Strategies for Staying Sane: Enhancing Your Five Senses

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Stan was described by someone as “up in the stratosphere.” He seemed to dwell on abstract intellectual issues to the exclusion of all else. He admitted that he did not particularly enjoy food, sex, music, or social gatherings, cutting himself off from most of the joys of living.


Although Stan is an extreme case, we can all add more enjoyment and pleasure to our lives. How? By cultivating our senses! Too many of us are out of touch with our sensory delights, mainly because today’s world is so packed with information that we are bombarded by visual and auditory cues ~~ a barrage of sights, sounds and other sensory inputs that end up creating a kind of numbness.

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Who has the time ~~ or takes the time ~~ these days, to fully relax and thoroughly enjoy the delights of a beautiful sunset, or a starry sky, a moving piece of music, an Epicurean meal, a good old-fashioned body rub, or the delightful aroma of a bouquet of flowers?

Most of our pleasures, most of the stimuli that make life worth living, are derived from our five senses ~ what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste.

  • The more you develop and attend to your senses, the greater the potential for enjoying life.

It is significant that Albert Einstein’s approach to learning emphasized using and integrating all of the senses. There are data to show that sense-stimulating activities tend to expand or enrich certain nerve cells in the brain.

There’s a saying: “Try to please the eyeballs.” In fact, more than half the body’s sense receptors are clustered in the eyes.

  • Make a point of drinking in the delights of nature—the sky, the trees, the flowers, bodies of water, or whatever else you enjoy looking at.
  • Try to sharpen all your senses.

Seek out pleasant scents ~~ the aroma of apple pie baking in the oven if you like that, the smell of fresh flowers, herbs and spices, or aromatic oils such as lavender, peppermint, rose, vanilla, orange, etc.

  • Listen to the music you love. The right melodies for you can soothe frayed nerves.

And you can activate your sense of touch with these simple steps:

  • hug loved ones,
  • pay attention to different textures,
  • pet friendly animals,
  • give or get a back rub,
  • soak in a hot tub,
  • take a relaxing shower.

And don’t just gulp your food.

  • Really make a point of tasting it.

There is a vast array of physical and mental health benefits from tuning into and really paying attention to your senses.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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