Do you ever feel tired? Worn out? Not enough energy to do the things you love and finding negative thoughts increasing? How about mental lethargy? What we do with our body and our brain has a great influence on how we feel. It's very common to spend the working hours of 40 plus: indoors, in shoes, under flourescent lights, with droning music playing in the background, smells of chemicals from the commercial rugs in our offices mixed with perfumes and other smells, in a highly over airconditioned environment while staring for hours on end at a computer screen and snacking on food purchased from a machine and in wrapping. It's not hard to see how quickly we adapt to shutting down our sense of smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste and muscle through to get our work done. If you find yourself even a little bit in that picture above, I would guess that your energy levels and pleasure in your body are in definate need of some TLC. The good news is our senses, no matter how deadened they have become can be re-ignited AND they are the key to engaging more in life and "coming alive".
To reverse the effects of sensory shut down you have to approach it by getting "turned on" from just functioning ( like breathing) to using that sense with intention. Instead of just a shallow habitual chest breath, think of "smelling life and fully receiving it". All of our senses have a two way valve of reaching out to connect via the sense ( reach out into life thru seeing, hearing, touching) and then the receiving aspect. Most people are so tapped in to the "doing" they have to literally reverse the flow and feel what it is like to receive. It's an excellent meditation to go thru each sense and wait till you recognize what the sensation is. For instance using this formula of "look ( directing your attention) , wait ( staying open without thinking, or pause ). SEE (sensation of letting it in)" or for the sense of HEARING it would be "listen , wait, hear." TASTING would be (taste, wait, savor) and TOUCH (Touch, wait, Feel) . All three steps each have individual sensations, spending more awareness on the receiving part activates more of the brain, slows us down, focuses our attention, and heightens pleasure and engagement in life.
It's also important to note what is "dulling" our senses. Along with the deadening of our senses there is a re-wiring in the brain that may not be very functional. Yes sure, we get by....yet life is dull, feels less than fun, and our moods reflect the things we are giving our attention too. What I mean by this is if we are watching more than 1-2 hours of television a day and it's filled with dismal news and shows that are depressing, it's no wonder we retreat and stop engaging in the world around us! The senses are portals to come back.......Go on a mission to notice and be brutally honost with how you spend your time and what you take in. Also take note of the foods you eat ( it's all related!) sugars and high salts are known to deaden taste, loud music or only playing on genre of music and not REALLY listening to it ( ie. it's playing in the back ground all the time yet we never reach in to listen and hear the instruments and details in the music) further trains the ears to dullness, or starting at compter screens/tv screens constantly and not being outdoors enough also have a negative effect. Notice where you can improve and take steps to come back thru the senses!
Notice your inner dialogue about your senses. Somewhere along the way it's become common place and accepted as normal to call the parts of our body that aren't "up to par" as "bad". From "bad knees" to "bad backs" this self fullfilling prophecy works to also shut down our senses. If you notice that one of your senses is in a transformation ( ie. your eyes are changing??? ), be very careful of how you language it. Each and every time you say out loud or inside things like " I am going blind", "I am losing my hearing" etc. you re-inforce something that could be as simple as just paying attention a little more, and in fact using your brain with more depth.
Work with your senses to bring in more pleasure and treat them as your "allies" for living life more fully. Our senses are amazing tools to stay deeply in the moment as well as embodying gratitude for the things around us. Taking the time to slow down, breathe, smell, taste, touch and hear more deeply engages us with our surroundings and is a wonderful way to live life with a clear head and an open receptive heart.