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Five Senses to Mindfulness

Using your senses will assist you in being more mindful. To begin, find a comfortable place to be and sit quietly. You will bring awareness to each of your 5 senses; one at a time, for about one minute each. The point here is to focus on the present moment and notice how each sense is being activated in that moment. Note that closing your eyes often leads you to a heightened state of sensory perception.

EAR: Begin to notice all of the sounds around you. Listen and try not to judge the sounds, just notice them. Depending if you are inside or outside, sounds will be different. You might hear your body speaking through digestion or breathing. If you are outside you might hear the leaves on a tree rustle or traffic whiz by. The more you practice listening and hearing, the more you may begin to notice subtle sounds you did not hear before.

NOSE: Begin to notice scents and smell. Try not to judge what you are smelling but rather - pay attention to the smells of your space and the environment. You may smell food or perfume. You might become aware of herbal and floral smells. Continue paying attention to the smells around you, without judgment. The more you use your nose, the more you will smell.

EYES: Begin to see and observe your surrounding environment. Notice the colors, shapes and textures or various objects. If you really look, you may notice things that have gone unnoticed. Your sight can improve by practicing mindful sight.

MOUTH: As you hone your sense of taste you will be amazed at how different foods might taste and what your mouth feels like. You may think you like a certain food but when you mindfully taste ... you can become aware that something you thought you liked isn't that great after all. You might notice an aftertaste of a previous drink or meal. You might notice your tongue in your mouth, your saliva, and your breath as you exhale. We have tastes in our mouth that often go unnoticed. You can run your tongue over your teeth and cheeks to help you become more aware. Notice when you bring attention to your mouth - you salivate. That is your mouth getting ready to taste. Try eating 3 savory, mindful bites at each meal.

TOUCH: The sensation of touch is used so much we often pay little attention, unless we are hurt or in pain. Begin by bringing your attention to sensations of skin contact with your chair, clothing, and feet on the floor. You can notice the pressure between your feet and the floor or your body and the chair. You can observe temperature like the warmth or coolness of your hands or feet. You might take time to feel the textures. Take a moment to run your fingers through your hair, rub your hands together vigorously or notice your clothes against your skin.

When you finish the 5 senses exercise, take note at how your body feels. Hone your senses often for they are the key to a fabulous mindfulness practice.

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