When watching or reading the news, it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed with the strife, catastrophic situations, and incredible new things happening in almost every direction of life. It seems cliché for someone to remind you that the most incredible things happen in your own life through simple moments. Because of their small presence in your busy schedule, they often go unnoticed. However, when life forces you to slow down because of a cold, a change in schedule, or some other reason, small poignant moments strike our awareness. We notice the changing season, and shops remind us of the next holiday with decorations, cards, and seasonal foods. Although those things may excite us, the reasons we love the fall lie in simple, blissful moments. Heading to a pumpkin patch, watching the excitement of small children about the holidays, or smelling homemade baked goods: these are the moments people recollect when they face a situation that makes them prioritize what they’re grateful for.
Cultivating these small moments is not easy for most of us. It requires us to listen, observe, and spend time each day appreciating what matters to us, but it’s important for our health and wellbeing to practice gratitude. According to longevity experts, being aware and grateful for these small moments improves our heart health and immune system, reduces pain and stress, and leads to a longer life. I have 5 suggestions of ways you can increase your awareness of the small, remarkable moments in your life so that you don’t hurriedly miss them passing by.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier. This will be a little easier when the time changes but getting up even 10 minutes earlier gives you quiet time to observe your world: listen to the earliest birds and watch the sky change as morning approaches. Sipping your coffee in peace and quiet is a gift you give yourself, and you won’t be rushed, a luxury within itself.
- Take a long walk or sit on a bench at a nearby park. Walking helps your body set a rhythm, which softens your thoughts and helps you become more aware of your surroundings. You can see life all around you, and in the fall, it’s especially invigorating with cooler temps. Spending time in nature restores your mind and gives you a break in your hectic day to notice small moments occurring all around you that may have been missed if you hadn’t taken the time to observe and reflect.
- Bake a seasonal dish. Baking creates a mood in your home. It alleviates stress and anxiety, and the scents remind you of memories with your family and friends. It connects you to your past and restores a sense of belonging. We pass our memories of childhood on to our children through baking traditional meals in our kitchen.
- Get your hands dirty in the garden. Working in the garden expands your world in so many ways, drowning out the outside world and creating a space for you to plant and harvest what you’ve grown. You recognize the continual life cycle, and the dirt helps us feel grounded and stable. Gardening helps you leave your thoughts and stay in the present, igniting relaxation and joy.
- Star gaze. We’re so chained to our phones that most of us spend several hours a day looking down or straight ahead at its screen. By spending a night looking up and noticing the infinity of the stars above, your perspective changes, adding wonder and awe to your otherwise routine daily experience. You are one small being living in a vast universe. When you wake up to that concept, whatever troubled you during the day becomes miniscule to the incredible and precious thing called life.
No matter where or how you live, your life is abundant with simple moments each day occurring whether you are paying attention or not. Taking time out of your day to notice the world around you and finding joy in the little things that mark the season of your life helps you to surrender to the moments that add meaning and joy to your life