Getting Started:
The Five Senses

Tap in to the power of your five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life.

Coming to Your Senses

Each of us engages with the world through our own particular complement of senses, whatever those might be. Our senses can help us cheer up, calm down, live in the moment, experience more pleasure and energy, deepen connections, and even touch the transcendent. 

While experts argue for the existence of dozens of senses—including balance and body awareness—we’re most familiar with the “Kindergarten Senses:” sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. These five serve as our ambassador senses, because they’re the senses most obviously supplying us information about the world. 

Now more than ever, it’s easy to get stuck in our heads or behind a screen, and forget to engage with the world around us. Tuning in to our five senses can awaken our mindfulness and revive our sense of excitement, connection, gratitude, and wonder. 

Engage with Your Senses

Discover how you can transform your everyday life through your senses.

Life in five senses paperback on blue background

Life in Five Senses

In her latest book, Gretchen Rubin explores the mysteries and joys of the five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life. From the simple pleasures of appreciating the magic of ketchup and adding favorite songs to a playlist, to more adventurous efforts like creating a daily ritual of visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin shows us how to experience each day with depth, delight, and connection.

Five-Senses Journal

Each of us engages with the world through our own particular complement of senses. This six-month journal is designed to help you explore your sensory world through creative prompts. The pages invite you to record daily sensory observations, note memories that arise, create five-senses portraits, and reflect on how your senses work together to shape experiences.

QUIZ

What’s Your Most Neglected Sense?

Of your five senses, this is the sense that you least often turn to for pleasure or comfort. Even if you’re highly sensitive, you may not spend time exploring or cultivating it. Take the Five-Senses Quiz to discover your neglected sense and use this self-knowledge as a shortcut to a richer life.

Suggestions for Tuning In

To experience the profound power of tuning in to the physical world, you might…

Want an even quicker shot of vitality and exuberance? Try these exercises right now:

Life in Five Senses Video Series

This video series features five mini experiments to explore your senses. You can do these experiments in any order you’d like. You can also download and print the Reflection Sheet to record your experiences.

Explore your sense of sight

Try This at Home experiment: Turn your smartphone to grayscale; sometimes, we enjoy something more when we enjoy it less.

What you’ll need:

Play Video

Explore your sense of hearing

Try This at Home experiment: Add beautiful sounds and clear clatter.

What you’ll need:

Play Video

Explore your sense of smell

Try This at Home experiment: Test your sense of smell by plugging nose.

What you’ll need:

  • Something with a strong smell
  • Something with a strong taste
  • Optional: Reflection Sheet
Play Video

Explore your sense of taste

Try This at Home experiment: Taste a few drops of Heinz ketchup. Can you detect sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami?

What you’ll need:

Play Video

Explore your sense of touch

Try This at Home experiment: Have fun with cornstarch—squeak it between your fingers, make into a non-Newtonian fluid.

What you’ll need:

Play Video