Scientifically proven knowledge that will contribute a lot to your Personal Improvement and Professional Development.
In this article I will share with you the importance of knowing more about our ‘‘senses’’, to gain more awareness, to expand our mind, and to evolve our performance.
When I decided to pursue a career as a professional jockey I already had some positive physical characteristics that favored me, such as low stature and adequate weight. However, I knew I needed much more than that to become a top-notch jockey, and a world-class champion. I needed to develop a ‘growth mindset’, which involved my personal improvement as well as my professional development.
To do so, I delved into several studies and enlisted the help of mentors and other high-level professionals, as well as sports psychologists for high-performance athletes. And it was precisely with one of these psychologists that I learned to better understand and work on the importance of our senses, starting with the 5 senses best known by all: vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
Sight, Hearing, Touch, Smell and Taste.
Exteroception is the name given by science to these 5 senses.
Exteroception is the ability of the nervous system to receive sensory information from the external environment through the sense organs. This sensory information is processed by the brain and allows us to perceive and relate to the world around us. In short, exteroception is the perception of the external environment through the senses.
Initially, exploring these 5 senses in depth was the mainstay of my therapy. For each sense, I learned a technique to get to know my emotions and feelings better, learning to better deal with all the anxiety and pressure that my day to day as a competitive athlete included.
By exercising these 5 senses, always in connection with nature, you begin to gain greater awareness and, at the same time, free yourself from limiting beliefs.
How, to this day, I interact with these 5 senses.
As I was born and spent my childhood on farms, my connection with nature has always been very strong, so my senses have a strong connection with this setting and this time.
Vision: I observe nature with a special attention to small details.
Smell: I practice Aromatherapy and it greatly helps me.
Taste: Meal of rice and beans topped with a steak and a fried egg. It brings back memories of my grandmother’s love and affection.
Touch: Whenever possible I take small stones and move them in my hands, it brings me a lot of calm and tranquility.
Hearing: Listening to the sound of nature whenever I walk, which is almost every day.
These senses work together to allow us to have a complete understanding of the world around us and to interact with it efficiently.
What is our interior trying to say?
Knowing the importance of our inner senses. Scientifically, knowing interoception.
Interoception is the body’s ability to perceive and interpret the internal signals that indicate the state of the organism, such as hunger, thirst, pain, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, among other sensations.
Interoception involves the activity of various organs and systems of the body, such as the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, as well as the gastrointestinal system, among others.
When we eat something that is not good for us, then our body alerts us through some signs, such as malaise, abdominal discomfort and even the dreaded intestinal constipation, which often affects our emotional side, causing irritability and bad moods. This internal sense tells us that a certain food should be avoided whenever possible.
This skill is important for self-awareness and emotional regulation, since the internal information from our body helps us to identify and respond to our physiological and emotional needs.
Our internal senses form one of the foundations of body awareness, allowing us to know how to apply knowledge about nutrition to make smarter and healthier food choices.
Even when we realize the importance of our internal senses, we expand our awareness and nutritional intelligence, consuming foods that protect the body and mind, thus promoting general well-being.
This involves knowing how to read and interpret food labels, understanding individual nutritional needs, and cooking healthy foods that are rich in essential nutrients for our bodies.
Nutritional intelligence also includes recognizing and avoiding foods that can harm our long-term health, such as processed and high-sugar foods.
The Sense that gives us more control and power of influence.
The importance of Proprioception for the control of body posture and facial expressions according to Neuroscience.
Proprioception is a sense that allows us to perceive the position, movement and effort of our body, even without looking at it. In the view of neuroscience, proprioception involves the detection of sensory information by receptors located in the muscles, tendons and joints of the body.
These receptors send information to the central nervous system, which integrates this information with other sensory and motor information, to produce a conscious awareness of body position and movement. The integration of this information takes place in areas of the brain that are responsible for processing sensory information and motor control.
Proprioception is fundamental for the coordination and control of body movements, as well as for maintaining balance and posture. During all my career as a professional jockey, as an athlete, I exhaustively trained my posture with balance and movement, always in harmony with the horse, to achieve the best results. This knowledge is of vital importance for professional development, especially for athletes, but also for any professional whose body expression makes a difference in performance. I dare say that in today’s world, we all need it. I will explain next.
Applying this knowledge on a daily basis for our personal improvement and professional development.
Body posture and facial expressions are important to the brain because they are directly transmitted to the nervous system and can affect how the brain works.
When we adopt an erect and confident posture, for example, this can increase the production of hormones such as testosterone and decrease the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. These hormonal changes can affect how the brain works, increasing feelings of confidence and decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.
Likewise, positive expressions such as smiling can activate the brain’s reward system, increasing the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. It can improve mood and increase our motivation.
On the other hand, tense body postures and negative facial expressions can affect our mental state and lower our energy vibration, causing physical and mental discomfort, damaging our thoughts, emotions and feelings.
More than ten years ago, when I learned the importance of this sense from my psychologist and started putting it into practice and being rewarded for the benefits, I never stopped practicing it in my routine. I adopted the habit with discipline, and every day of the race I practiced this ritual: I started with a 20-minute meditation, then I did my warm-up and stretching exercise. And to finish, I did the eagle position with my arms open (as in the photos) and with my head slightly tilted upwards, with a smile on my face, envisioning the sun rising. I did this for a minute leaning on each leg. It gave me a very positive feeling and very good energy. And I was ready to start my day.
In summary, body posture and facial and emotional expressions can significantly affect how our brain works, positively influencing our production of hormones and neurotransmitters associated with mood, motivation and stress management. Therefore, it is important to always pay attention to our posture and facial expressions related to our emotions and feelings to maintain good physical, mental and emotional health.