To touch, smell, taste, hear, and see; these are the five senses that alone or in conjunction with each other affect our emotions, thought patterns, and sense of self.

How your five senses play a part in relaxation is explained in the following scenarios.

Touch: Working in a middle school can be stressful at best. Everyone seems to be pulling you in several different directions. But every so often, a parent will come in with a baby and you may ask if you can hold the infant. Immediately, the blood pressure drops to normal and the stresses of the day seem to dissipate.

Studies have also shown that when dogs or cats are taken to senior citizen homes, simply petting or interacting with the animals brings about an immediate change in demeanor and the individual’s delight in the attention.

Smell: After a hard day at the office you may come home, kick off your shoes, and light your favorite aromatherapy candle. The scent reaches the olfactory bulb and makes its way to the brain. A feeling of calm permeates within and you may soon feel the tension in your body begin to go away.

Taste: We all need comfort food every now and then. Whether it’s chocolate or a favorite dessert, we enjoy consuming every morsel. But there is something more going on when we use this sense, which is that it may bring back a past memory that was both pleasant and satisfying.

Hear: One of the most soothing forms of relaxation is sitting in a cozy chair and listening to the sounds of nature, or playing a favorite CD of classical music, or simply waking up on a warm summer day, head out to the beach, and listen to the sounds of the waves.

See: Studies have shown that looking at different colors can precipitate relaxation. Soft, sensual colors such as blues, greens, and lavender offer a more soothing effect than bright colors such as bright red, which is more of an energizing color.

To further illustrate the importance of the five senses in terms of relaxation, you may want to rent “The Bells of St. Mary’s”, wherein the song “Aren’t You Glad You’re You” is sung by Bing Crosby. The music and lyrics are by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen. Here are a portion of the lyrics:

“Ev’ry time you’re near a rose,
Aren’t you glad you’ve got a nose?
And if the dawn is fresh with dew,
Aren’t you glad you’re you?
When a meadowlark appears,
Aren’t you glad you’ve got two ears?
And if your heart is singing, too,
Aren’t you glad you’re you?
You can see a summer sky,
Or touch a friendly hand,
Or taste an apple pie.
Pardon the grammar, but ain’t life grand?
And when you wake up each morn,
Aren’t you glad that you were born?
Think what you’ve got the whole day through,
Aren’t you glad you’re you?”