We perceive world through our senses sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. They inform our body everything about the world. We would be completely clueless without it.
Sensing the danger, making us feel happy, inform us what’s going around are some of the wonderful job our senses does. These things are being done involuntarily, so we are least concerned about it. But now the time is here to think how our modern living has a significant effect on our senses. Somehow we are being lame in taking care of them. We are losing our extreme abilities to sense. Modern life, industrial progress and material world are killing our senses.
Can you perfectly tell where to dig for the well so that you will find a water ? some people can do that. By listening to the flow of water, and by feeling the atmospheric changes of land through foot. Some people can easily predict the weather and forecast monsoon. Some can smell and tell you which perfume is this. We all have those abilities hidden inside us, but advanced and modern lifestyle has decreased it.
Least interaction with the environment, staying in indoor offices for hours and hours we have bounded ourselves to the most comfortable life. As a result, our senses are least utilized. And as a rule of evolution, the organ or function that are not used noticeably goes vestigial. Same is happening with our senses.
Pollution affects our olfaction, fake lighting and spending too much time indoors impairing our vision, too much loud noises reducing our hearing abilities, salty and sour foods are killing taste buds, and least interaction with environment affects our touch sensations.
Let’s see how these all things attacks our senses.
Pollution is the main culprit why we are losing our sense of smell.
The main disruption of smell in modern living is because of air pollution, especially particulate matter. Research showed that people in polluted areas experience reduced olfactory ability compared to those in non-polluted areas.
Our senses are evolved based on our regular interaction with the natural environment. But due to limited access to pure air and environment our senses are losing their optimum ability. Air pollutants deposits in olfactory complex and cause direct damage to the epithelium and olfactory cells. These damage reduces our smelling capacity. Some of the side effects of these are anxiety, depression and higher body weight. Since we may no longer engage with food or with person in terms of their sense of smell.
Our happiness is equally dependent on how good our senses makes us feel. If any of the sesnses feels low, we can easily get into depression and anxiety. Pollution is somehow one of the reason of depression, because of this. You may have noticed that there are less instances of crime in mountain areas, compared to stressful urban life. depression and anxiety ultimately leads to higher rates of violation and aggression.
Loss of our hearing ability
How modern living affects our ears, and our capacity to listen to voices ? Again pollution, here it comes to noise pollution. Our normal hearing ranges from 0 to 20 dB. Now still if sound is up to 60 dB we can hear it, only for a short period of time though and sound more than 85 dB can cause permanent damage to our ears.
Your Personal Device Player has 70-100 dB of sound, Blender or Food Processor produce 80 to 90 dB of sound, Hair Dryer : 80-90 dB Bulldozer : 85 dB, Traffic : 85 dB, Concerts : 85-115 dB, Drill : 100 dB, Car horn : 115 dB, Firecrackers :140-150 dB, Gunshot :140-190 dB.
Almost all these sounds for prolonged period of time may damage your sense of hearing
To understand how this loud noices affects our hearing ability, let’s take an example of grass meadows.
When you walk through one time and look back, the blades recover and bounce up again. But if you’ve walked through it multiple times, it becomes a permanent path. Blades won’t bounce back again.
The same thing happens with the ears’ hair cells. Like grass responding to a person’s feet, the hair cells bend when they’re exposed to loud sounds. They can bounce back during a recovery period — but when loud sounds have passed through the ears multiple times, at high enough intensity, the hair cells get permanently destroyed. Along with them goes our ability to detect sound and send noise signals to the brain.
Sense of sight, our chief sense, and we cannot afford to lose it, but still it’s shattering.
We are in fake lighting
We are not spending much of the time outside for which our vision system has evolved. Do you know how much time do we spend everyday on a natural sun light, hardly 10 mins or may be even less. We are so used to limited vision and artificial lighting that going in natural light for a while makes us uncomfortable. Evolving on such lighting are killing our vision system.
Our eyes are designs to move. It is not made to stare at one object for hours and hours. Usually our eyes need to move and focus various objects from various distances and that’s how it is evolved. But since most of our so called intellectual society and people has developed our work culture which is limited to a 4 walled office, we are losing our capacity of vision. That’s how most of the people you can find have visual defects and wearing glasses.
Sense of taste
This sense is somehow the least affected as taste buds have a cycles of 20 days. They regenerate after each cycle, that’s why we never lose the ability of taste even with increased age.
However spicy, salty and more sugary food can reduce your capacity of taste. Spice foods kills the taste buds, but this effect is temporary.
If you are a long term smoker, you are permanently damaging your capacity of taste for various flavours.
Certain medications also have effects on your taste buds. Even the foods that are grown with pesticides affects your taste buds.
Sense of Touch : This sense is actually being more sensitive, but it’s not good.
This sense is affecting in different manner. We cover our self in outfits and making our skin to least interact with the outer environment. So we are becoming more sensitive to heat and cold.
Even minor changes in environment making us ill. We are losing the survival limits in some harsh environments.
The main side effects of covering ourselves is we are losing the hair follicles. I am not afraid to say that we are building a hair less generations. Everyone has noticed beard in males, but you may have encountered late development of hair in some adults. That’s one sign of losing some thing.
I have seen people in south India who can forecast the rain based on the changes in environment, they can feel the environment with their senses. How amazing it is.
We all have that abilities, but fast pace life and running behind the economic world has destroyed our senses.
So what are the solutions ?
There are plenty of temporary ways to keep these senses charged by some exercises. Here are some of the ways to sharpen your senses.
Like daily exercises of eye, listen to soft and loud music for ears, smell different scents everyday and try to identify them, eat variety of food with taste buds, and pay attention to how things feel for your touch senses.
These all are temporary option, you have to do them because you are destroying the senses.
Best possible option is to live with nature as many days as you can. Our primates has lived according to that environment and that’s how our senses are evolved.
How travel can be one of the solution to charge your senses ?
When you travel to different places, you see something new, you eat something new, the feel the atmosphere at different places, and the you listen to the sound of different music. All these things may increase your potential of seeing the world in a different way. Your senses have different experience at different places and they get refreshed.
Especially when you travel to vacant places away from city life, you get close to nature. Your vision gets a rich landscape view in natural light of sun or moon. These lights are perfectly meant for our eyes. You listen to the chirping of birds and fluttering of leaves. These sound awakes your hearing ability to its optimum level. Your sense of smell which gets fragrance of pure air, flowers and wet land of that area. You feel the environment. These all things supercharge your senses.
We all can utilize our senses best if we spend more time in outer environment with nature. Travel to forests, go for a trekking, climb that mountain, all are the different ways of travel that will actually makes you feel awesome by rejuvenating your senses.
Because nothing is more important than your health, and we can be happy only if our senses makes us feel happy.
Share your thoughts, views or any questions if you have in the comment section below. We will be happy to listen from you.
All images are taken from pexels.