Our senses, what we hear, see, taste, smell, and touch are familiar to us all. Today I want to talk about the impact those senses have on our emotions. Our senses and our emotions have a complex, fascinating relationship, knowing how they work can help a great deal.

What we are feeling can be heavily influenced by what our senses are absorbing, what we are surrounded by impacts our mood often without consciously knowing.

On rainy, dark, cloudy days most of us reach for dark clothing to work with how we are feeling on days like that, a bit flat. We gravitate to more demure colours. We may also seek out some comfort food that wasn’t on our healthy eating plan — an extra hot coffee to boost our mood to get through the long dark day. But, what we are reaching for might be contributing to us feeling flat. What we think will make us happy and comfortable might be keeping us where we don’t want to be.

How to maximise your surroundings to tantalise your senses:

First, you need to stop taking your senses for granted. They matter and they have a powerful impact on your mood. Pay attention to how you are impacted throughout your day by what your senses are picking up. If you feel cold, does that make you unhappy? Hugging a loved one and breathing in their unique scent, does smell bring you a feeling of love and contentment? Hearing one of your favourite songs, does this make you happy and lift your mood?

Your senses bring you a mountain full of information that you need to process every minute of every day. We spend countless hours out and about with a barrage of different situations being thrust upon us. Unfortunately, we have very little control over what we are exposed to outside of our homes, and it can wreak havoc on our emotions.

But there is an opportunity for us to create a sensory sanctuary, a place where we have some control over what our senses are exposed to. We can transform our homes into a blissful retreat that tells all of our five senses that we are ok — helping to stabilise our emotions and making us happier human beings.

Over the years I have come to realise the importance of our home being a soft place to fall. A place that works for the four different beings who use it to rest, recuperate and feel safe from the world. It has taken some time to work out what everybody needs and as you would expect we all need different things. These things often clash, but they eventually balance out, and we find our equilibrium.

The key to getting it right is communication.

Finding out what everyone likes, and dislikes is the first step. My son adores silence, and he finds peace in a quite warm, cosy home with plush pillows, our cute dogs and a steady, predictable routine. My daughter loves music, she adores creating, cooking, being outside regardless of the weather and can be found shooting her basketball until it’s too dark out to see. They could not be more different if they tried! So, I allow them to have their bedrooms decorated and organised precisely how they want them. I have learnt to take an enormous step back from directing them to do anything I think they should be doing in their rooms. It’s not my soft place to fall; it’s theirs.

With their space always there ready for them I can work on creating our common areas to fit our needs. This can be tricky but not impossible. The key is to work out what everyone’s big must and big must not. A perfect example in our house is I have to have all the window coverings closed when the sun goes down. I get an uneasy feeling when I look outside a window, and it’s pitch black. I feel safe when everything is closed. I know if that’s not done I get a little uncomfortable. So, that’s a big must for me. I also know that no one else in my house cares either way, but they know it matters to me and they naturally close them now without thinking about it. The smallest things can make someone feel safe or uncomfortable.

What we are feeling can be heavily influenced by what our senses are absorbing, once we are aware of this correlation, we can create safe places that help us rest, recharge and recuperate. The goal should be to create your sensory sanctuary. If it’s the whole house or just your bedroom, it doesn’t matter as long as it works for you.