For a long time, I thought people that were content with the small things in their lives were naïve. I thought that by rejecting joy from seemingly insignificant sources, I’d be guaranteed joy only from significant sources.
For example, I felt that if I was happy with what I had, there would be nothing within me striving for better. I believed that one had to sacrifice happiness for success, and that only by being continually unhappy would one keep propelling themselves forward.
But now I believe that the people who don’t grasp for joy when they see it are the ones who miss it entirely.
What Made Me Change My Mind?
Over the past year or so, my personal wellbeing has been a primary goal of mine. To fulfill this goal, I’ve incorporated certain behaviors into my life that have been proven to increase wellbeing.
The fundamental thing I’ve discovered is that when you focus on your wellbeing, all else follows.
By meditating and journaling among other things, I’ve been able to see that the confidence and peace I extract from those activities apply to all other outlets of my life.
Therefore, instead of hoping that the right set of behaviors would bring me happiness, I flipped the equation and assumed that cultivating happiness would lead to the right set of behaviors being performed.
And the best thing I’ve been able to do to cultivate pure happiness is conscious savoring of things, treated as little golden opportunities for a simpler mind.
How to Do It!
Hopefully if you’re anything like me, and you find yourself rejecting the opportunities for happiness you’re given because you either feel you don’t deserve it or you feel it will distract you from the mountains of work you’ve set about doing, you will begin recognizing that allowing yourself to be well will actually give you the best chance of living a life you’ll love.
Savoring moments you enjoy is just like anything else: you must do it consciously before you do it unconsciously.
There’s no right way to do it either. If you’re riding your bike and you come across a beautiful field of tall grass, there’s not a certain way you can go about extracting joy from the experience. This makes it a kind of difficult practice, because it’s largely based on feeling, which is something that, if you’re reading this, you may not like doing very much.
You can start with simple phrases like “Wow, this is nice,” or notice a certain aspect of the scene you particularly enjoy.
The point is that you take a moment to be fully aware of how this moment makes you feel. Whether you’re sipping coffee, riding your bike, or watching your dog play in the snow, the best way to savor these moments is to simply notice how not-shitty they are.
More Than the Present
Beyond just savoring moments as they occur, savoring moments in the past and future have also been shown to increase wellbeing.
My savoring the past, I mean engaging in nostalgia, or recalling a positive experience with family or friends.
By savoring the future, I mean visualizing a future where something good happens. “Savoring the future” can, for most intents and purposes, also be called optimism.
If you want to maximize the benefit of savoring experiences, it helps to make it a habit. While doing it every day consciously may ruin the whole point, it may help to shoot for a few times a week.
For information on this simple but helpful habit, visit this site:
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out any post whose title you relate to in some way!
One thought on “Learning to Enjoy the Little Things”
Another post i needed to hear today. It all has to do with trajectory. It’s great to have goals but without a sustainable plan of action in small incremental acts you can’t get to solidifying things. Joy is a difficult concept but I’ve been working on it thanks for some trajectory thinking