“Don’t sweat the small stuff” they say. And they – whoever “they” is, have a good point.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the little things that stress us out and ruin our day.
- Getting cut off in traffic.
- Parking ticket.
- Rude barista gives you the wrong latte.
Life's little frustration can take up all kinds of extra time and energy in our day...if we let them. Frankly most of these things aren't worth the hassle of being angry or complaining. Sure, we could get upset over the fact that someone else took the last good parking spot, or that the grocery store is out of our favorite brand of cereal. Or we can choose to not make a big deal out of it and use that small, fairly insignificant stuff to practice seeing the positive side of things. Having to park further away means we get to exercise a little and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine for a couple of minutes while we stroll into the office. Not being able to find our favorite cereal, means we get a chance to try something new that we may like even better.
There are often two sides to any situation and as human beings we have a choice in how we look at it. Make it a goal to look on the bright side today and watch your happiness and contentment go up. Then take it a step further and start to really pay attention to all the good stuff around you. Stop and smell the roses, if you will.
I’m serious. There’s a lot of value in noticing all the positive things around you. There's a key principle that I've shared before, what we focus on will grow. So if you spend too much time complaining and being frustrated about small inconveniences, before you know it there will be more of those things cluttering up your life.
To the contrary, there’s a lot of tiny little things around you that could put a smile on your face, it you take the time to notice them. Make it a habit to spend some of your downtime this week to savor the small stuff. Notice how nice your cup of coffee smells, how it warms your hands on a cool morning, and how it tastes. Today, as I was prepping to pick up my daughter from her first year of college, I dreaded that it would be raining and that we'd be loading, unloading and driving in soggy conditions. I quickly said a prayer that we had safe and smooth travels and after all the clouds rolled back I was able to make a quick and easy drive all the way home, with the sun shining! Ordinarily, I'd think very little about a simple drive, but today I focused on the sun on my skin, the air blowing across my face and even being dry.
Now you try, pay attention to the birds outside your window and notice how watching them and their antics around the birdfeeder makes you smile. Appreciate the hug your little one gives you after you pick her up from school. In other words, savor all the small stuff that makes you happy. It may not be much, but it all adds up to a very happy life. You just have to make the time to notice it.
Over the coming weeks, practice noticing and savoring the small stuff. Don’t let the bad stuff bring you down. Instead, make it a goal to find something positive about everything that happens to you throughout the day. Pay particular attention to all the little things that make you smile. Acknowledge them and it won’t take long before you feel this simple little exercise making a big difference in your overall outlook on life.