In Practice: Making the most of small pleasures

Tuesday wasn’t a good day.  I  broke a glass while making breakfast and had to rush to my doctor’s appointment through the snow.  I struggled to cross the icy roads safely.  My migraine brain disliked the glare from the snow, the cold outside and the heat in the GP surgery. Later that day I got a crushing migraine and spent most of the afternoon in bed.

But in between I managed to take advantage of a couple of pleasant moments, and remembered to use a couple of techniques for making the most of small pleasures

It didn’t make the feelings of sadness or discomfort less intense but I’m glad I remembered to pause for a moment and enjoy these moments too.  I was reminded of the poem A Dust of Snow by Robert Frost.  It was a bad day – but there were happy moments too.

“Whatever else there is, there’s this as well” – Maitreyabandhu1

Adding to my happiness jar2

I wrote a note to add to my collection of happy memories that I keep in a jar on my desk.

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“Sharing a sweet funny moment with strangers before going on with my day.

I was walking through the park and saw small dog going crazy in the snow.  Wriggling on its back, kicking the snow up behind himself, scrabbling in it with his front paws, pushing his head in a snow drift.  I couldn’t help laughing out loud.  His owners were laughing so hard they could hardly stand up straight when he sat up his eyebrows and moustaches covered in snow and looked around puzzled before dashing about again.”

Pausing to enjoy the sensory aspects of a moment

On the way home walking through the same park I stopped for a moment.  Felt the warm sun on one cheek and cold air on the other.  Watched the gently swirling snow blown of the trees and felt it land on my face.  Heard the crunch of snow when I walked where no one else had.  Admired the imprint of boots in the snow.  Felt snuggly and warm in all my layers with soft fabric next to my skin.  Saw the pattern of the shadows made by the sun through the trees.  Appreciated the blue of the sky after the dark cloud earlier.  Heard children laughing and playing in the school yard next to the park.  Heard birds in the trees.  Experienced a sense of peace alone in an open space.

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Resources

1. ‘This’ by Maitreyabandhu,  Crumb Road, quoted in Burch & Penman Mindfulness for Health

2. Make a happiness jar Can you bottle happiness?