes in the form of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory. Did you know spicy isn’t actually a taste but a pain signal?
Is It Possible to Heighten Senses?
Have you been squinting to see for ages? Guess what? There are techniques you can use to heighten senses to improve your sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste.
While the sensory receptors on our body do limit what we perceive, perceptual learning tells us that’s not all there is to it. In fact, our response to stimuli (such as aromas and textures) can be improved.
Experiences and lifestyle changes can improve things like our success in sports and academics. It can also enhance how well we can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Sensory stimulus occurs through sensory training. This is when procedures are created to improve the way our sensory systems and perception function.
Reasons to Heighten Senses
Of course, most of us have the desire and enjoy being able to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Here are several reasons someone may be looking to heighten senses:
- To live fully in the present
- An illness has affected one of your senses
- Vitamin deficiencies have affected senses
- To alter a damaged sense due to a life experience (i.e. sun exposure damaging eyesight)
- To overcome a hyposensitive or hypersensitive disorder
- An increase in age has caused a decline in senses
- Allergies have caused loss of smell
5 Tips to Heighten Your Senses
No matter the reason for a decline in sense(s), everyone deserves to enjoy all that life has to offer through their 5 senses and these simple tricks can help.
1. Olfactory Training for Smell
If you’re experiencing a decline in your sense of smell, olfactory training is a treatment you can do in the comfort of your own home. Studies have shown the smell sensation can be boosted through this technique because it creates new neural pathways in your system.
You can amp up your sense of smell by being mindful of the smells around you. Take notes of the smells, especially ones you typically ignore. You can write them down in a journal or make a mental note. Consider as many details of the smell as you can.
Another way to perform smell training is to purposely sniff a strong fragrance a few times throughout the day. This could be spices with a strong aroma, garlic, or an onion.
2. Eat foods with antioxidants for vision.
A new study shows that diet is a key component when it comes to ocular health. Worldwide, an average of 250 million people face issues with vision due to aging or eye conditions. Diets rich in antioxidants can heighten senses for better eyesight.
Antioxidant-rich foods include:
- Fruits- cranberries, strawberries, cherries, pears, and oranges
- Vegetables- broccoli, spinach, carrots, avocados, and sweet potatoes
- Spices- cinnamon, oregano, cumin, parsley, and basil
- Herbs- such as sage, thyme, peppermint, and oregano
- Nuts- almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and cashews
- Drinks- apple juice, cider, and tomato juice
See the full list here.
3. Stop smoking for smell, taste, and vision.
It’s safe to say smoking causes a lot of damage to our health. But, did you know that it can also affect our senses?
Smoking can dull your taste buds because it changes the blood supply your taste buds are getting. It can also affect your sense of hearing because the cochlea isn't able to receive the appropriate amount of oxygen. Additionally, smoking can worsen eyesight. This is because it increases the likelihood of developing eye conditions such as cataracts. Unfortunately, cataracts can lead to profound blindness.
While it’s easier said than done, the good news is that quitting can heighten senses damaged from smoking.
4. Exercise for smell and sound.
When it comes to our well-being, we can almost always count on exercise. Therefore, it’s naturally on our list of ways to heighten senses. It doesn’t require intense physical activity, but simple movements can do a lot of good.
Research shows that simple exercises such as cardio, yoga, and aerobics can improve smell. This is likely because increased blood flow can clear nasal passages.
Our hearing sensation can also be improved through exercise. This is also probably due to increased blood circulation which strengthens nerve functions which allows our auditory cortex to process sound better.
5. Use your eyesight and focus for touch.
Have you ever fallen asleep on your arm and woken up to a tingling sensation? This is an interference in your sense of touch and can be extremely uncomfortable.
Your touch sensation can be disrupted for several reasons including conditions like diabetes, the aftermath of a stroke, or a side effect of chemotherapy. It can also simply happen with age.
In any case, you can improve this by using your eyesight and focus to practice using your sense of touch. Start getting touchy-feely more and pay close attention to what you’re touching. Look at it, focus on it, and think about what it feels like.
This is something you can practice at just about any given time during the day. Do it when petting your dog, getting a massage, or taking a shower.
Things That Dull Your Senses (Avoid These)
One way to heighten senses or keep them strong is to avoid things that can dull them. Some of these have already been mentioned. Keep in mind that the tips provided to heighten senses can be applied whether the issue is beyond your control or not.
Some things beyond your control can affect your senses:
- A cold, flu, or sinus infection
- Cancer treatments
Steer clear of the following that may cause damage to your senses:
- Tobacco products
- Anything you could be allergic to
- An unhealthy diet (processed foods contain chemicals and artificial ingredients that can alter our sense of taste)
Keep This in Mind
Not only do our senses allow us to live life to the fullest and enjoy what’s around us, but our senses also keep us safe. Implementing these simple behaviors and lifestyle changes into our daily life can heighten senses over time. In turn, this can lead to more satisfying interactions with the environment around us.
Not being able to smell is no fun! If you wake up with a stuffy nose, here’s what you can do.