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.


  • Look for ways to indulge in a splurge of color: Write with colored pens, add a colorful paperweight to your desk, wear brightly colored socks
  • Buy postcards and scatter them around (in drawers, atop your car’s sun visor, mixed with the papers in your in-box) to encounter them unexpectedly
  • Overwhelm your sense of sight with a visit to a planetarium, IMAX movie, Las Vegas, or other “immersive” experience
  • Change your smartphone’s home screen so it displays someone or something that makes you happy
  • Make a small purchase to help you enjoy your sense of sight: a membership to a museum, a great set of colored pencils, some food dye

Appreciate the sights associated with the people you love:

  • Invite someone to join you on a sight-based adventure: Visit a museum, a historic site, a natural wonder, a new neighborhood
  • Pay attention to the power of eye contact; note how an encounter feels different when you hold your gaze longer
  • Every day for a year, take a photograph of one notable sight to create a visual record of your life
  • Recall some visual memories. For instance…
    • Review old photographs, home movies, yearbooks, and other souvenirs
    • Look online to find photos of places you’ve lived in the past
    • Walk through a neighborhood where you used to live to see how it has changed

Improve your sight environment:

  • Gradually clear clutter by following the one-minute rule: if you can deal with something in less than one minute, do it without delay
  • If you feel distracted by your smartphone, switch it to “Grayscale” mode
  • If you have art you’ve been meaning to hang, hang it
  • If you have a collection of loose objects, try arranging items on a tray or in a basket

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 sight, 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