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Thursday, 24 November 2016
How Enjoying The Small Things Can Improve Your Life In A Big Way
People naturally feel excited during big life events – weddings, newborn babies, first homes, job promotions, and so on – and I don’t mean to diminish their importance.
However, oftentimes when we reminisce, it is the seemingly small, everyday moments that have truly made up the fabric of our lives.
Kurt Vonnegut said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Thinking only about the big things sometimes can be detrimental.
There is both outer and inner pressure connected to these kinds of grand achievements. Being under a lot of pressure will negatively affect your mental and physical health.
Feelings of anxiety, sleep difficulties, a compromised immune system, and unexplained aches and pains are not uncommon symptoms of being overly stressed out.
Always wanting more can also lead to a very unsatisfying life if left unchecked.
While goals and dreams are certainly beneficial, an insatiable desire to have more can leave you feeling like you are less than. Constantly striving to get further will cause you to feel as though you are falling behind.
This type of mindset takes the focus off of what you have or what you have done and puts it on a place of lack. However, a grateful heart will allow you to see the good in what is currently going on in your life.
The ability to appreciate the small things can upgrade your life in a big way. There is reason to celebrate and be grateful every day with just a slight shift in perspective.
Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, who studies the science of gratitude from a background in neuroscience, says that gratitude is skill. This means anyone can begin to strengthen and flex their gratitude muscle.
Here are five simple ways enjoying the small things can make you more grateful:
1. Keep Track
Intentionally notice the things you are grateful for and keep a record of them.
You can write them out in a physical journal, type them up in a Word document, or even record them in a gratitude journal app.
My counselor suggested to me to aim for three items a day, but you can really structure it (or not structure it) however works best for you.
2. Thank Someone
When someone does something for you, big or small, recognize it.
We all go through our days wrapped up in our own lives, so it is pretty special when another person goes out of their way for you. You can simply say, “Thank you,” in the moment, or perhaps send a thank you card to them afterward.
Not only will the other person feel good about being acknowledged, you will feel good too.
3. Compliment Someone
Give a sincere compliment to a friend, family member, romantic partner, or even a stranger.
Be as specific as possible to make it more meaningful. The people around us have so many wonderful characteristics worth admiring.
You may even be surprised by just how many when you start actively seeking them out.
4. Appreciate Yourself
Don’t forget to extend this attitude of thankfulness to yourself too. Compliment yourself as well.
You work hard, you have good intentions, and you make a positive impact on the people around you.
You are worthy of love and affection, so show it to yourself whenever possible too.
5. Live in the Moment
My counselor once told me that depression is being stuck in the past, anxiety is being overly concerned about the future, but peace can be found by living in the present. Right now.
After all, our lives are created by millions of small “now” moments all strung together. You are alive, you are breathing, mostly likely at this very moment you are safe, and those are just the basics. There is a lot more to be thankful for.
“We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. . . There’s opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that’s what life is.” – David Steindl-Rast
Just as each day has its joys, each day also has its struggles. When our lives are missing gratitude for the small things, these struggles can hit us harder.
A positive and thankful mindset, however, will build up our resilience for when we are faced with the daily disappointments.