The little things in life matter most. However, we get so caught up in the big moments that we don't see them.
In today's fast-paced, forward-thinking world, it's easy to forget about the little things in life. People get so consumed with the big house, the flashy car, and the million dollar dream, that they forget to relish in the happiness that the little things in life bring.
The big things are great, but I have found that the simplest of things in life have made me the happiest. Dr. Glenn Williams, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, says, “An effective route to happiness is not necessarily through experiencing major events. Rather it is the small, and often unexpected pleasures in life that can help us build more meaningful lives.”
In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Are you ready to learn 7 ways that you can start valuing the little things in life?
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Do you pay attention to the little things in life?
Too often we become obsessed with achieving big goals in life. However, we forget that all of those big goals are comprised of hundreds of small decisions that lead to the result that we are after.
Don't get me wrong, having big goals that you work towards is really important. However, if you get too caught up in the final destination, you will ignore the journey. As Bruce Burton said, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.”
We underestimate the power of a small gesture of kindness, a loving embrace, a smile from a stranger, or words of compassion These little things in life tend to have a ripple effect. A single drop of water can create a wave of change, and so can you.
You don't have to do something monumental in order to change your life or the life of someone else.
We've been conditioned to believe that the ordinary things in life are boring and uninspiring, which is why we tend to live for the big moments. We are inundated with messages like, “Think big!” However, when you adopt the mindset that big is better than small, you fail to notice that life is comprised of a series of small magical moments.
If you neglect to enjoy the little things in life, you are only left with challenges, struggles, and stressors. That is no way to live. When you stop and take the time to smell the roses, you have a greater appreciation for life's beauty. Research shows that those who regularly take notice of something beautiful are 12 percent more likely to say that they are satisfied with their lives.
Here are 7 ways that you can start to value the little things in life.
1. Slow Down
Life moves so fast that it can feel as if we are on autopilot. Do you ever feel like there isn't enough time during the day to accomplish everything? If so, you aren't alone. This way of thinking has become the norm. When we are in a state of perpetual doing, we can run ourselves into the ground and forget to enjoy the moments that make life worth living.
In his book, Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Version 2.0, With a New Afterword) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman points out that the most meaningful things in life aren’t things that can be obtained through technology. He suggests that “The faster the world gets … the more you need to step back and appreciate everything that’s old and slow.”
Work isn't going away. It will always be there, so why not slow down for a few minutes and bask in the simplicities of your day? They are there for a reason, so I encourage you to start noticing them more. Whatever you enjoy doing in life, slow down and savor those experiences more often.
2. Help Others
Think back to a moment when you helped someone. How was it received and how did it make you feel? Helping someone can be achieved in a number of small ways, whether that's by giving a compliment to smiling at a stranger.
I believe that the secret to long-lasting happiness and fulfillment lies in helping others. Unfortunately, a lot of people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of their own lives, that they forget to think about others.
We are all on this crazy roller coaster of a ride that we call life, together. Why not support one another through the highs and lows? When we step outside of our own world and contribute to the lives of others, it gives us a sense of purpose. No contribution is too small. Open your eyes to the needs of those around you and ask yourself, “How can I be of service?”
By turning your focus on others, you will gain more perspective on your challenges, realizing that they aren't as bad as you made them out to be. We can improve our own lives, simply by helping others improve theirs. What a simple and beautiful idea.
Moreover, helping others is infectious. Those who feel your compassion will, in turn, be inspired to be more compassionate themselves. Be the change that you desire to see in the world. It's the little things in life that can have the biggest impact.
3. Adopt An Attitude of Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude helps us to value the little things in life that we often take for granted. The more thankful that we are for what we have, the less likely we are to focus on what we don’t have. This is why I am a big believer in the power of a morning ritual.
By starting your day with a grateful heart and being present with yourself, it gives you the inspiration that you need in order to see the good in everything. This is why I love keeping a gratitude journal. By recording my daily blessings, I move throughout my day feeling more optimistic and happier overall.
The next time that you get down or feel like life isn't going your way, take a moment and think about all the things that you are grateful for. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes time and patience. However, once you have adopted this positive habit, I promise that your life will transform for the better.
4. Live In The Present
I believe that if we want to feel fully alive and happy, we need to live in the present moment. A Harvard study found that we spend about 47 percent of our waking hours thinking about what isn’t going on. In other words, we are not present for almost half of our lives, proving that a wandering mind is not a happy mind.
Being mindful allows us to appreciate the little things in life, instead of worrying about what's to come. Chicag0-based therapist, Chelsea Hudon says that “We often miss out on life’s little treasures because instead of using our senses to engage in the world around us, we remain in ‘our heads,' worrying about the future or ruminating about the past.”
Being present starts with self-awareness. It's about paying attention to what is going on around you, without trying to change anything.
A great way to ensure that you are living in the present moment every day is to create a morning ritual. When you wake up, it is so important to not get caught up in your thoughts. The morning is an opportunity for you to start fresh and set the tone for your day. As part of your ritual, I encourage you to create a mindfulness practice, like yoga or meditation. Doing so will allow you to calm your mind, connect with yourself, and feel a sense of deep gratitude for yourself and your life.
5. Smile More
Research has shown that smiling releases serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and well-being. Think about the little things in life that make you smile, whether that's listening to the sound of the rain, walking in nature, writing in your journal, or enjoying a bath.
The people that find a reason to smile, despite their life circumstances, are oftentimes the most resilient. Every time shit hits the fan, although they may be disappointed, they will still remain hopeful and determined to find the silver lining. Why? Because they have programmed their mind to look for the good.
In the words of Mother Teresa, “I will never understand all of the good that a simple smile can accomplish.” If you are feeling negative emotions, a smile can instantly shift how you are feeling. We forget how quickly we can brighten someone else's day simply by smiling at them. This proves that the little things in life mean the most.
6. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Do you look at others and feel jealousy or envy for what they have? If so, it's time to stop. Comparing yourself to others will only cause you pain and suffering. Instead, focus on how far YOU have come, and do the work to define your own version of success.
Social comparison is the killer of dreams. Many of us can be so hard on ourselves. When we turn our attention to others' lives, we neglect our own. As a result, we can miss out on a lot of amazing opportunities.
Sit back and think about all of the little things that make your journey so special. This is an act of self-love. Count your blessings and embrace all of your strengths. If you only concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough. This scarcity mentality will affect every area of your life.
If you are going to compare yourself to anyone, make it count and compare yourself to you! How can you continually upgrade your life so that you are growing and evolving into the best version of your higher self, every day? Don't give away your power. Love your story and trust that you are on the path to success, whatever that may look like.
7. Spend More Time In Nature
Have you ever experienced a wave of positive emotions as soon as you immerse yourself in nature, whether that's going for a hike in the mountains or running in the forest? Spending time in nature is a beautiful way to connect back to yourself and what is important to you.
Oftentimes we forget what a powerful experience it can be to activate all of our senses. The act of breathing in fresh air and feeling the ground underneath your feet is a reminder of all of the small wonders of the world that we take for granted.
Over 100 studies have shown that being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings and videos can have positive impacts on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. Pay attention to these micro-moments because they can help you cultivate a great sense of connection to yourself and the world at large.
When you have an appreciation for the little things in life, you experience optimal fulfillment and meaning.
Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. I encourage you to be mindful and pay more attention to the little things in life. One day you will wake up and realize that, in actuality, they were the big things.
Are you ready to start living every day with confidence, passion, and unstoppable energy? CLICK HERE for instant access to my free Morning Ritual Mastery cheatsheet!
Do you want to learn why it's important to adopt an attitude of gratitude? CLICK HERE to read the article that I wrote on Medium!