Have you ever considered what a gift our senses are? Our abilities to see, hear, touch, taste and smell? Just think! Everything we experience is a grand symphony of their messages. And what’s even better is that we are like the symphony’s conductor, choosing which passages of their music to emphasize for maximum delight.
One of my favorite happiness practices is to play different sensory games. I choose a sense to focus on for the day and see how I can use it in a new way. If I choose sight, for example, I might decide to look for reflections and shadows throughout the day. Or I might pick a color—red, maybe—and see how many times I can spot it.
Sometimes I’ll pick a different color every day for four or five days in a row. Try it and you’ll be amazed how many things you notice in familiar environments that you never paid attention to before. This is an especially good game to play while you’re traveling a route you take daily. It really takes the tedium out of the routine. And looking at the world with fresh eyes is always a happiness-booster.
Let’s say you wanted to play with your sense of hearing. One way is to see how deeply you can hear into each moment, listening for the subtlest sounds and finding as many as you can. Or try feeling where different sounds register in your body—how you feel the high pitches in your head, the middles ranges in your chest area, the low ones deep in your belly or pelvis. Pick out the different instruments when you’re listening to music. Or listen for the unique qualities of sound each human voice makes.
Try it with tastes when you’re eating, noticing how every bite subtly alters the flavors you’re experiencing. Notice the aftertaste and let it linger for a bit before your next bite.
Try playing with touch, noticing the ranges of temperature and pressure, texture and weight your skin conveys. Feel your clothing against your skin, the movement of air across your cheeks, the motion and density of water, and of soap, as you wash your hands.
Try it with fragrances as you walk through shops and grocery stores or through a crowd of people. Play with it in restaurants and in parks.
Regardless of which sense you decide to play with, you’ll be rewarded with an awakened appreciation for its wonderful richness, for the capabilities of the magnificent body you inhabit. See how much more alive you feel, and how that aliveness takes your happiness to new heights.
Give it a try. Pick a color—any color—and play.