Today I was listening to a report on NPR on how dogs are losing their predisposition to smell. The report stated that a sense of smell is paramount for a dog to thrive in their life; they lead with their sense of smell.1
Author Alexandra Horowitz warns that, “pulling dogs away from smell-rich environments, such as fire hydrants and tree trunks, can cause them to lose their predisposition to smell. When dogs are living in “our visual world,” she says, “they start attending to our pointing and our gestures and our facial expressions more, and less to smells.”
What about us humans? How have our critical “senses” become desensitized to what we need to experience to thrive in our world? For example, how has your sense of feeling and compassion become desensitized? You may agree that going through Election 2016 would cause even Mother Theresa to become desensitized to the world around her. Is your innate sense of compassion being replaced with feelings of fear and anxiety? Do you feel powerless to access those strengths that were once front and center?
What other critical tools that you own are affected by events you experience, such as stress and trauma? How about confidence, self worth, love, and decision making? So many of our “scents” are taken granted for, but the truth is if you have become desensitized to your life, you will lose your ability to thrive in your world.
So, what can you do about it? For one, you can choose to engage in your areas of power. Apparently, when a dog is allowed to smell using its innate function, it is being the best it can be, and can guide, love, practice obedience, and just be plain happy.
What happens when you are fearful, anxious, depressed, lethargic, apathetic? Could this be a sign that you have not been able to access your vital “senses”? Just like a dog uses its sense of smell to stay in its power zone, you can always look to the system that controls and coordinates everything inside you, your Nervous System. What happens when your Nervous System has not been able to properly develop, like a dog’s sense of smell? I can think of so many patients who have come to me, suffering from fear, anxiety, depression, loss of energy. They have been desensitized to experiencing life the way it should be experienced. What a joy it is to hear patients tell me, “I am so much less anxious”, “I am so much more engaged in my world around me”, ” I respond to the stresses around me so much better”, “things just don’t bother me as much anymore”.
Just imagine how much more powerful you can be when you are able to use the “senses” you were destined to have. Be the dog who walks around, losing himself, smelling everything he can. It truly is amazing being alive!