10 Ways to Use Sensory Experiences to Build MindfulnessNone By Amy Miller
As a former teacher, and now as a busy mom to a precocious 3-year-old, I know that sensory play is a pretty big deal.
After all, brain development abounds when kids’ play involves many or all of their senses. Who would argue with increased cognitive, language, creative, and problem-solving skills? Certainly I’m in favor of those things. But after I became a parent, as I combed through Pinterest ideas of rainbow-colored noodles and glow-in-the-dark slime, I thought, “Who has time for that?! There must be a better way.”
The same way I felt about elaborate sensory play activities is how I sometimes feel about mindfulness. “Who has time for that? I can’t be in this moment! I have too much to do!” “After the kitchen is cleaned up, then I’ll dedicate time to practicing mindfulness.” Right. Right after I make the glow-in-the-dark slime.
I started looking for opportunities for sensory experiences in our daily activities. We wash hands, eat meals, go for walks, take showers. These are all activities that naturally require the use of our senses. So why not gain the benefits of sensory experiences and mindfulness together with everyday situations? Researchers have found that mindfulness practice improves well-being, physical health, and mental health. A suggested technique for incorporating sensory experiences into meditation includes noticing what our senses take in, acknowledging without judgment, labeling, and letting go.
One of the best things about training the brain through mindfulness is that all we need is our senses. And we don’t need to sit in quiet meditation for th