These simple practices can be done at home and can help you to identify moments of joy in your life. Our brains have what psychologists call a “negativity bias,” which means we pay more attention to negative events than positive ones. This serves an evolutionary purpose, because it means we’re attentive to danger, but sadly it also means we miss out on a lot of the small, ordinary joys. Below are some practices from Sarah Rudell Beach’s book And Breathe… that will help you pay more attention to the good (which is really good for you), and how to savor the fleeting moments of beauty that life offers us.
Camera Roll Meditation
Take a few moments to scroll through the camera roll on your phone. Spend some time appreciating your loved ones, revisiting a happy memory, and marveling at how much of your beautiful life is captured (and how much is not captured) on this little device.
Where are the places in your body where you generally feel good and safe? Where do you not tend to carry a lot of emotion and tension? For most people, these safe places in the body are near the extremities—the hands, the knees, the feet. Our difficult emotions tend to be felt in the gut or the chest, so spend some time savouring the sensations in the parts of the body that feel safe.
A Mindful Jar
Each day, take a small piece of paper and write down one experience you had of being mindful during the day (a time you were fully present, a moment you truly appreciated, a freak-out you managed to soothe with your breath). Put this paper in a Mindful Jar (a simple canning jar will work), and after a few weeks and months you’ll have a lovely collection of savored moments.
Expand Your Worldview
Seek out opportunities to expand your worldview and see things from a new perspective. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a documentary on something that is unfamiliar to you. Savor the experience of learning something new.
Joy can be found in any moment of your day. Happiness is fleeting, and is often tied to specific circumstances, but joy is enduring. Joy can be about finding the space between wanting and not-wanting, between pushing and pulling. You can find joy in the simple rest between two deep breaths. Joy can be a peaceful acceptance of every moment.