While the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell are common knowledge to most, there is a “sixth sense” that is often overlooked. Interoception is defined as the perception of sensations from inside the body and includes the perception of physical sensations related to internal organ function as well as the autonomic nervous system activity related to emotions. By definition, it is easy to understand how this sense of self can contribute to our mental and physical health. Scientists suggest that disruption in interoception is reported in many mental health conditions.
Talk with your student about the importance of tuning into their own bodies and minds. With practice, someone can receive messages that may be below the conscious threshold of perception. Some ways to develop interoception skills:
- a mindfulness practice
- noticing and labeling body language or sensations
- thinking about how these physical sensations relate to our emotions
Here is a link to a short video explaining how interoception works.