Life in Five Senses

Life in Five Senses

I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin (see my blogs on Better Then Before, Happier at Home And The Happiness Project) so I pre-ordered her new book Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World. As someone who spends too much time in my own head, Gretchen’s style of self-experimenting to tackle this appealed to me and I read it as soon as it arrived on publication day.

The book is structured around the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, and her daily trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City are used in each case to explore how to become more aware of the senses we often take for granted. It is full of ideas for waking up these dormant powers, from listening to sound bowls, sessions in flotation tanks, doing a perfume workshop, indulging in a splurge of colour or taking a cookery class.

An accompanying quiz shows you what your most neglected sense is – mine was hearing. Unsurprising, as I often forget to listen to music (although I love it), think about going to more live music but rarely get round to it, and often revel in silence. For me touch is my dominant sense, explaining why I love a massage, hugging a friend, stroking my dog, getting under a weighted blanket and wearing soft fabrics.

As with all of Gretchen’s work, she argues self-knowledge can lead to a happier, healthier life and I certainly learned a lot about myself and got a lot of good ideas from reading this.