Leveraging Your Senses to Think Clearly with Aaron Alexander
"When you’re truly in the present moment, you’re going to feel quite content."
Today’s show is all about leveraging the power of your senses—and we welcome back special guest Aaron Alexander!
An accomplished manual therapist, author, podcast host, and movement coach, Aaron has over a decade of experience coaching clients — from Olympic athletes to Hollywood actors — to improve their health and streamline their daily movements. On today’s show, he’ll be exploring how increasing our awareness of sound, sight, vision, posture and can boost our health and our brainpower.
If you haven’t already listened to my earlier conversations with Aaron, you can check them out here and here!
In today’s conversation, we’ll talk about how your thinking is affected by the sights and sounds in your environment. We’ll tell you how reconnecting with your body can help you to feel content in the present moment, and cover some great research you can apply to your own life. Aaron will leave you with some quick tips and exercises you can try to learn how to leverage your senses for a happier body and brain.
- Your voice is directly tied to the function of your autonomic nervous system. This means that the baseline of your thinking, feeling, and biology is affected by your voice and the sounds in your environment.
- If you want your point to be well taken, you can intentionally slow the pacing of your language down, which will send a signal to your body that you are in control.
- Ask yourself: what is the tone of my voice communicating?
THE POWER OF SIGHT
- Allowing your eyes to relax and look off into the distance will help your body to relax.
- You can play with your physiology by altering your breathing and visual patterns.
- Andrew Huberman of Stanford conducts valuable research on how our visual field connects to our autonomic states.
- When we allow ourselves to look out with panoramic vision into the distance, our body can go into a parasympathetic rest and digest state, in which we can heal and restore ourselves.
- Our visual patterns are tied with our physiology, and our vision is tied with our brain function.
- This is a pattern that has existed in humans for millennia e.g. the person can relax while looking out over the savannah (perhaps because they feel safe), and will visually focus while drawing the arrow back to find food.
- Before you do something you might be feeling nervous about, try this: tap into your sight, and look out into the distance.
- Add a long exhalation, and perhaps include a sound on top of that, like a hum. It will help you slow down and feel in control.
- You can learn more about humming and its correlation with nitric oxide release. Example study: Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide
TOUCH & POSTURAL PATTERNS
- You can activate your kinesthetic sense through touch.
- Feel the sensations you’re experiencing. Try sitting on the ground, connect with it, and bring your awareness into your muscles and body.
- The study mentioned in the Align Method book: participants were asked to pay attention to the kinesthetic experience of washing dishes. The study found a decrease in stress levels and an increase in people’s scores on creativity tests after they did the exercise.
- You can try this exercise at home. Try intentionally noticing the temperature of the water, the ambient air around you, sounds, hear the faucet, and pour your consciousness into the experience.
- The exercise pops you into the present moment, and when you’re truly in the present moment, you’re going to feel quite content.
- When babies don’t get touched, they go through failure to thrive, meaning they do not undergo normal emotional and neurological development. Their physical body doesn’t grow, as their bodies do not perceive it to be a safe time to regenerate cells.
- In studies with rats, a paintbrush has been used to replicate a mother’s touch to help them grow instead of experiencing failure to thrive.
- Alan Watts speaks of confusing the menu for the meal—we confuse the menu of our cell phones, screens, and media, and images of other people touching as meaningful, but none of that means a fraction as much as someone tapping you on the arm.
- Incorporate several “touch” points throughout the day to bring more contact and more love into your life—make sure it is done with authenticity and passion.
- Check out Aaron’s new book here: thealignbook.com
- Take a screenshot, tag us (@jimkwik and @alignpodcast) and tell us your favorite aha! moment from today’s podcast.
*Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.*