~ Emma Goldman
I've been trying to stop and smell the roses more during the past week, but am having a bit of trouble... not metaphorically-speaking, but physically. A lingering cold combined with chronic hayfever has left me with a blocked-up 'sniffer'!
Despite this, every time I pass the rose garden in front of my work I still stoop to admire the latest pink bloom - especially because the fourth item in the '10 Keys to Happier Living' is APPRECIATING
So, it's official: stopping to 'smell the roses' can actually make us happier. In psychology circles it's known as 'mindfullness', or 'living in the present'. There are even whole books written on the subject (the one titled, 'The Present' is a short, yet profound, read - and usually sits on our bookshelf, except I haven't unpacked that box yet from our recent move :) ).
Instead, how often in life do we rush through on auto-pilot, trying to make the next deadline, or get to the next appointment, or finally drive the kids to school on time (gulp!)?
By cramming more 'things' or activities into our lives, we're merely increasing our stress levels - and consequently decreasing our chances of improving our work- and life-satisfaction.
So, what are some easy ways we can become more 'mindful' and learn to notice the world around us? Here are some tips I've gleaned along the way:
1. Get outdoors - take a walk, play ball with your kids or dog, breathe in a big gulp of fresh air, or lie on your back in the grass and spot cloud shapes.
2. Eat slowly - instead of inhaling your next meal, chew each mouthful slowly, and savour the individual flavours of your food. Make sure the TV is off. You'll find that slowing down your pace of eating does wonders for your digestion (and a bonus is that you're less likely to overeat).
3. Really listen - the next time your child or significant other talks to you, stop what you're doing, look at them, and really focus on their words. Once they get over the shock (lol!), you'll find it easier to connect with them and improve your communication.
4. Engage all your senses - try stopping for a moment and experiencing the world around you with each of your senses. What do you hear? see? taste? touch? smell?
The next time you're feeling stressed, or even simply feeling disconnected from life around you, take a moment to appreciate your surroundings - including smelling the odd rose or two - and the people in your world (appreciate them, that is - don't smell them, lol!). You're bound to feel happier as a result.
So tell me - what are your tips for living more in the present? I'd love to hear about them on my Facebook page. Thanks. :)