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How to engage your 5 Senses in the Art of Appreciation.

The key to reducing anxiety and depression while increasing happiness

Photo by: Nancy Michieli

Why should you develop an appreciation of beauty and excellence?   Well, just like when money appreciates in value, so do the people, places and things you surround yourself with increase in value.

According to the Via Institute on Character, the art of appreciation is shown to boost happiness and decrease depression.   So, why not take a couple of minutes a few times per day and practice the art of appreciation.

One of the simplest ways to practice appreciation is to use your five senses.  Hearing, Taste, Smell, Touch and Sight.   The reason I like this process is it is simple, I can do it anywhere and any time.   By the end, I feel my mood has lifted.

Let’s begin:

  1. Hearing:   Close your eyes and listen for sounds.   What sounds is the most pleasant for you – is it birds singing, the sounds of a vehicle passing, your breath, or even just quiet.  Choose the sounds, and now just listen to it for 30 seconds, and say why you appreciate it.
  1. Taste:  Keeping your eyes closed, connect with the taste in your mouth.  As I write this mine is the coffee which I just finished, yours maybe toothpaste or what you ate for lunch.   Take a few seconds and just experience it, remember what led that taste to be in your mouth.  Enjoy it.
  1. Smell:   Still with your eyes closed, I want you to take a beautiful deep breath in through your nose.   What delicious smells are you experiencing?   Our emotions are strongly connected to our sense of smell, so take time and experience the joy of scents in your life.  They may become triggers of happiness when well practised.
  1. Touch:   One last time of keeping your eyes shut, engage with your sense of touch.  It may be the clothing you are wearing or the feeling of the chair you are sitting in.  For me, I love to feel the ground under my feet.   Feel the sense of appreciation for whatever you are physically connected with and smile at the thought of it.
  1. Sight:   Finally open your eyes.  Look around you and find one small thing that you see in your present moment.    Say thank you for its existence.   Appreciate its beauty or function, whatever purpose it serves in your life or the life of others.

Now, that was pretty easy.   How do you feel after taking a couple of minutes to practice tuning into the Art of Appreciation with your five senses?   

Here is the trick, because it is easy we will forget to do it unless we have a trigger to practice it.   Take a few minutes now to get out your cell phone and schedule it.   Create a simple alarm to remind you to stop and practice the simple art of appreciation.  

You don’t need journals or any fancy equipment.   You can do it anywhere  (except don’t close your eyes while driving your vehicle).   Do it when you feel a bit of stress coming on, or even first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.

The more you practice appreciation, the more you will increase the value of your life.

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