Many of us are more tuned in to some of our senses than others–we may neglect a sense, or have special appreciation for it.

It’s especially useful to recognize your neglected sense, because that’s where you have the greatest opportunity to find more enjoyment and heighten your mindfulness. It’s a shortcut to greater engagement with the world.

Consider these ways to awaken your appreciation for this neglected sense.

Have fun with your sense of hearing:

  • Attend a concert or a sound bath
  • Immerse yourself in silence
  • Choose your “walk-up” song
  • Create an Audio Apothecary with a playlist of songs to put you in a particular mood—enthusiastic and upbeat, or calm and focused
  • Use a bird-song identification app
  • Make a small purchase to help you enjoy your sense of hearing: a harmonica, noise-canceling headphones, waterproof mini bluetooth speaker, audiobook subscription

Appreciate the sounds associated with the people you love:

  • Write a “Manifesto for Listening” to identify ways to listen better to other people
  • Make voice recordings of the people you love
  • Recall some auditory memories. For instance…
    • Of all the songs you’ve ever listened to, what song do you think you’ve heard most often?
    • What sounds or songs do you associate with different periods of your life?
    • To listen to the most popular music of different years, check out The Nostalgia Machine,

Improve your sound environment:

    • Just as you clear clutter, clear clatter by eliminating annoying notifications, alarms, or background noise, or by avoiding noisy environments (such as a noisy restaurant)
    • Choose a more pleasing ringtone or alarm on your smartphone
    • Trying using different “colors” of noise—white, pink, brown, green—to help you fall asleep, concentrate more deeply, or calm down

Our relationship towards our senses may change over time; for instance, perhaps during college, you loved to listen to new music, but as an adult, you listen less to music and spend more time exploring new recipes and restaurants.

Now that you know that you tend to neglect your sense of hearing, you can seek out opportunities to cultivate it, to find new ways to become happier, healthier, calmer, and more creative.



Explore more in Life in Five Senses

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.

In this journey of self-experimentation, Gretchen 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.

Life in Five Senses paperback book cover