There are many scientific studies that demonstrate the strong relationship our emotions share with our senses. Our five senses are being constantly utilised to assess and engage with our surroundings, so how can we best make use of this for our mood?
Our emotional processing, learning, and interpretation of information can all be guided by our different sensory cortices; our hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell.
So what does this have to do with the practice of mindfulness? The answer is simple; everything! You don’t have to be spiritual or practice Buddhism to adopt mindful techniques into your life. You just need to utilise the powerful tools your body already has at its disposal.
How can we use mindfulness techniques to reconnect with ourselves?
By reconnecting with our five senses, we can learn to consciously focus on the present moment. Mindfulness has the power to help you develop your self awareness, confidence, ability to manage stress and teach you to be kinder to yourself. It is also a common technique used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and reduce the risk of panic attacks.
In moments of overwhelming stress;
Try to name five things you can see,
Then four things you can hear,
Three things you can smell,
Then two things you can touch,
And one thing you can taste;
Let us know how you feel afterward. Probably a little calmer.
Not only are you distracting your brain from spiraling thoughts but you are also allowing yourself to engage with your current environment and the present moment. You are using those powerful tools your body has to help reconnect you with the present.
This is just a small and very quick, effective example of how you can use your senses to be more mindful in your day. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out session of mindful practice to help you. Let’s help you to explore other ways you can make the most of your senses.
Our Senses & Memory
Our senses and emotions have a two way relationship, impacting one another in both directions. Emotions provide a boost to our sensory cortices and in turn, our senses pick up on our surroundings and connect that environment to our emotions. So why not make sure your senses are getting a fix from some good stuff; after all, it's feeding back into your emotions again.
Just as scents of Lavender commonly have calming properties, so does chamomile. Which is why our Lavender & Chamomile Sleep Stones are a perfect gift to give yourself or someone else who needs a little self love.
Smells of coffee connecting with morning is another way we have learned an association to an aroma. This is relative to the individual and the memories/feelings which vary for each person. For example, the taste of orange juice reminds me of being unwell as it's something I would always have when I was ill as a child. “Got to get your vitamin C,” Nanna would tell me. For you, orange juice might provoke memories of a holiday or summertime.
This is why songs can provide an emotional response too; ever cried to the radio driving home because the song takes you back to another time and place? The memories of connected emotions can provoke the same response when we hear the song again.
This kind of learned association can help us to interpret information through, for example, if the food looks gross or smells wrong, we choose not to eat it or assume we won't like it. So, what about smells we do like? Well, the food we like the smell of usually makes our stomachs rumble, doesn’t it?
Managing Emotions with Natural Scents
What we hear, see, smell, taste and touch can provide us with information on how we should feel. If you want to feel more motivated in your workspace, read our blog post on motivating your mind through your nose. In the other direction too, what we feel can heavily influence what our senses are taking in. You might miss some beautiful bird song on your walk to the shops because you're too wrapped up in your thoughts for the day, stressed and overwhelmed with your to-do list. But, by practicing mindful activities, you can begin to focus on the present. You don’t need to wait until you’re out and about to feel the benefits of focusing on the present either; our Stress Stones are a wonderful way for you to take five and reconnect with yourself. Just open up the jar, breathe in the aromas of our 11 organic essential oils and feel yourself begin to calm. Let the worries and stresses melt away. Mindfulness is allowing yourself to engage with how you are feeling without judgment and accepting the present moment.
A study by Weber and Heuberger (2008) found that smelling real plants over artificial aromas demonstrated an improvement in mood, calmness and alertness. When smells are natural, they can have a positive impact on our overall emotional functioning. We love natural scents at CorinCraft and that's why all our ingredients are from organic sources. In fact, we don’t use anything but certified organic plant matter to create our Love Organic Range of fragrances. We can’t always be in the outdoors, indulging our senses in the sights, sounds and scents of nature. But we can bring it inside with us and find ways to carry those beautiful scents around.
Our Jasmine and Sandalwood fragrance provides a natural scent which has so many benefits for your overall functioning. Awakening those sensory cortices, jasmine and sandalwood both have calming properties as well as benefits such as increasing feelings of overall wellbeing and productivity levels. Are you looking at ways to bring the outside in instead? Our Emotif Home Fragrance Range provides beautiful pieces of art for your home that also have aromatherapy benefits, something for your nose and your eyes. Choose from our extensive range of concentrated essential oils, including our new additions;
Lemongrass is an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-everything. A perfect addition to your home that will boost productivity, enhance mood and even relieve headaches.
This versatile essential oil not only clears sinus’s, relieves aches and pains, treats cold and coughs but also boosts mental capacity, energises us, and enhances our mood.
Aromatherapy is just one of many ways we can give ourselves a little self love and celebrate the relationship our emotions have with our five senses. And for those especially challenging times, we must use all the tools at our disposal. We hope our tips and tricks for being mindful helps you manage any stressors or worries you are having at the moment. For more advice on utilising your senses in your life, check out posts on our blog.