Stan was described by someone as "up in the stratosphere." He seemed to dwell on abstract intellectual issues to the exclusion of all else. He admitted that he did not particularly enjoy food, sex, music, or social gatherings, cutting himself off from most of the joys of living.
Although Stan is an extreme case, we can all add more enjoyment and pleasure to our lives. How? By cultivating our senses! Too many of us are out of touch with our sensory delights, mainly because today's world is so packed with information that we are bombarded by visual and auditory cues ~~ a barrage of sights, sounds and other sensory inputs that end up creating a kind of numbness.
Who has the time ~~ or takes the time ~~ these days, to fully relax and thoroughly enjoy the delights of a beautiful sunset, or a starry sky, a moving piece of music, an Epicurean meal, a good old-fashioned body rub, or the delightful aroma of a bouquet of flowers?
Most of our pleasures, most of the stimuli that make life worth living, are derived from our five senses ~ what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste.
• The more you develop and attend to your senses, the greater the potential for enjoying life.
It is significant that Albert Einstein's approach to learning emphasized using and integrating all of the senses. There are data to show that sense-stimulating activities tend to expand or enrich certain nerve cells in the brain.
There's a saying: "Try to please the eyeballs." In fact, more than half the body's sense receptors are clustered in the eyes.
• Make a point of drinking in the delights of nature-the sky, the trees, the flowers, bodies of water, or whatever else you enjoy looking at.
• Try to sharpen all your senses.
Seek out pleasant scents ~~ the aroma of apple pie baking in the oven if you like that, the smell of fresh flowers, herbs and spices, or aromatic oils such as lavender, peppermint, rose, vanilla, orange, etc.
• Listen to the music you love. The right melodies for you can soothe frayed nerves.
And you can activate your sense of touch with these simple steps:
• hug loved ones,
• pay attention to different textures,
• pet friendly animals,
• give or get a back rub,
• soak in a hot tub,
• take a relaxing shower.
And don't just gulp your food.
.• Really make a point of tasting and savoring it.
There is a vast array of physical and mental health benefits from tuning into and really paying attention to your senses.
Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!
Copyright by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.
PS Many of these ideas are similar to what is now called "mindfulness." Nevertheless, no matter what one calls the wheel, or how may times it's re-invented, it remains a very useful tool.