Life in Five Senses

How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World

New York Times Bestseller

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project discovers a surprising path to a life of more energy, creativity, luck, and love: by tuning in to the five senses.

Life in Five Senses paperback book cover

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project discovers a surprising path to a life of more energy, creativity, luck, and love: by tuning in to the five senses.

For more than a decade, Gretchen Rubin had been studying happiness and human nature. Then, one day, a visit to her eye doctor made her realize that she’d been overlooking a key element of happiness: her five senses. She’d spent so much time stuck in her head that she’d allowed the vital sensations of life to slip away, unnoticed. This epiphany lifted her from a state of foggy preoccupation into a world rediscovered by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.

In this journey of self-experimentation, Rubin explores the mysteries and joys of the five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life. Drawing on cutting-edge science, philosophy, literature, and her own efforts to practice what she learns, she investigates the profound power of tuning in to the physical world.

From the simple pleasures of appreciating the magic of ketchup and adding favorite songs to a playlist, to more adventurous efforts like creating a daily ritual of visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attending Flavor University, Rubin shows us how to experience each day with depth, delight, and connection. In the rush of daily life, she finds, our five senses offer us an immediate, sustainable way to cheer up, calm down, and engage the world around us—as well as a way to glimpse the soul and touch the transcendent.

Life in Five Senses is an absorbing, layered story of discovery filled with profound insights and practical suggestions about how to heighten our senses and use our powers of perception to live fuller, richer lives—and, ultimately, how to move through the world with more vitality and love.


Using Your 5 Senses to Live Happier

Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin explains how you can use all five senses to better your life in her latest book, “Life in Five Senses.”


The Swiss Army Knife for Happiness

Our senses can help us cheer up, calm down, live in the moment, experience more pleasure and energy, deepen connections, and even touch the transcendent. The five senses are like our Swiss army knife for cultivating happiness and well-being!

Book Excerpt​

Get a preview of Life In Five Senses.

Listen to Gretchen read an excerpt from Life in Five Senses.

What’s Your Most Neglected Sense?

Of your five senses, this is the sense that you least often turn to for pleasure or comfort. Even if you’re highly sensitive, you may not spend time exploring or cultivating it. Take the Five-Senses Quiz to discover your neglected sense and use this self-knowledge as a shortcut to a richer life.

Five Senses Aphorisms

The more we know, the more we notice and other aphorisms of the five senses.

Life in Five Senses Discussion Guide

This Discussion Guide will help guide conversations for book groups, work groups, and other groups reading “Life in Five Senses.”


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