Author Gretchen Rubin is well-known to many people for her earlier bestsellers and her award-winning podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She lives in New York City but was raised in the American heartland.

Rubin looks for what makes us happy, and recently she’s found that what the five senses deliver to us is what makes us happiest of all. And we don’t pay enough attention to those things.

Cheering up, calming down, engaging with our people and in our communities — these are all made possible, most of all, by heightening our senses and paying closer attention to what comes to us through our senses. For instance, she calls seeing “the voluptuousness of looking” and then gives warm and useful advice on how to do it for real. Then she calls hearing like “snow on water” and offers practices for listening better, “making the daily visit” (a practice of doing one thing every day, over and over, for a year), and “turning up the silence” in our lives.

Similar chapters then follow on each of the other senses: smelling, tasting, and touching. Within the touching chapter is a beautiful section on “using my hands to ignite my imagination,” which has implications for every aspect of our lives.