Sensual Awareness Activity
This exercise is derived from the
eco-therapy approach by George Burns in
"Nature-guided therapy: Brief integrative strategies for health and
Surprisingly simple, insightful, and
Invite participants to create 5 columns on a piece of paper. Label each
with one of the 5 senses:
Ask participants to write down as many examples as they can of how they
receive pleasure, comfort or enjoyment for each of their 5 senses.
(Allow 10-15 minutes)
Share and discuss.
Invite people to find a partner and explain to one another how they gain
pleasure through each of their senses - or discuss as larger group what
people noticed about their lists.
Were people surprised by their lists?
Are the lists long or short?
Are the lists even or uneven?
Tick the items that you do each day - could you do more?
What if a person committed to experiencing at
least one source of sensual pleasure from each sense each
day? (This can be a practical, homework, assignment, to do this
for a week and report back to the group).
Burns notes in his book that depressed people tend to have the
shortest lists; the healthiest, happiest people tend to have long lists.
After therapy, or even as part of therapy, people tend to develop longer
Burns also discusses that many of the pleasures people describe are
Equipment: each person needs a piece of paper
and a pen/pencil
Time: ~45 mins
An eco-therapy exercise adapted for a group setting. Participants identify what
experiences give them pleasure through each of their five senses, then
share and discuss this with the group.