Category Archives: Observation


Nature Observation & Relaxation – Take Some Time To Be You

Have you ever gone camping for the weekend, and didn’t really start to slow down until the weekend was over? For the average adult– that is one who has a job, bills, family, stress, or simply life wearing them down—it can take up to 2 days of being in the woods before you really begin to enjoy it.

You can throw out as many excuses as you want. Unpacking and setting up a tent can be stressful? You forgot something important at home? You have a deadline or due date looming over your head? Maybe you feel guilty about taking a break from life to go into nature and relax.

Unfortunately, that transition period can interfere with your whole purpose of going camping. You need to get away from it all and unwind because that’s how you reconnect. That’s how you return as the best you that you can be. If it takes you two days to get there on a weekend camping trip… what about a hike that only last a couple hours?!

Physical and mental relaxation goes hand in hand with nature observation. When you bring your troubles into the woods with you, you will not be able to get the intended results out of your nature observation experience. In the worst possible scenario, you may leave feeling even more stressed than before you began.

To Achieve Full Relaxation, You Must Let Those Thoughts Go!

Before entering a natural environment, you must free your mind and body of all tension. Study common meditation practices, because that is the most effective way to reach the right state of mind so you can concentrate on seeing more, feeling more, and experiencing more of your surroundings.

A natural environment is no place for the worries of civilization, and people go into nature observation to get away from it all… so it is counter-productive to bring all that garbage with you!

Simple Meditation Exercise – Do Try This At Home!

Lay down on your back, or sit in a very comfortable position, and relax your body starting with your feet then working up to your head. Massage if necessary. Once your body is relaxed, close your eyes and quietly count backwards from 100 down to one.

This simple meditation exercise works because it concentrates your mental efforts only on the numbers you’re counting and does not allow any other thoughts into your mind. Whatever meditation exercise you use, the concentrated state of mind should be brought into the woods so you can continue to focus completely on nature observation… to see, feel, and experience as much as possible in a natural environment.

Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Improving Your Sense of Smell is a Real Possibility

Believe it or not, but you are actually able to work on improving your sense of smell and this is something that is often quite surprising to people. It can of course be useful in a number of situations and the following are a number of things that you can start doing straight away in order to start working on developing this particular sense.

The first thing you need to do is actually pay attention to your sense of smell as the more you use it the more trained your nose will become. Learn to identify things just by their smell and one particular exercise that is worth trying is to be blindfolded and work out what an item is just by smelling it.

Bloodhund na krajowej wystawie w Rybniku - Kam...
Bloodhound (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One exercise you should try to do in order to improve the sense is to pay attention to how cats and dogs sniff as they tend to use a series of short sniffs rather than a prolonged one and this is something that we often do ourselves. By taking their approach you will slowly increase your ability to actually pick up a scent much more easily, but do not expect to be turned into a bloodhound.

Pay attention to your environment as this is going to make a difference when it comes to your ability to pick up a scent. Look at using a humidifier in a room as the more moisture there is in the air the more moisture in your nose. This then means it is going to be more receptive to a scent; however, do not do this if there is a bad smell around as prolonged exposure to a bad smell is only going to numb the sense over time.

Apart from training your nose you should also try to avoid eating as much food that results in you creating more mucus as this will impair the sense and make it harder to distinguish different smells. This makes sense as you will have already noticed how things change when you have a head cold and this is due to congestion in the membranes of the nose which has an impact on the sense. Look at, therefore, cutting down on the amount of dairy products you eat, including ice cream and cheese as they can really promote a more stuffy sensation in your nose.

When looking at buying food try to use your nose more than your eyes so if you are walking past the bakery work out the bread that smells the most appealing and then look at sniffing out items that would go best with it. By doing this you are actually buying items your body is craving and it also strengthens the connection between smell and taste and you will be aware of how different food can be when your nose is blocked up. By understanding, and working on, the link between the two you can actually improve both senses at the same time with both being heightened as a result.

One pretty obvious way to improve the sense is to avoid any substance that has been shown to impair it in some way. Smoking is one thing to look at avoiding as is drinking as much alcohol due to the well known fact that as your blood alcohol levels begin to rise your ability to smell things decreases. Do also be warned that some medicine, especially that for colds, can also make a difference so do look for those items that contain a decongestant.

Finally, a lack of sense of smell, which has the medical term Hyposmia, can sometimes be attributed to low levels of zinc in your diet. You should, therefore, look at getting some more either through a supplement that you can take every day or by eating foods that are known to be high in the mineral. This means eating the likes of lentils, oysters, and pecans to name only a few examples or if you are taking the supplements, then try to make sure you are getting around 7mg of zinc per day.

So by doing the exercises mentioned above you should find that your sense of smell will start to improve. It does require some work, and for you to continue doing it, but you will begin to notice a gradual difference and will probably wish you had started the exercises earlier in life.


How To Heighten The Sense of Taste

Some people will say that we eat to live, and while that is technically true, many more people will tell you that we eat to taste. Cooking shows, that teach us how to blend great tasting food together, are becoming increasingly popular as we discover the wonder of taste when food is perfectly balanced. However, even though we are all seeking the ultimate taste from our cooking, very few of us are actually using the sense of taste to its full advantage!

We can sense five basic tastes. They are sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and savoury. Certain combinations, such as sweet and sour or sweet and salty, work really well together and thrill our sense of taste.

Where Does Our Sense of Taste Come From?

Our sense of taste comes from the papillae (where taste buds live) on our tongue. There are three primary papillae.

  • First, the vallate papillae form a v-shape on the back portion of the tongue and detect bitter and sour tastes.
  • Second, the foliate papillae are on either side of the tongue, and they detect sour tastes.
  • Lastly, the fungiform papillae are located on the tips and surface of the tongue, and they detect sweet and salty tastes.

Inside papillae is our taste buds. It is interesting to note that our taste buds actually transfer messages to the brain about what we taste, and our brain has the final say in the taste experience. You can even trick your taste buds with your mind. For example, if you convince yourself that the banana you are about to eat will taste bitter, and you are really convincing, then you may experience a bitter taste!

Taste buds are not the only things that play a part in determining how food tastes. Chefs and scientists alike know that, in reality, all of our senses play a part in our sense of taste. Flavor physiology, and how the combination of taste, smell, texture, temperature, appearance, and our mind can help to determine taste, is part of the curriculum for chefs in training. Even your memory can affect the way that apple crisp tastes to you. Knowing all of this information gives us a good indication as to how to heighten the sense of taste.

Tips To Heighten The Sense of Taste

  • First, and probably most importantly, you have to limit sensory distractions. Many of us will eat supper in front of the TV, and before we know it our food is gone, and we barely even tasted it! Distractions cause us to use our senses for things other than taste. Therefore, if you are using your mind and sight to watch TV, and your taste and smell get put on the backburner, then you are not going to taste your food to its full-potential taste. It is best to eat at a table without any distractions.
  • Second, you have to be willing to smell your food. About 95% of what we think is taste, is actually smell! You can experience this for yourself by plugging your nose while you eat. You will notice that you barely taste your food, if at all. This is why when we are sick, with a stuffed up nose; our taste also seems to be sick. So, make sure you are eating food that smells appealing to you and contributes positively to your overall experience of taste.
  • Thirdly, make sure that your food is visually appealing. If you are eating something that looks like a pile of poop, it can be very hard to allow your mind to convince you that it is something that tastes good.
  • Fourthly, you may want to try a fast of sorts. Our pallets are dulled because of all the high additive and high-salted food we eat. If you allow your palette some time in between eating, and then experience a whole, fresh food after some time has passed, you will notice that the taste is exceptionally good, even if it is just a tomato. A fast is great, but if you can cut out food that over stimulates your taste buds altogether, like processed food, then you will notice that food starts to have unique and special taste again, and not just fried or salty.
  • Lastly, to heighten your sense of taste during a meal, you may want to cleanse your palette in between courses. This is something that food judges often do to bring their palettes back to life, and experience the full taste of food without the previous food affecting the taste. You can clean the palette by having a drink of sparkling water or a citrus flavored drink that is not too sweet. You may even want to have some lime, grapefruit or mint sorbet on hand. This trick is used in fine dining restaurants.

In the end, if you want to heighten your sense of taste, then you have to remember that all of your senses are responsible for the flavor you experience. Limit sensory distractions, smell your food, eat food that is visually appealing, and clean your palette in between foods. This will all help you to experience the taste of food as you never experienced it before!


An Introduction To Tracking

Tracking is a crucial survival tool because it helps you to gather food. Water, carbs and proteins can be located by tracking and understanding the animals and their hidden paths called game trails.

What Is a Tracker

A tracker is a reader of signs. A sign is a clue that talks about who left the clue.
A tracker requires just few light bits of information from the surroundings and, by deduction and comparison with previous experience, recognizes paths.

In remote areas, a tracker has the ability to discover the game trails and is able to follow them from their sleeping areas to their feeding locations, where trapping is simpler.
When tracking game near to civilization, man-made boundaries like fences and irrigation ditches, pushes game through bottlenecks, making them easier to follow.

In order to be a tracker you should have specific attributes:

  • intense observation skills
  • excellent knowledge of nature
  • memory
  • patience
  • determination

Tips: How to Look

  • Search the ground out to 4 meters until a trail is found.
  • Move head and eyes from side to side, back and forth.
  • Look through the vegetation and the undergrowth, not at it.
  • Observe as close to ground level as possible.
  • Try to keep the sign between you and and the light source.

Don’t See, Observe!

For tracking, a general ability to see isn’t sufficient. You have to synthesize information and be able to put details together, just like Sherlock Holmes, and make a story about what has happened. If you are patient, determined and continuously questions your personal hypotheses, you’ll stay ahead of your quarry.

Your First Tracking Exercise

The very first skill of tracking is the most essential one: sign awareness. There isn’t any magic formula to develop this skill. Each day search for and pay attention to any kind of signs such as tracks, fingerprints, footprints, tracks, and so forth. As you walk along a sidewalk, look for coins and other dropped items. With persistency you will learn to spot the fine features of sign everywhere. When that occurs, you are ready to become a tracker.


How To Heighten Your Sense of Touch.

Senses are what keep people in tune with their environment and their body. Sight, hearing, smell, sound and touch are all extremely important for getting by on a daily basis. When these are heightened, you learn new things and explore the world in a brand new way.

Touch is one of the most important senses that people have. Learning how to heighten this sense can sharpen the mind, create new experiences and make life a whole new journey.

It is said that individuals who are blind have the best senses, but some people that aren’t blind naturally have these. This results in them having a difficult time being around certain sounds, scents and even materials. If you want to heighten your sense of touch, it can make you a lot more aware of what is around you. Just keep in mind that some things might not be the same as they were before. For example, the touch of velvet might be unbearable after you heighten your senses. It can still be a lot of fun and a great way to be in tune with your body.

What exercises can you practice?

One of the easiest things you can do is actually watch yourself touch things. This means simply touching various objects and taking in how they feel. Watching the hand touching different materials creates new memories of what they are like and will heighten the sense.

When you are out for a walk or going shopping, touch things! Even if you’re buying clothes, touch those. There are a lot of different materials used in clothes and they all feel different. Instead of just simply looking around at what you can see, touch it all. You might be surprised by the feel of different textures that you thought felt a certain way. It’s worth it to write down what you felt so you can reference back to the feelings at another time.


Another thing you can do is get massages on a regular basis. This actually helps your body become a lot more sensitive. While you are getting a massage you will be in tune with different parts of your body and how they feel when they are being touched. You will also see how different pressure points feel when they are pressed.

Touch things with other parts of your body. This will create new sensitivities and really heighten your sense of touch. For example, you could touch a silk sheet with your hands and then with your feet. There are a lot of different things you can touch, feel and completely immerse yourself in. Have fun with this and learn how different parts of your body respond to different feelings.


Individuals who are blind generally have all of their senses heightened because they can’t rely on their sight any longer. This includes the sense of touch, especially for individuals who read braille. If you want to try and replicate this, close your eyes when you are touching different things. Of course this doesn’t mean you should try walking around town while you can’t see. Walking around your house while closing your eyes is a great alternative and can make you a lot more aware of how things feel.

Learning how to read braille is one of the last ways to increase sensitivity for touch. Braille is a form of reading and writing that is used for those who cannot see. Most people who are blind are able to learn how to do this pretty quickly. This isn’t where people trace words with their fingers, like some people think. Those who use brail actually touch cells that have embossed rows on them. Each of the different cells represents a letter.

Under The Sea - Extraordinary Eyes

Under The Sea: Extraordinary Eyes

It is not surprising that eyes are one of the most intricate and complex parts of the body, given that they developed over 540 million years ago.

What might come as a surprise is that, despite all land animals having evolved in unique ways from fish millions of years ago, it would seem that it is fish’s eyes that are the most diverse and highly adapted on the planet.

There are many things which distinguish the eyes of a fish from our own. One of the most notable differences is the size of the eye itself. Fish eyes are, in general, proportionally much larger than other species. This is because fish need to be able to see in low light conditions.

Another unique quality of fish is that they don’t have eyelids. Eyelids serve the purpose of keeping out debris and keeping our eyes moist. However, the nature of a fish’s habitat means that their eyes are kept moist without the need of eyelids.

Unsurprisingly, the eyes of fish differ significantly between species. Fish use their vision in different ways, depending on what they eat and where they live. Those that live near the sea surface in clear water have very different eyes to those that live in caves, or in the deep dark depths of the ocean where there is very little light.

About the only thing all fish eyes have in common, is the substance of the lens.

Here are two examples of evolution at its very best, two completely unique eyes that are perfectly adapted to each fish’s living and feeding habits:

The Four-Eyed Fish (Anableps anableps)

This little fish has a slightly misleading name. It doesn’t actually have four eyes, it only has two. But they are so highly developed that they provide the same benefits of having four eyes.

The Four-Eyed fish lives at the surface of the water and has large protruding eyes.

It’s eyes point upwards which allows it to see the insects that it feeds on, and keep an eye out for aerial predators.

However, surely this would leave it vulnerable to marine predators that could attack it from below? And this is where Four-Eyes gets its name from…

Incredibly, each eye is split vertically by a membrane to form two pupils, and the lens changes in thickness to allow visibility in both air through one half and water through the other. This allows the fish to see both above and below the water at the same time!

Barreleye (Macropinna microstoma)

Another example of extreme evolution of the eyes is unquestionably the Barreleye fish. This species typically lives at the depth of the ocean where sunlight is replaced by complete darkness.

This fish gets its name from its barrel shaped eyes. Looking at the image, the nostrils are easily confused for the eyes. The eyes are luminous tubular shapes within the fish’s head. These help to collect light and enable the fish to see in dark conditions.

One of the most remarkable features about the Barreleye fish is that it’s head looks transparent. This is because of a fluid-filled shield that covers the head – allowing the eyes to absorb light and have visibility.

For many years it was thought that the Barreleye fish could only see a very narrow tunnel vision directly above it’s head. But more recent research has shown that the fish can rotate it’s eyes within it’s transparent shield to be able to look upwards to spot prey, and then forward to see what’s ahead of them. The ability to look upwards without moving it’s body allows it to surprise its prey.

It is only within the last ten years that there has been any significant research on the Barreleyed fish. In 2004 scientists from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute used remotely operated vehicles to record it in its natural habitat. This was a really groundbreaking piece of research as there had been no previous knowledge of that it’s head was transparent. As any records of having caught the fish showed that by the time it reached the surface, the fluid-filled shield had shattered.

It does make you wonder, have we only just begun to uncover what’s really out there? There must still be so much to learn and many more weird and wonderful examples of evolutionary genius to be discovered?

This article is contributed by Steph McLean. She works for, an ecommerce retailer which sells contact lenses online. She has a strong interest in science, in particular biology and the nature of evolution.


How to Improve your Hearing Ability

English: Ear. Good for hearing.
English: Ear. Good for hearing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hearing is one of the most important body senses. It helps you to perceive messages in audio form by detecting air vibrations. However, this ability may gradually diminish as a result of several factors. In this write-up, we’re going to understand various ways on how to heighten the hearing sense.

Ear Exercises

The following exercises will help heighten your hearing ability.

Noise Filtering Exercises

When exposed to different sources of noise, our ears can manage to select the kind of noise they want to hear by ignoring the rest. The following noise filtering technique will be in a position to help improve your hearing capability. To start with, you need a radio. Switch it on to play your favorite music at a moderate volume. Simultaneously, strike a conversation with your friend. Though the music from you radio may disrupt your conversation, don’t let your friend shout in order for you to hear. Now, take a second radio and tune it to a different radio station. Continue talking to your friend without necessarily straining. Continue adding more radios depending on your level of comfort. You’ll realize that as time goes by, you’ll be in a position to adapt to the surrounding noise and gradually start grasping what your friend is telling you comfortably.

Source and Noise Location Exercise

There are two things that you can achieve with this exercise. First and foremost, you’ll be in a position to heighten your hearing capability and secondly you’ll be able to locate different sources of sound. For this exercise, it’s necessary to have a source of noise e.g a horn. You can then practice this technique outdoors or inside a large room. Stand at about 5 meters from your friend and then close your eyes. Let your friend honk the horn severally and then try to locate the exact direction of the sound. In simple words, you should try to point where your friend is standing. You’ll find out that the more you practice, the more your hearing capability will improve and soon you’ll be in a position to locate the exact source of the noise without straining.

Phase Inversion

Phase inversion is a tactic of “trickling” the brain in an attempt to cancel the constant ringing sounds that may disrupt hearing in some individuals. Basically, phase inversion is done by qualified ENT specialists who work towards discovering the pitches of the ringing sounds on each ear. After that, the doctor can then play similar pitches at different degrees using a listening device on the patient’s ears. Over time, your brain will become accustomed to different ringing sounds thus cancelling out the ringing tinnitus. With regular application of this tactic, one’s hearing capability is constantly restored and heightened.

Other Techniques


Constant build up of wax in your ears can greatly impair your hearing ability. It is therefore very important to uphold good personal hygiene by regularly cleaning up your ears using an ear bud or a mixture of olive oil and hydrogen peroxide (for huge chunks of wax). On the same note, it is very important to consult your doctor in order to ascertain whether the accumulation of wax is the actual factor behind your impaired hearing ability.

Avoid Loud Noise

This is actually one of the basic precautionary measures that one should take in improving their hearing capability. Loud noise assaults your eardrum thus impairing your hearing ability. Ordinarily, an eardrum is not designed to handle high amounts of noise and thus you should wear hearing protection devices as a cautionary measure in case you’re in a noisy environment. You should also avoid using headphones on regular basis.

Vitamin Supplements

Nutritional deficiency is yet another factor that can greatly ruin your ability to hear. A healthy diet avails the necessary nutrients to the body thus helping you sustain your hearing capability for longer as you age. Some of the most important vitamin supplements that you should opt for in order to heighten your hearing senses are vitamins C and E. Good nutrition contains the necessary anti-oxidant elements that help in getting rid of free radicals thus protecting your ears from age related problems.


A good hearing ability is a combination of healthy living, personal hygiene and various hearing exercises. It is thus important for you to uphold the advice offered in this article in order to heighten your hearing sense.

cause and effect

Awareness: The Cause and Effect Web

Practically nothing can move without influencing everything else. Nature is similar to a spider web. When a bug falls into the web, there is an instantaneous vibration that lures the resident spider to his victim. Spiders can understand these waves so well that they can distinguish vibrations produced by their prey from vibrations generated by a leaf.

Nature features its own web vibrations. You need to recognize and know how to interpret these vibrations to keep yourself alive. Vibrations can let you know what is taking place, even if it’s out of the range of sight and sound.

If you enable yourself to be able to read vibrations, you will have not just an advantage in a survival situation, but also a better understanding of the interconnected nature of all things. You will experience a deep, strong and growing awareness that will enable you to travel far away without moving.

As Lao Tzu said: “One may know the world without going out of doors“.

Understanding vibrations isn’t as simple as it may appear because you aren’t studying a quiet and sticky web, but a living, always transforming and multidimensional web.
There is a regular beat in each environment that varies with the time of day, the weather conditions, and other factors.

Your first move is to discover this baseline rhythm. The moment the rhythm is recognized, you’ll notice any disruption in the form of a distinct vibration. This anomalous disturbance may occur as a louder, or quieter, vibration; any minimal change means something.
Whenever a change happens, go quietly over to observe what has generated the perturbation and from what distance the vibrations can be detected. While moving, make an effort to not produce a vibration that interferes with what is going on.

The more you train, the more will be the prizes of understanding what is happening far, far away.

A final note: don’t try to verbalize or describe the single vibration, but instead try to discern the overall pattern. See the chain through the links.


Plant Identification

To identify plants use some of your senses and your common sense

Look at

  • plant size and shape
  • leaf size, shape, color, texture and arrangement
  • flower types, color, arrangement

Touch with care

  • fuzzy or smooth leaves
  • stiff or flexible stems


  • Many plants have very distinctive odors especially in their leaves and flowers


  • Never taste a plant you are unsure of. Some plants are poisonous!!!


  • Rustling leaves can be an hint.