Reprinted with the kind permission of Julie Holliday.
This morning, outside on my terrace, about to start my T’ai chi, I looked up and saw a beautiful sky, with 3 pretty clouds sat in a line, one posing prettily over the moon. My first response was to run inside to get my phone to take a picture (see above), but after the picture, I took a moment to appreciate just how beautiful it was and then to appreciate how happy I was to be here and to be offered this little moment of Joy.
I then realised that there have been lots of these moments recently. Perhaps because I’m happy to be back in Spain again after 6 weeks in the UK, or perhaps because I’m teaching a mindfulness course at the moment, and as I’m taking part in the practices that I set my students, I’ve found myself observing what I’ve been doing in the moment and just thinking, I’m so happy to be here, I’m so happy to have this moment!
Often, even when we are enjoying ourselves, we get so caught up in the moment that we don’t pay attention to how much we are enjoying ourselves. But taking a moment to stand back and really appreciate it, can add so much more depth to the experience. Instead of later having a vague memory of having had some fun, here and now appreciation makes that memory so much more concrete. It also adds to your overall sense that your day has been a good one.
The more of these moments you can find in your day, the stronger your sense of being happy. And they don’t have to be instigated by stunning external events either. Almost anything can add to your happiness if you take a moment to appreciate it. After my T’ai chi I made my breakfast, and I took a moment to appreciate that I was enjoying preparing something that I like to eat for breakfast. Last night whilst organising the wood in my wood burner so that it wouldn’t burn too fast, I took a step back from my concentration on the task and took a moment to appreciate how much I enjoy the challenge of getting the right level of heat from the fire. Later, snuggling down in front of the fire with a book, I took a moment to appreciate how lucky I was to be cosy and snug and that I had a something to entertain me that was fitting with my energy levels right at that moment.
The great thing about taking these moments is that the more you do them, the more likely you are to notice the next moment. When you actively chose to be appreciative, you become much more likely to notice the things around you that you can be appreciative of!
I’m a great believer that happiness is a skill, not a reaction to external events. Taking a moment to appreciate whatever there is in this moment to be happy about, is a very simple way of developing that skill!
I’d love to hear about the small ways you can find to take a moment of appreciation. Maybe by commenting below you can inspire others to notice what they can appreciate in this moment too?
Right now I’m going to take a moment to appreciate how much I enjoy writing a blog post. How lucky I am that the words just flow, and the pleasure involved in the possibility that maybe I could be helping others living with chronic illness, find more happiness in their lives!
Julie Holliday, ProHealth's Inspirational Editor, is a holistic life coach and writer committed to helping people take back control from energy-limiting chronic illness to live a more relaxed, balanced and fulfilling life. Julie loves spending time in nature, growing her own vegetables and spends as much of her day as possible in a comfortable pair of yoga pants. Writing as the ME/CFS Self-Help Guru, Julie shares tips on her weekly blog. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.