I had a conversation with a friend over coffee recently and they were telling me how happy they were. They said things were going well in work and life and that things were just… falling into place. They also said that this makes them uneasy.
They’re worried about what’s around the corner. They think this moment of happiness can’t possibly last – so what’s going to go wrong? They said they can’t be in the moment and enjoy how they’re feeling, because they’re convinced it’ll all be over soon.
I sympathise. The world moves at such a fast pace, the way things are one moment aren’t necessarily how they’ll be the next. Anxiety too, has a part to play. This friend and I both struggle with anxiety and it has a nasty habit of popping up when everything seems to be going well.
It’s that overprotective side of our brains, wanting us to not get our hopes up.
It has good intentions, but it makes it difficult to relax. Then of course there’s the negativity bias our brain has. It clings onto the negative and glosses over the positive, again, in an attempt to keep us safe. So what can we do to override this and, well, stop and smell the roses?
In my experience, becoming more mindful and putting in a real effort to savour the beautiful moments in life helps. There are lots of ways you can do this, but here are a few of my favourites:
Journaling / documenting
Writing about the sweet moments in life or taking pictures is one of my favourite things to do. Not only does it help you get into the habit of noticing the little things, but it offers you a chance to look back and remind yourself how happy you were in that moment.
I use the Positive Planner every morning and evening. Before I go to bed, I note how my day was (whether good or bad) and write one thing I’m grateful for. Again, this helps your brain get into the habit of finding something good even if you’ve had a shitty day. And remember, it’s OK to have a bad day and negative emotions. Just try to savour the good days too.
Meditation / mindfulness
Whether you want to build a meditation practice or simply be a bit more conscious in everyday life – mindfulness honestly helps root yourself in the present moment. This is so important if you struggle with anxiety and/or find yourself thinking about what might go wrong in the future.
You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and worrying won’t make any difference to how it turns out. Instead try to focus on the here and now.
Taking a mental snapshot
This is something I’ve been doing for years. Whenever I’m having a particularly amazing / joyful / content moment in life, I take some time to breathe in the moment. I lock what I’m seeing and experiencing into my mind’s eye.
Thinking back to those mental snapshots now and I’m transported. I’m in Thailand on my way to temple. I’m photographing the most incredible sunset in Costa Rica. I’m lying on the floor with my old cat, Sapphire, tickling her tummy. Try it the next time you feel overwhelmed with calm, joy, happiness, whatever.
Capture the scene, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like. Capture how you feel and hold it close.
Find pockets of slow
The fast pace of life can make it feel like we simply have no time to stop and smell the roses. But I think we all know that this isn’t *really* the case. Try and find pockets of slow in your everyday life. This could be five minutes of quiet outside on your lunch break, an early morning yoga session or those few minutes in bed visualising how great your day’s going to be before getting out of bed.
We can all find a few minutes in the day to slow down. These pockets can be savours and really help remind us that we’re ultimately in charge of our time and how we spend it.
I know a lot of the things I’ve said here can feel easier said than done, but once you start and once you really practice savouring the moment, the easier it gets. The only constant in this life is change.
Things will always move on, they’ll always change – but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get worse or that you won’t stay happy. And even if things do get worse, you can rest safe in the knowledge that soon enough, things will move on again.
If you want a little more insight into the way I document moments in my life, the best place to connect with me is on Instagram. I use stories as a way to document and my grid photos as a way to explore creativity.
Do you struggle to relax and be present when things are going well? Let me know in the comments.
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