The Advantages Of Optimizing Your Senses
Why Optimize Your Senses?
You have come across the term common sense and perhaps you may have noticed that it is not always common but surely most of us have the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. That’s not the point. The point is that maybe we use one or two senses better than the rest. For example, it may be that we use our hearing and sight senses better than taste and touch. But are we really maximizing their potential? Using something doesn’t mean you’re using it effectively or to the best. The definition of optimizing is "to make as effective, perfect, or useful as possible". Don’t forget that our sense of touch is associated with pressure, vibrations, texture, pain, temperature and muscles.
In this article, I won’t be delving deeply into the science behind senses like talking about the receptors and I won’t be using all the senses under each heading but I will let you know the general reasons why you should optimize your use of senses. Some reasons are connected to each other and it’s important to be flexible when using our senses. It's also useful to know when to use them well or let go of them.
The definition of optimizing is "to make as effective, perfect, or useful as possible".
Identification of items gives rise to knowledge because we comprehend what they are and what their functions are.
The sense of sight allows us to see. Stop there. Not just see, but take in what the world has to offer to us. By that, I mean observation. You may see something but that doesn’t mean you are observing. Observation involves processing the things around us and making meaning out of them. Maybe you are in a shop but didn’t notice the new signs of promotions because you were taken aback by a particular product or you are so used to buying the same kind of products (assuming no promotion for these) that you missed your chance for obtaining a good deal or discounts.
The sense of taste allows us to determine if the flavour of the food is alright or off. In this case, we may just use our eyes (sense of sight) to see the colour or the texture of food and our sense of smell but the food may not taste appealing. Missing out on how the food tastes like may bring the loss of an ideal meal. The texture is important in many ways too and this brings us to our sense of touch relating to texture. For example, we can ascertain if food has gone bad like biscuits are no longer crispy. It also plays a major role in design. Textures allow some furniture to pop out more than others.
It could be that we emphasize more on taste than texture. To convince you that sense of touch relating to texture is important, look at the Braille system. It is a writing system whereby the visually impaired use their fingers to feel the Braille characters which are raised dots.
In short, sometimes it's good to use other senses that we aren't used to.
At The Right Time And Place
I think that sometimes we may take it for granted if we are put in a situation and we don’t use the appropriate senses to carry out an activity.
For example, maybe you are watching a movie and suddenly, you are distracted by your phone vibrating in the cinema. What senses are not used effectively when the movie is playing? Sight and hearing senses because our focus is taken away from the movie and the dialogues of the characters become a blur. Maybe it's not so critical as a job interview where distractions should be put aside.
It could be that you're in the position of helping someone but do not help efficiently because your sense of touch that involves muscle movement is lazy. Push yourself!
Or maybe, you are bidding goodbye to a friend who you haven't seen in a long time. It's comforting to give them a hug. Go ahead and use your sense of touch.
Have you ever tripped because you didn’t notice what was on the ground? If so, you should use your observation skills to be more careful. You may be tempted to get over an errand quickly that you do not take care of yourself. Another example is that you are a passenger in a car but again, you are too busy using your phone. If you are willing to increase the chances of safety, you, other passengers and the driver should unite to observe all around. Use your sense of sight!
Love listening to music with your earphones on? Nobody blames you. You use the sense of hearing to listen but that does not mean it’s safe to use the sense of hearing for listening to music when you’re crossing the road or roaming around the house which is why I mentioned earlier about letting go senses and being flexible about it. Forget your music and time to utilize your sense of hearing for the noises on the road and your sense of sight to see the change of traffic light to really sharpen your awareness. There is also the danger of your earphone cords getting caught in something and this may lead to accidents.
Our sense of touch dealing with pain saves us from burning to death when we touch boiling kettle by accident. This is a reflex action but it’s what we learn from this that prevents us from danger. For example, you will be more careful when handling hot water. Our sense of sight and hearing should also help because we can notice the steam and hear the rattling of boiling water against the kettle inside.
I believe that not only are our senses beautiful creations, they are meant to create more.
If you listen closely to the birds around you, how does that make you feel? Happy because you love the sounds of nature? Scared because you’re afraid of birds? Angry because you just want to sleep? Whatever feelings you have, you can determine how you are going to make the best of them. Maybe start off a story with the sound of birds, try to determine the bird species because you’re interested in birds, write a poem about birds and others.
Using the same example of birds, you can also use your sense of sight to paint birds. Your sense of taste may inspire you to invent a new recipe. Your sense of touch may miraculously inspire you to take up sewing lessons because of the textures of different fabrics. Your sense of smell may inspire you to purchase perfumes.
This is where you can use your senses to determine your strengths and weaknesses. It may be that your hidden talent lies in your sense of touch relating to pressure. For instance, it could be that you might be good at pottery, using your fingers to press the amount of pressure needed to make a vase.
It could be that we are good at listening by utilizing our sense of hearing but we aren’t good at following rhythms. Rhythms rely on the vibrations of musical tones and pauses in between which needs our sense of touch relating to vibration and pressure. Doctors also test our pulse on our wrists by feeling the vibrations or the number of throbs.
Another thing, do not let your weaknesses stop you from practicing using your senses to make the best of them. If you're not good at listening, practice!
Learning Styles & Memory
We are subconsciously using our senses while we're learning. By learning the best way as possible, we can recall and remember the knowledge better. Everyone has their own preferred learning style to learn most effectively. If you quiz yourself online, perhaps you will find the most suitable learning style for you. Of course, the models developed are only rigid frameworks which serve to guide you. It doesn't necessarily mean that you perform your best using one learning style. You can always open yourself up to other learning styles.
I have discovered from research online that there are seven learning styles: Visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. The ones that I can confidently say are associated with our sense of sight, sense of hearing and sense of touch are visual (symbols, charts etc), aural (sound, music etc), verbal (words- speech and writing) and physical (body, hands).
A useful way that helps me to remember places is by being conscious of where my feet have trodden on and the sounds surrounding me. This means that when I move from place to place, I would be able to trace back my steps, just like an audit trail. Optimizing your senses can really attune you to your surroundings.
This section aims to tell you that optimizing your senses can get you somewhere. We have the potential to discover more about ourselves and learn that we aren't only good at doing things we know. The Internet or Google isn't the only way to unlock opportunities. You too! Don't put your senses to waste. Don't ever look down on yourself and feel that your sense organs (eyes, ears, tongue, skin, and nose) aren't beautiful.
Still...You Need Conscious Effort
Although we have a wonderful set of senses, it does not mean they are the most sensitive which is why we still need to be aware of our senses to consciously use them optimally. We can agree that humans are the most intelligent beings on earth but some animals possess senses that far exceed human senses. For example, you would know that some dogs have a great sense of smell especially police dogs. Bats have a high hearing frequency range.
How To Optimize
Process and make meaning of the things around us, Use senses we aren't used to
At The Right Time & Place
Use the appropriate senses
Be flexible with the usage of your senses and learn when to let go of them, Learn from past experiences
Determine strengths and weaknesses
Learning Styles & Memory
Find out how you learn most effectively
Don't put your senses to waste
Which one is your best learning style?
© 2018 Li-Jen Hew