Harness Your Senses

Woman smelling flower

Have you ever caught the scent of something that takes you back to a specific moment in time? Or have you ever heard a song that instantly reminds you of something you haven’t thought about in a long time? Isn’t that amazing? Our senses are powerful.

Although I don’t fully understand how, it seems that our senses engage our brains in a special way. Things we see, taste, smell, touch and hear directly impact our thoughts. This power is worth harnessing in our quest to stay motivated as we pursue our goals.

Consider the setting(s) in which you are trying to stay strong. For example, maybe it is the car you drive to the gym or the desk where you work. Can you listen to a favorite playlist on the drive? Can you light a scented candle or hang an inspirational image at your desk?

When we acknowledge our senses as resources for staying motivated, we can take intentional action to use them in our favor. Enhance your action space with whatever keeps you going.

20 thoughts on “Harness Your Senses”

  1. Love this as I am all for listening to my favorite music/artists, especially when I am working or creating. See this activity actually keeps me focused. So, couldn’t agree more with your assessment here 😉

    1. Music is very big with me. I like having something going on audibly in the background. It helps me stay focused as well. It is funny because some clients definitely prefer silence, so I go with their preference. I think it comes down to knowing what makes each of us more pumped and productive and staying true to that.

  2. I’m hyperaware of my senses. Touch and the fabrics and textures of things matter to me. The colors I see in nature or my environment, even the colors I wear effect my mood. The way things smell. I’ve been a bit handicapped these days with the scent because I have a cold. So I can’t smell anything, and that seems to affect my taste. It’s kind of strange losing a sense that I so heavily rely on. Especially when I’m writing, I like to the smell of a scented candle burning nearby. Sound is an interesting one. I love nature sounds and some music, but when I’m working, writing, or thinking, I like quiet…lots of quiet. I grew up in a house of constant sound. I had to work extra hard to concentrate. So now that I have a choice, I prefer quiet. I agree with you entirely that our senses play a significant role in how we experience life. And if we can tap harness their positive effects, it can enhance our daily experiences.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Boldly Reset Your New Year With Intent, Flow, and RainbowsMy Profile

    1. First, so sorry you have a cold. That is no fun! Second, so fun to read your comment after having just read Janine’s… she and I both like background music, and you (and many others) strongly prefer quiet. I love that we are all different. Just like you, I love a scented candle when I’m writing or doing desk work. In the summer, I love doing computer work out on my porch where I can feel the warm breeze:)

  3. Thank you, Seana. I’m finally feeling like myself today. Breathing better, coughing less. My senses still feel a bit compromised, but who knows? I might be able to light and smell one of the beautifully scented candles later today. I’m with you about appreciating our differences (and similarities- like you, I love those warm summer breezes.) When working with clients, I will set aside my personal preferences for theirs an effort to make them feel as comfortable, relaxed, and productive while working together. Some clients love music while working. I will get into their groove and even embrace some singing-along, humming, or even dancing if we’re both in the mood.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…What Does Making the Best of a Fresh Start Look Like For You?My Profile

    1. I’ve heard lavender mentioned by a couple of people. I think I will check into that. I love special scents, but I don’t own a diffuser. My Mom just got one and loves it, so I think this may be a future purchase for me!

  4. It’s really so powerful, especially a certain song or scent. It’s transformative. I often write to music – it inspires me. It also calms me – for example, I made mix cds for giving birth because nothing seemed as powerful for me. And don’t get me started on smelling the perfume my grandmother used to wear. I haven’t seen her in over a decade since she passed, and I haven’t smelled it in almost as long, but I know if I did…

    1. I have the same situation with the soap my grandmother used to use. Whenever I smell it, I am immediately back in her bathroom, where the scent would hang after she took her bath. Makes me teary sometimes!

  5. It’s hard to get motivated in Jan. The letdown of having the holidays over and the fatigue after all the rush. I always think I will get a lot done in January, but actually it seems to fly by. I do think good scents lift my spirits and motivate me. I got some new wonderful fragrant soaps for
    Christmas and I am enjoying them.

    1. So glad you are getting to enjoy some beautiful smelling soaps Dianne! I can totally relate to the power of having a beautiful scent nearby. I’m finishing off a scented fall candle and loving every minute of it. I’ve been lighting it while working on these posts:)

  6. Love this! I don’t understand much science behind this but I do think it works. I always enjoy working with clients when they play music, but always have a hard time concentrating on work when there is a strong scent. Then again, it’s usually something cooking in their crock pot and I’m just hungry.

    1. That’s hilarious, Janet! I am very sensitive to both scents and sounds. I like music, but will respect whatever the client wants. I have one client whose house always smells amazing! She bakes the most amazing bread:)

  7. I’ve noticed the scent-memory connection for many years now. The music-memory one is possibly even more intriguing. For example, I’ve probably heard Steve Miller’s “The Joker” thousands of times in my life, and it’s “just a song” but it came on my car radio last week, and I was suddenly in high school at a party in my girlfriend’s basement, and my crush came in with this date. I’m long over the crush so it wasn’t devastating but I was surprised that it popped into my head that time, when it didn’t so many others.

    I’ve never thought of taking advantage of this phenomenon to improve motivation or productivity though – what a great idea!
    Janet Barclay recently posted…Planning for Your Best Year EverMy Profile

    1. That’s a great story, Janet. I have had similar experiences, and I have to agree that it doesn’t happen every time I hear the song, but only some of the time. I imagine it has something to do with my mental “availability” when I am listening. To be honest, I have very similar memories of my crush with someone else… I guess we all go through that!

  8. In my organizing challenge group yesterday, someone asked “What do you listen to while organizing and cleaning?” and there was a range of responses from “nothing” to different kinds of music to podcasts or TV. It was interesting to hear the reasons behind people’s choices, too. I look forward to sharing this post with them for this week’s “Follow Friday”, where i introduce my challengers to an organizer I love, whose thoughts inspire me!
    Kathy Vines recently posted…10 things I hope you get out of Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” (and no, “spark joy” isn’t one of them)My Profile

    1. Well thanks so much for sharing, Kathy. I have found that clients differ widely on what to have on in the background while working. Some of us love music, while others definitely prefer silence. I think it comes down to identifying what helps you be more productive (maybe by trying different options), and then being intentional about putting those things in place when the time to focus arises.

  9. Yes… and now that you have me thinking… it matters a lot to me how my home looks, smells, sounds, etc. If something seems “off”, there’s usually something that can be done about it. Turn the heat up (or put on a sweater) if I’m cold. Install heavier curtains if there’s too much light for sleeping in the bedroom. Scoop the litter boxes more often (or change litter) if they smell. Buy a more attractive container if the one I’ve got is ratty and bugs me to look at and use.
    Hazel Thornton recently posted…7 Ways to Make Resolutions Fun AgainMy Profile

    1. I love all of these ideas, and I find they can have a huge impact. I was just speaking with a client about her laundry space. We talked about how it actually was worth investing a bit to make it a light and pleasant space – she spends a lot of time in there! The space and places we “touch” every day can be tweaked in ways that make them more pleasant (and hence more productive) to use.Win/win!

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