Today is Celebration of the Senses Day – a day to remind yourself of your body’s amazing sensory abilities.
Given that, at any moment in time, we are bombarded by such a diverse combination of sensory experiences, our appreciation of the individual senses can become somewhat muddled. Our taste experience is affected by the smell, texture and temperature of our food. Similarly, our hearing is said to decrease after overeating, and our sight is affected by noises around us. Sight can also be hampered after eating fatty foods.
On Celebration of the Senses Day, how about conducting a couple of in-house experiments to give your senses a shake up? Have a blindfolded smell-a-thon of items in the fridge. Listen to a piece of music in a pitch dark room. While you’re at it, dance around in the dark! Mix up your food experience by mashing, freezing or colouring different foods to create new and surprising sensory variations. Look at things around you through a looking glass. In short, utilise your senses to experience the world anew.
Here’s another interesting snippet – if a sad, depressed person tells you their world is dull and grey, and flowers have lost their smell, they’re not just speaking metaphorically. Research shows that sensory perception can actually be diminished in depressed individuals.
So focussing on a renewed appreciation of your senses can actually even help you to get out of that emotional rut you’re in.
Five senses? Try ten!
The categorisation of our five primary senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch) is attributed to Aristotle. While this categorisation is still valid, humans have a number of additional ‘sensory abilities’ not covered by the above. These secondary senses include:
- Sense of balance and acceleration – the ability to sense body movement, direction and acceleration, and to maintain balance and equilibrium.
- Temperature sense – the ability to sense heat and the absence of heat (cold).
- Kinesthetic sense – the ability of the brain to be aware of the relative positions of various parts of the body without sensing these via the ‘normal’ senses (like being able to touch your nose with your finger, with your eyes closed).
- Sense of Pain – the sense of pain was previously believed to be an overloading of pressure receptors, but it has since been identified as a distinct phenomenon that intertwines with the other senses, including touch.
- Sense of Time – the ability to perceive the passage of time, both short passages as well as longer time cycles.
Cool, isn’t it? Even more senses to experiment with on Celebration of the Senses Day… Have fun!