You probably have to be around 50 years old or so (plus or minus a decade) before you actually begin to notice that some of your physical senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) are not as keen as they used to be in the decades that have passed since your youth.
Whether the diminishing of our senses is from overuse, disuse or abuse, it really doesn’t matter; however, we do have some recourse when it comes to maintaining or improving our current sensory switchboard. If you have been reading the brainpower posts, then you already know that our brain is plastic, meaning, it is capable of learning new things, making new connections, and crisscrossing hemispheres to perform new or novel tasks. Yes, even in middle age, thank goodness, neural-plasticity is our friend, and we can help our brain stay healthy and dynamic when we perform old tasks in new ways.
So what follows are some ideas for you to use in the coming days. Perform these ‘exercises’ with some regularity to make your neural pathways strong and dependable.
For sight – Blinking frequently, palming, eye-tracking exercises
For hearing – turn the volume down and listen with intent; listen to different genres of music and try to identify specific instruments being played
For taste – eating with the eyes closed and think about taste and texture; chew your food thoroughly to unlock more flavor molecules
For touch – Close eyes and attempt to sort coins by touch; give and receive body massage; with a friend, practice writing the letters of the alphabet using your finger as pencil on your friend’s arm, hand or back
For smell – every day smell deeply some specific item whether it be food, or flower, or fragrance; then use words to describe the scent. Performing these two activities regularly will help sprout new scent receptors.