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 taste:

  • Take a class, in person or online, to learn about some taste that interests you, such as wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, or coffee
  • Taste a cuisine you’ve never sampled
  • Use a cooking tool, technique, or spices you’ve never tried before
  • Invent a new variety of ice cream, sandwich, or other dish
  • Make a small purchase to help you explore your sense of tasting: the “miracle berry,” Pop Rocks, freeze-dried strawberries, an ice-cream flavor that sounds terrible but you’re curious to try

Appreciate the tastes associated with the people you love:

  • Invite friends or family to share their experiences and memories around food, and sample those tastes together
  • Hold a taste party, where you invite people to compare different brands or varieties of tastes
  • Write a Tastes Timeline of your life–what flavors do you most associate with different periods?
  • Recall some taste memories. For instance…
  • What did you eat for breakfast as a child?
  • Is there a specialty food that you eat only when you visit your hometown?
  • What tastes do you associate with your favorite holidays?

Improve your taste environment:

  • Sometimes, we eat foods out of habit; can you improve what you typically eat for breakfast or lunch? What side dishes do you eat out of habit, without much relish?
  • Try new condiments or spices to enhance tastes you often experience
  • Identify something you often eat or drink, then hold a taste test with different varieties to discover which one you actually prefer—varieties of peanut butter, apples, coffee, or non-dairy “milks”

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 taste, 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 book cover