Exploring Our Senses as a Pathway to a More Peaceful Life ft. Gretchen Rubin

“You can turn to your senses and find new creative ways to tap into your senses to help you draw closer to other people.”

Episode 05

How often do you stop and think about how well your sense of smell is working? Or how well you’re hearing? When was the last time you really thought about your vision and how it’s impacting the way you interact with the world? We’re grateful today for a friend of the show who’s returning to remind us that when we tune into our body and senses, we can start to shape our sensory world to best fit who we are. And when we are comfortable in that world, peace is more easily attained. Gretchen Rubin has been studying happiness and human nature for over a decade. Her book The Happiness Project spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, and she’s been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, and Good Morning America. Her latest book, Life in Five Senses, is a thought-provoking exploration of how we experience the world around us through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. 


Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love podcast. Let’s dive in here. Super excited to bring back a fan favorite to the pod. You probably remember my sweet friend, incredibly accomplished author Gretchen Rubin from her debut in our little community as part of the for the Love of Good Change series quite a while ago, where she talked about taking small steps to a happier life. Hello, somebody. Go give that episode a listen after you finish this one today. It’s evergreen, and it was such a meaty, eye-opening conversation. I thought about that conversation for weeks. So if this is your first time coming across her, Gretchen has been studying, basically happiness and human nature for over a decade.

Her book, which you’ve very likely heard of, The Happiness Project, spent more than two years on the New York Times Bestseller list, two solid years. She’s also the author of several other very popular books, including; Better Than Before, Outer Order, Inner Calm, and The Four Tendencies, which she and I also talked about. She’s been featured in tons of media outlets, the New York Times, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Good Morning America. I mean, it just goes on and on. And when she’s not researching and writing, she’s hosting an award-winning podcast called Happier with Gretchen Ruben. 

So this is where it gets good today, you guys. She’s essentially a happiness expert. And the thing is, we’re all human and we all overlook some of the obvious things. And so I applaud Gretchen for sharing this particular self-discovery journey with us. So here’s what happened, and she’s gonna tell this story so I won’t steal from it.

But essentially, during a routine visit to the eye doctor, Gretchen realized she’d been taking for granted and overlooking a very key element to her happiness, which was her senses, like her five senses. And so on a journey of basically self experimentation, she started exploring her five senses as a path to basically a more mindful, happier life, like hooking that back into her, the rest of her work. 

And so her very latest book is called A Life in Five Senses, and it’s a culmination of this journey. It’s just this very thought-provoking exploration of how we individually experience the world around us through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. And I love this because I think the majority of us take this for granted without even meaning to. I don’t know how often we stop and think about how our sense of smell is working or how well I’m hearing, or what am I even hearing.

I spend a lot of time actually tuning things out, right? When’s the last time we were walking down a street; do we use our eyes with intention? Like, what do I see? What am I looking at? What am I taking in right now? How am I interacting with the world? 

And so I love this conversation. I love that Gretchen is sharing all of her discovery with us so that we can become more embodied and use our senses to live a more intentional connected life, which is true, which we can. I’ll tell you that during this whole conversation, my brain was just like activated. I I was literally just thinking about the senses that I tend to prioritize, but the ones that I underutilize and how I could hook into this very available, very accessible portal to living a more meaningful life, really.

I mean, this whole conversation is so interesting, you guys. I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say in the comments about your personal experience with your Five Senses, because as Gretchen mentions in this discussion, this is very individualized. As always, I find her such a fascinating person, and I’m so pleased to share my conversation back on the pod with the absolutely wonderful Gretchen Rubin.




Gretchen on FTL Podcast

Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World
by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun 
by Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
by Gretchen Rubin

Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize To Make More Room for Happiness
by Gretchen Rubin

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)
by Gretchen Rubin

Happier with Gretchen Rubin Podcast

Neglected Senses quiz

Aromatherapy dough

Nostalgia Machine



The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media, presented by Audacy.

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