The doctor called. . .
Have you had your 5 Senses Checkup lately?
According to research by the Harvard School of Public Health, American adults spend less time outdoors than they do inside vehicles—less than 5 percent of their day. In a recent study, some 70 percent of U.S. mothers reported that they played outside every day as children; only 31 percent of their children do.
This weekend I challenge everyone to do a 5 Senses Checkup! It only takes 5 min (but you may want to take a few more)!
How to do it?
1. Find a place that does not have a constant sound of a city in the background. This may be in your backyard, in a park, beach, or in a forest like the one I am in as I write this. **Sitting in a chair on your porch while you constantly glance at your phone does not count. Put in the effort.**
2. Close your eyes and just listen. After about 10 seconds you will feel like you have amplifiers on as your auditory senses begin to search for more nature sounds. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what the sound may be, that isn’t the point at the moment. Just enjoy and let the anxiety melt away.
3. Take in a deep breath- or ten!Can you smell the flowers someone has spent long hours tending? Or fresh cut grass? How about the the salt of the ocean or the crisp heat of the desert? We have become so accustomed to strong scents such as perfumes, industrial foods, artificial enhancers, that natural smells are a bit hard to uncover at first. Keep trying.
4.Take your shoes off and feel. Feel the grass, sand, dirt, or whatever the substrate may be. Is it warm from the sun? Wet and cool from the shade? I think our schedules are so busy that we sometimes forget how to enjoy the little things in life. Touch is one of our strongest senses. . . And life has so many textures.
5. Now open our eyes. Remember, they should have been closed this entire time. Look at your view and take in its beauty. Now, narrow your vision and watch something. It may be a bird, an insect, or even the shape and texture of a grain of sand. The exercise is to focus on detail and taking our time to investigate.
6. Taste something natural. A piece of fruit or vegetable is the best choice. Now that your other senses have been heightened, so will your taste buds. When you realize that you are eating something so good that was created by the very things that are surrounding you- not ‘manmade’ in a factory- it is pretty incredible.
7. Repeat often. This ‘5 Senses Checkup’ is not to convince you to go vegan or 100% green-if that is your choice, then that is great- but to let you unwind and take a deserving break!! It is to develop a much needed connection and show that the pursuit to happiness does not have to originate from spending money or watching the latest reality show. The natural world has so much to offer and creating an appreciation is essential for everyone.
The 5 Senses Checkup Challenge with Small Children
I have practiced this a few times with some munchkins and I found that they don’t like to sit still for long. . .go figure. lol. However, when I would continuously ask them questions about what they see, feel, hear, taste, etc, they were incredibly engaged. Let the kids get dirty, play with bugs, splash in puddles, and discover. I found with some moms it was their fears/misunderstandings of the natural world- and their schedules- that were holding the kids back. Try learning together by visiting parks and nature centers to learn about your local wildlife. It is the best playground and classroom imaginable!
Until next time my friends, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to. . .
Where did you go for your ‘5 Senses Check’?