Although it’s a cliché, there’s actually some truth behind the saying “stop and smell the roses.”
In a study conducted by Rutgers University psychology professor Nancy Fagley, it was found that people are happier when they take the time to appreciate the people and things in their lives.
But, what exactly is appreciation and how is it different than gratitude?
Appreciation is defined by Fagley as “acknowledging the value and meaning of something—an event, a behavior, an object—and feeling positive emotional connection to it.” It involves being present so that you recognition and enjoy the good qualities of a person or item.
Gratitude is the result of appreciation. It’s being willing to show or express your appreciation on how something or someone makes you feel. It’s more practical and helps build relationships. With appreciation you don’t always have to interact with someone.
For example, you can be grateful for the meal that your partner cooked for dinner. But, appreciation goes deeper. It allows you to enjoy how the food looks, smells, and tastes. It also lets you appreciate the time it took to prepare and how nutritious it is for you and your family.
Ways you can actually “stop and smell the roses.”
Between your career and being a mom, how can you possibly find the time to appreciate the small things in life?
For starters, always schedule quality time with your family and friends. It does wonders for your physical and mental health. Just remember to be fully present. If you plan a Sunday dinner, eat at a table and not in front of the TV. It you meet your bestie for coffee, put your phone away. Go on trips together. Visit a museum, the beach, or a theme park. If you can’t physically spend time with them, pick-up the phone or write them a letter.
Also, mark important dates in your calendar so that you won’t forget. Thanks to online calendars and social networks, this isn’t a time-consuming chore. But, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that you note birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, sporting events, or recitals for your nearest and dearest. This way you can prioritize them before a scheduling conflict occurs.
After you’ve used the tips above, here’s how you can go further with appreciation;
- Laugh and have fun together — whether if it’s with your spouse, kids, or friends.
- Make your loved ones feel special — have breakfast in bed or give them a small, thoughtful gift.
- Give back — it can be as something as small as saying “thank you” or paying for someone’s coffee at Starbucks.
- Meditate and use positive affirmations.
- Be more thankful and positive — surrounding yourself with positive people is a great start.
- Notice the small things — I never take for granted the beauty in a sunrise or sunset when I’m outside.
For more on appreciation, check out this inspiration TED Talk;
And, if you have any advice on how we can “stop and smell the roses,” please leave us a comment.