Stimulate Your Senses

By: Vivian Banta

From time to time, we all get stuck in our lives and our environment.? We think about redoing a room or making big changes, only to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the tasks we envision.? Why not try making incremental changes instead at first?? Small consistent improvements can make a huge difference in your surroundings as well as in your outlook.? Here is a system to refresh and renew your environment, your body and your mind, by alternately alleviating and then stimulating your five senses.

SightELIMINATE anything you consider to be an eyesore.? Perhaps you’ve been staring at the same wallpaper or window treatments for much too long.? Maybe you’ve been tolerating a kitchen drawer or house closet that is too hideous to ponder.? It’s time to deal with them and while you are at it, create a system so it doesn’t get that way again.? Among the “ugly" things that I’ve dealt with from time to time are piles of various recyclables such as mail order catalogs and old newspapers, aluminum cans, and glass bottles.? Designate a weekly or monthly “earth day" of your own and take care of these items so they don’t pile up on you.

ADD something of beauty.? It could be something traditional, such as artwork, photos or a collectible, but you can experiment, too.? Colorful cushions for the sofa, a different bedspread, a new coffee or tea mug for work, or adding a houseplant can all lift your surroundings visually.

On the other hand, maybe your environment has become too cluttered and visually busy and you need to give your poor eyes a rest.? Too much of something, even if the things are all individually beautiful and significant to you, can be a bad thing.? Simplification of your visual landscape may be just the cure you need.

SmellELIMINATE stale, musty, toxic and bad odors.? The origins of these can range from improperly maintained kitchen sinks to closed spaces, such as attics, closets, trunks and packing boxes to automobiles that stink of too much fast food, cigarette smoke and neglect.?

ADD sources of natural and pleasant aromas.? In addition to adding flowers, houseplants, fresh herbs and spices, you can commit to cleaning and airing spaces regularly.? Aromatherapy adherents already know that different scents stimulate your olfactory senses and impact your mood at the same time.? Anything from scented candles and bubble baths to scented dish detergent and fabric softener can help you create a revitalizing or a relaxing atmosphere.

SoundELIMINATE harsh, discordant sounds.? Perhaps there is a creaky door or window or a dripping faucet you’ve been putting up with or maybe you’ve been listening to the same CDs over and over again or the same oldies radio station every day.? If it’s something you can tune out while concentrating on something else, maybe, you don’t really need it or perhaps, you are ready to try something new.?

Maybe the unpleasant sounds are the voices of those around you from friends and family with their broken record litany of complaints, their stories you’ve heard a million times, their judgments about you and their unasked for advice for you.? Maybe it is the negative voices of newscasters reporting the terrible news of the day or co-workers whining about how much they hate their job, their boss, and their spouses.? Perhaps, it is your own voice feeding yourself the destructive mantra of “I can’t, I shouldn’t, if only I had…"

ADD moments of silence as well as new sounds to your environment.? Stop the negative voice machine inside your head that feeds your fears and discourages you from taking even small steps forward.? Erect and enforce boundaries around yourself regarding who can say what to you.? This can range from simply turning off the TV to informing co-workers that you don’t want to hear or participate in any more office gossip.?? Perhaps, you tell family members that you’re willing to hear about their day but will no longer tolerate their negative statements about you or maybe you explain that in the future, you will not accept their unsolicited advice and that if you do ask for it and they provide it, you are free not to act upon their suggestions.? Can you hear a pin drop?? Now, that’s a moment of silence.? Maybe now you can reach in and listen to the optimistic and hopeful core of yourself.

TasteELIMINATE things that taste artificial or fake as much as possible.? If you’re reaching to drink or eat something out of habit more than out of choice or things are starting to taste like cardboard to you, then perhaps it’s time to try something new to stimulate your taste buds.ADD fresh, authentic, different and new tastes to your flavor repertoire.? You don’t have to get rid of your comfort foods and family traditions but you can freshen up your approach by experimenting with new items or new combinations.? Explore different cuisines or just try mixing it up with old favorites by introducing new ingredients, herbs or spices.

TouchELIMINATE the things in your environment that are rubbing you the wrong way!? Are you sore from sitting at a desk all day or are your feet killing you from being on them all day??? Are your furniture or accessories contributing to your pain and robbing you of restful sleep and relaxation?? Is your skin dry and itchy or your lips chapped?? If you answer is “yes" to any of these, it’s time to improve and upgrade!ADD a computer keyboard that works better for you or invest in good quality shoes.? Replace scratchy sheets or uncomfortable pieces of furniture.? Get your body moving in any way possible and then indulge in soothing self-care and relaxation.? Schedule regular visits with your doctor, dentist, ophthalmologist, coach, massage therapistFree Articles, hairdresser and whoever else you need to get you looking and feeling your best.? You are worth it.

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