Sometimes I forget that I have 5 unique senses to use in the vast world around me. When I fully use them I can feel like an awakened superhero because of the information I can gather or memories that are unlocked. It isn’t just about awareness for self but also how to engage with others. There are many different kinds of learners (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.). When senses are deprived, even just one of them, it can be considered torture as sensory deprivation. I will review each of the senses and see if there are ways that you may not have realized how embedded these are in our use and language. Please add more ideas in the comments below.
Sight– This is the most obvious one but should not be taken for granted or “overlooked”. 🙂 There are many non-verbal clues that people can provide that are often more indicative of their emotional state or sense of agreement. Here is one site I found (http://lifehacker.com/5901468/use-this-body-language-cheat-sheet-to-decode-common-non-verbal-cues) but many more exist or YouTube videos. All of the variations of color, shape, and texture have been eye opening to me when considering everything from furnishings to clothing to PowerPoint presentations.
Touch – There is a reason that “look and feel” is a widely used term since is combines two of our powerful senses. While you cannot feel a website, it still engaged our sense and even more so with touch screens and interactive activities. I think of a kid’s science museum and the depth they try to engage through many senses including touch. If sitting in a hard chair you are more likely to be stubborn and in a soft chair, more agreeable. When learning sports at an early age, I was encouraged to practice enough to engage muscle memory which makes the swing/stroke/movement more automatic. The habit formed around this is valuable in many life-long endeavors.
Hearing – The obvious one here is listening to tone of voice and the smaller sounds around us. Again, being aware of your surroundings and taking in the smallest clues and nuances. I am familiar with the phrase, “it isn’t what you said, it was HOW you said it.” Empathy is genuinely recognized from tone and body language.
Smelling and Taste – I’ll put these together since they are similar but still have lots of value on their own. Supposedly our sense of smell is our most diverse sense. The average human can recognize 1 TRILLION smells compared to 10 Million colors. Smell also generates very vivid memories due its connection with the limbic system which houses memories in the brain. Yet, I am not sure that the oPhone device (http://www.onotes.com) will make it in the market which sends smells. Also, since you can often smell a problem (stinky diaper, smoke before seeing fire, spoiled food, etc.) it can be a leading sense. In business, there is a phrase of “a process smell” which is when you respond with your gut to sense if something is right or wrong. Like smell, taste can generate emotions and memories. People often socialize around food events or gravitate toward the free snacks in the break room. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a special made or purchased treat.
So, keep aware and sense as much as you can to learn, engage with others, and build memories of the world around you.