Enjoy Wellness

Honing Your Senses For A Sharper Life With Gretchen Rubin

Haley Paskalides  |  July 26, 2023

Is the world feeling a little dull lately? Reconnecting with your senses may be the key to living a brighter life.

We live in a fast-paced world with long to-do lists and Google Calendars that are scheduled down to the minute. Every day, we’ve got errands to run, meetings to attend, kids to raise, homes to clean, and money to make — and it can be all too easy to hustle from one goal to the next, without taking a second to pause or rest, or reconnect with ourselves. 

But we know that slowing down and getting out of our own heads is important for our mental health. Gretchen Rubin has actually found that connecting with your physical senses — sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch — is crucial for leading happier, more creative, and more productive lives. 

Gretchen is the author of several award-winning books on happiness and human nature. Her most recent, “Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World,” teaches us how to reconnect with our five senses — especially the most neglected ones. Not sure which sense is your most neglected? Gretchen has a five senses quiz to help you figure it out.  She says it’s important to know your most neglected sense because it’s “something you can tap into since you probably don’t turn to it for comfort or pleasure.” By learning more about the sense you neglect you can actively explore ways to bring more of it into your life. 

A great way to start reconnecting to your neglected senses is by keeping a five senses journal and writing down something big or small you remark on during the day. “I walked by a movie theater and I got a big blast of like movie theater popcorn, which is such a distinctive smell,” Gretchen says, “so I wrote that down and it helps you just to be alert to your senses.” (And FYI you don’t need a separate journal to make this happen. Just use the margins of your gratitude journal, your datebook, or whatever you have handy. The goal is that you’re paying more attention to your surroundings, and thus better connecting with yourself. 

In Mailbag, we talk about the best ways to pay for egg freezing and where to put your money in your 50’s so you can earn the most possible for retirement. In our money tip of the week, we explore the benefits of opening a 529 plan for your kids or grandkids’ education – and what to do with that money if they decide college isn’t for them.


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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