Every person was created with five senses each being unique in function. Senses are the communication channels between a person and the outside world and they basically provide useful information to a person and this is the foundation of all learning.
Senses in both humans and animals warn us about possible environmental dangers and provide endless mechanisms of personal protection. Other than this, senses in people bring satisfaction, pleasure and physical as well as psychological well being.
When people observe nature, the beauty and appearance of all the green hills, clouds and mountains will bring pleasure and psychological wellness to someone. The same is true when it comes to listening to music, smelling the aroma of flowers and wet soil, tasting a unique exotic food or drink and the feel of rain on you.
All these experiences when enjoyed contribute to the wellness of a person’s mental health. On the other hand when the senses are used to the extremes, danger is posed to an individual. For example too much pleasure can cause lose of sensitivity and the feelings will eventually fade away.
Ears for Hearing
Listening to the natural sounds around us is spirit-soothing. This is through listening to relaxing sounds like those of water falls, a flowing river, wind blowing, rain falling and singing birds. These natural sounds bring pleasure and serenity to anyone who absorbs them in.
Listening to good music can uplift your spirit, bring mental peace and set up a specific emotional state or mood. In ancient times this was used as a way to bring about mental healing.
For example around 1000B.C where a king called Saul would call David a young musician, to play a harp in his palace court to sooth his mental unrest.
Today many health institutions apply the function of music as a medicine to alleviate physiological problems. Music can reduce blood pressure, dilate respiratory pathways, and induce the production of hormones.
For many children who suffer from chronic illnesses like cancer, listening to music can help reduce acute pain, treat stress, migraine headaches and reduce anxiety thereby improving their wellbeing.
However, listening to excessively loud music deadens your sensibility and can lead to permanent damage of your auditory system.
Eyes for vision
The sense of vision is a person’s greatest window to the outside world. Contemplating beautiful things in the environment is always entertaining and brings mental peace.
This is the case when observing nature in its original state and this is very easy and possible when living here in Rwanda.
People who live in well developed cities with no much green do not have to miss out on the benefits of nature. The urban landscape like the buildings, monuments and art are all man made objects that can optically be appreciated.
Observing and mixing different colors and shapes is known to affect a person’s mood. It is not always that people will see nice and good things. Sometimes people are forced to witness unpleasant situations and landscapes like in the case of earthquakes.
The effect of all this on the mind will depends on an individual. For mental damage not to occur, people need to come to an understanding that life in the world is not always perfect.
Tongue for tasting
Being able to enjoy what goes in your mouth takes some skill as well. Choosing a delicious and healthy dish will definitely entice your taste buds.
When a person eats with appetite and in the right amounts, this action is pleasing and makes the body welcome the food which eventually becomes profitable.
If a person eats excessively in search of repeated satisfaction, their perception of food becomes saturated and they become unable to find pleasure in food.
Eating excessively at a go can cause the stomach to reject the food resulting in stomach upsets. The best way to enjoy and maximize pleasure when eating is to determine the ideal amount of food you need to attain maximum pleasure and set your limit.
Mixing different spices and making food too sweet or salty kills the natural taste of the food. Chewing food slowly to taste the ingredients and when in a relaxed mood with good company makes you enjoy it.
Integrating all the senses is important when having a meal. A beautiful presentation, good aroma and soft music in the background intensify the pleasure in eating.
Touch for feeling
This sense of touch can be felt on all the corners of the body surface. It is useful because it alerts the body of any danger coming from extreme environmental temperatures or through direct contact.
Knowing the extensive coverage of this sense will bring intense pleasure. Pleasurable sensations will promote physical and mental health.
For example the feel of; water when taking a shower or bath, the warm sun, breeze and wind against your skin will bring pleasurable sensations.
Touch as a sense of life and pleasure, when promoted in a systematic way eventually becomes part of us. Touch expresses emotional closeness and can be used to deepen relationships.
For example holding hands of a child or partner when walking shows; closeness, acceptance, commitment and enjoyment.
On the other hand, interpersonal warmth can be expressed through hugs and shaking hands and this varies from culture to culture.
Olfaction for smelling
This is the sense with the greatest emotional charge. This is so because the olfactory nerve connects the nasal terminals directly to the olfactory area of the brain. This area is in the midst of all the relevant emotional centers of the brain.
The sense of smell can be utilized to keep a special ambience or aroma for years. That is why the use of air fresheners and perfumes can bring to life experiences and memories from the past.
The sense of smell has been applied in medicine to treat people. Aromatherapy is treatment by use of pleasant smells to determine the effect of aroma on the body. The effect of this process is what brings relaxation and mental peace when in the presence of mind boggling scents.
All in all body and mental health is vital and the only way of being in this state of health is, to harmonize all the body senses that bring us pleasurable sensations.