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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

How your teen can use their senses to get more done and feel better

We use our five senses every day, but are we thinking about how we use them to help us get the most out of life? If we're more focused on how we experience the world (not just what we experience), we have more power over how we choose those experiences, enabling us to select positive ones which will help us get more done and feel better. Knowing how everyday things impact us, whether positively or negatively, is a great strength we can use to our advantage by getting more of what we like and less of what we don't like.

Colourful emotions

Different colours stimulate different receptors in the mind. Red is energizing, blue is calming, green is relaxing, yellow is stimulating. This means we can actively use colour to create responses that we would like to encourage. If your teen seems listless, bored and unenergized, try including reds and oranges in their workspace to increase energy. By contrast, if they’re climbing the walls and finding it difficult to relax, introduce blues and greens to reduce stimulation. Looking to get creative? Yellow inspires creativity and encourages conversation.

Putting colour in action

There's no need to spend a fortune on multi-coloured everything! Let's consider using coloured notebooks to help with studies. For example, Maths and science might suit red notebooks for focus and energy, or try blue if your teen finds these subjects stressful so they can feel calmer when they tackle them.

Why not improve their perception of subjects they like least by using books with their favourite colours, rather than keeping favourite colours for favourite things?

Multi colour sticky notes, pens, pencils and desk accessories are all inexpensive ways to get bursts of colours into your teen’s daily routine.

Clothes matter too. It’s no co-incidence that “work out” clothes often include bright neon colours. These bright colours encourage activity and action. Wearing brighter colours in the day and softer colours at night sets the right mood for how we’re hoping to feel.

See the light

Changing the light settings can also create different moods and enable the same space to feel very different. This is useful if your teen’s using their bedroom for both study and relaxing. Use dimmers and side lights to change lighting levels instantly.

coloured clothes in a pile: The Parents' Guide to

Feel the change

Touch is an underrated sense, and it can have a huge impact on how we feel. A cosy, soft blanket can make us feel warm, comforted and cuddly; picking up a sharp, smooth book can make us feel renewed, refreshed and ready for action.

If we go back to thinking about sports clothes, fabrics for active wear are often stiffer, smoother and accessorized with plenty of zips, poppers, buttons and pulls. Compare this to clothes for gentle exercising (think yoga and Pilates), which are often soft, flowing and with no accessories.

The mind assesses the texture and feel of an outfit and prepares the body to respond accordingly. For this reason, don’t let your teen lounge around in pyjamas or their most comfortable clothes all day if they're meant to be doing school work. It will encourage them to feel too relaxed to sit up, pay attention and stay alert. Stay mindful of the textures and colours they're wearing.

Changing tastes

The experience of taste is closely linked to smell, sight and texture so it’s difficult to look at it on its own. Many people experience a change in taste as they grow older. Foods they once loved no longer hold any appeal or foods they disliked become favourites. Young people prefer sweet tastes and smells compared to adults, hence products aimed at teens often include sweet and fruity flavours, including drinks and perfumes.

diffuser  - smoke with essential oils

Get sniffy

Scent can transport us to a totally different time and place instantly. Used in the right way, it’s a powerful mood influencer. Any scent associated with happy times will immediately trigger happy feelings whenever we smell it, regardless of where we are and what we’re doing.

Essential oils are a great way to tap into the power of smell - and they're easily portable too, just put a couple of drops on a tissue. Light clean scents (such as citrus and grass) aid focus and concentration, whereas soft floral smells (such as lavender and camomile) promote relaxation. Cinnamon and vanilla can be comforting and great for reducing stress, whereas rosemary, basil and thyme are stimulating and help to pep up flagging energy levels.

Male teenager listening to music and writing in journal

Sound it out

No matter our starting mood, certain music can make us feel happy or sad, so use it to your advantage. Listening to uplifting music during the day, and soothing music in the evening will help tie into their natural circadian rhythms. If they’re sharing space with lots of others, ear buds and headphones allow individuals to enjoy their own music without annoying everybody else. They can also help cancel out irritating background noise, such as traffic, chatter or the neighbours!

Sounds of nature can also be soothing. Whether it’s rainfall, wind in the mountains, the sea, birdsong or tropical storms, there’s an app with variations to enjoy.

Setting positive intentions leads to positive behaviours

It’s remarkable how simple steps can make a huge difference. Proactively making regular adjustments to improve everyday experiences reinforces positive messages to the brain. Experiment at home by introducing one or two ideas at a time and see what impact they make and which ones you like best. Have fun with it and try to get the whole family involved.


This article is not sponsored but it was inspired by Russell Jones’ fabulous book, Sense. Click here to take a look.

If you’re interested in getting any of the items we mention, click here or download the pdf below

Download PDF • 85KB


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