Developing Sensory & Environmental Awareness

For some of us, summer time means preparing for another move, whether it's for school, a next-level relationship, to be closer to parents, or for a new job. I am currently in the market for a 1-BR apartment, and as I mentioned in my IG post (@damonlifestyleconsulting - follow me! :D) that there are so many things to consider when you're searching for a home. I am realizing that finding a new home is essentially a big exercise in sensory/environmental awareness. 

Sensory/environmental awareness is the practice of noticing, being mindful of, and intentionally processing your surroundings. What are you seeing right now? What do you smell? How do you feel? Emotionally? What are you touching? Do you like how you're feeling? Why or why not? Is there anything you can do to make it better or...not as bad? 

While apartment hunting is a HUGE exercise in environmental awareness, we actually change our environment multiples times a day. For example, when we leave the house to sit in the car on a long commute, go to a restaurant after work with friends, pick up the kids from school, or even choose a new vacation destination, we are choosing to experience a new environment. When going through such a change, having sensory awareness can help us prepare and make decisions that is bested suited for our personal, emotional, psychological, physical, cultural, sensory, and economic needs. 

Sensory/Environmental Awareness Exercise:

Try the following exercise on environmental awareness to help you prioritize what to look for when you are changing your environment. Think about your favorite place when answering the following questions about your environment and how they interact with your five senses. 

  1. See: What exactly do you see when you're in this favorite place? What are the elements that you like and don't like? Is it the amount of light? Do you like natural light or darker environments? Do you like seeing busier environments or cleaner, tidier ones? 
  2. Hear: What do you hear in this favorite place? What do you like about what you hear? What do you not like? Are there birds chirping? Waves crashing? Children screaming? 
  3. Smell: Are there certain smells to this place that are comforting? Are there some that you can do without? 
  4. Feel: How do you feel when you are at this place? Can you identify the elements of the environment that contribute to this feeling? 
  5. Touch: Do you touch things in this environment? What do you like about it? What do you not like? (Example: At the beach, the feel of cool sand by the waterline is nice, but the hot sand you have to traipse through to get there is not always so nice.) 
  6. Taste: Do you eat in this environment? Do you taste other things, like the wind or the salt in the air? 

Now answer all 6 questions again while thinking about an everyday environment. (If this environment you choose is the same as the previous environment, then you are one lucky duck!) Compare your answers for both environments. Are there certain things from your favorite place that you can apply to your everyday environment to make everyday more enjoyable, supportive, and positive? 

For example,

My favorite place is my current studio. I have ample amounts of natural light and a nice breeze from the ocean. I am on the second floor and above most of the buildings on the street, so when I am sitting on the couch, I feel like I'm in the sky. I wake up in a positive mood and motivated to start my day. So as I am apartment hunting, I am keeping my top priorities in mind - location, cost, and natural lighting - so that "home" will be a place where I can feel recharged, motivated, and happy. 

Side note of my apt hunt: 

I have moved without fail every year since I turned 18. That's a decade of moving. You think I would have the practice of searching, applying, and moving down to a tee by now, right? Nope. Wrong. Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time dreaming and falling in love with this little cottage apartment shown in the pictures above. Today, I spent about 15 min filling out the application in the leasing office. It took the lady a millisecond to glance at my paper when I finally took it up to the counter and say, "Nope, that one's gone." Crushed. Learned my lesson, though.