Recently, I was writing some content for a website about strategies for dealing with stress. One of the suggestions was, “appreciate the small things in life that make you happy.”
Now, I’m not an overly stressed person (right now at least). I’m actually fortunate to be at a nice equilibrium. I am busy, but I am not too busy. I am stressed, but it is more eustress than distress. However, as I was writing this strategy for coping with stress, I realized that I don’t stop and appreciate the small instances in my life that bring me joy. I have gotten into such an automatic routine, that I don’t often notice these occurrences.
There’s a blog called 1000 Awesome Things that each day talks about a small joy of everyday life. For example, crossing off the last item on a to-do list, eating a taco without anything falling out, peeling a hard boiled egg and getting a big piece of shell all at once, lending a pen to someone and having them return it, squeezing through a door as it’s shutting without touching it, the list goes on (and on and on). I highly encourage everyone to spend a couple minutes scrolling through the list. It will truly make you appreciate the small things.
Anyways, in preparation of this blog post, I decided that I would make a conscious effort to notice the small things in my life for the past couple days that made me happy. Really taking the time to not only recognize these moments, but relish them. So here it is:
- The first sip of coffe on my morning commute. Usually at about 7:40 in the morning, in my car, driving on the express way. Nothing like the first taste of that warm deliciousness.
- Finding an opening in busy traffic without having to sit and wait for the light to change. Some days I sit and wait forever for traffic to stop, but on this lucky day, I got ready to turn and traffic was perfectly clear.
- Pushing the elevator button and it’s right there waiting for you.
- That feeling when you finish a difficult workout and you are exhausted and every muscle in your body is fatigued, but you’re done. And you did it.
- Testing my blood sugar and seeing that perfect number.
- Coming home and having an excited puppy waiting for me. She is always so happy to see me, rushing to the gate with her tail wagging, jumping up and down. It doesn’t matter if it has been 8 minutes or 8 hours.
- Driving in the sunshine with the windows down, sunroof open.
- When that song that you really wanted to hear comes on the radio.
Seeing this straight line in range,
no matter at what time during the day
- Thinking that I was all out of my morning oatmeal packets, but then finding one hidden in the back of the cupboard.
- Not showing a blood sugar spike on my CGM outside of my normal range after a complicated meal.
- Pulling into a metered parking spot and still having some time left on the meter.
- That moment when you take off the high heels you’ve been wearing all day, no matter how comfortable they seemed this morning.
- That sense of accomplishment after climbing 5 flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Babies. And puppies. Pictures or the real thing.
I’m sure I could think of more examples, but I truly found this to be a good exercise. I think a lot of times we have an easier time remembering the negative experiences we had, big and small: the guy that cut you off in his car, the rude customer service person, spilling your coffee. These events linger, even though we don’t want them to. What about the guy that waited a little longer to hold the elevator or the door open for you? The person at the grocery store that let you go before them when you had only a few items? Finding that extra $5 that you forgot was in your pants pocket? Those are the kind of events that you want to stay with you. The small, but positive moments.