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Why the small stuff matters

I have always been a big fan of the small things in life. The little tiny details that can be so easily overlooked, but that which when added together make up the rich tapestry of life.

Every morning I walk my 3 small children to school about a mile away. When we were choosing the school my husband asked me a few times whether I was sure it was the right choice because of that walk - after all there is a great school right on our doorstep. I was a bit concerned too - I had a one year old, a two year old and a four year old at the time, a single buggy and the walk is mostly uphill! I knew it wasn't always going to be much fun. But I loved the school and knew it was the right place for my son and so we went for it anyway.

My son on his first day of school, the joy of bumping into a friend half way through the walk...

So what of the walk... There's no getting away from it, there are dramas. Tantrums en route, forgotten bags, the button at the crossing pressed by the wrong child, it's too hot or too cold or legs ache or any number of other problems. But I love that walk. And the reason I love it is because from the very start I made an active choice to seek out the small moments and small things that make it special.

In Spring, we get excited about the first snow drops and crocuses. Then the cherry blossom and the way the sun hits the church steeple as we walk by. On a rainy day we wear boots and splash in puddles. In Autumn, we find conkers and watch the leaves falling. It all sounds idyllic which isn't true at all. It is messy and argumentative and stressful at times. It is real life with kids.

Some days it feels really hard. BUT, I built gratitude into the routine of that daily walk and so I always always make sure I find a small thing to be grateful for, to comment on, to really take time to notice. And because of that, I look forward to this time of day every day, and a part of my day that could be a chore is a half hour of joy. And that, is why the small stuff matters. Because if we take notice of the small stuff, life is suddenly a whole lot more joyful.

And don't just take my anecdote for it! There is a whole lot of science that backs this up too. Opening your mind up to these small moments, small pleasures will actually cause your mind to seek more of them. And the more you seek, the more wonder you feel. And the more wonder you feel, the more joyful you days will be. And that, surely, has to be worth noticing the small things for.


So... now it's your turn. Work out how you can start to notice the small things. If you already do it a bit, find ways to do it more, and if it's not something you do often... make today the day you start. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

- Start and end your day by writing down a few things your are grateful for about your day, or your life. Make sure to focus in on the small things too.

- Think of a part of your daily routine that you don't really enjoy. Whether it's making breakfast for the kids, walking to work, the school drop off. Whatever it is, make a commitment to yourself to find one small thing each day that you enjoy or find beauty in during that part of your day. You could even set a daily reminder on your phone until it becomes a habit.

- Start family meals by practicing gratitude. Take it in turns to mention one small thing about your day that was really great. Remind every one that it doesn't have to be a big moment, just catching sight of a perfect rose is more than enough to feel joyful about.

Whatever you do, know that the more you do it consciously, the more you will start to do it unconsciously. And that's where the magic happens because all of a sudden you will find that without even thinking about it, you are finding joy in every day things, every day.

I love seeing the first crocuses of the year poking through the hard winter ground.

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