How much of your day is filled with “tasks to be completed?” I recently realized how much that orientation had crept into my life. We are vacationing in Arkansas and one of the houses that we are renting is really decorated in a lovely way. The master bedroom, in particular, is a retreat. On Saturday morning, I was making the bed and – for some reason – I was really attuned with how the linens felt and how the coverlet felt and looked and how the decorative pillows added nice pops of colors. As I was doing this, I thought, “What a nice experience this is.” And that stopped me in my tracks. I thought: “What?? I’m making the bed. How can that be a nice experience?” Then I thought: “How much of my life has become about tasks to be completed versus experiences to be savored?”
The answer is too much. I’ve been missing an opportunity. The wisdom passed down over the centuries tells us that being fully present is one of the real keys to happiness. And the latest happiness research tells us the same thing. Research in positive psychology tells us that the more present we are, and when we truly savor even simple activities, the more at peace and happy we are. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far: It takes the same amount of time to make the bed (or do other routine activities) either way. One way makes me feel connected to joy and energized; the other makes me feel harried. I’ll take energized over harried any day.
To-do list - How much of your day is devoted to completing tasks? How much of your life consists of duties to be accomplished instead of savored events? Take a breath and consider what you just read. It's possible to find pleasure in doing the things on your to-do list.
Feelings – Our emotions contribute significantly to our degree of happiness. We can choose whether we want our actions to leave us feeling happy and invigorated or hurried.
Be present – Observing the present moment with an attentive attitude can improve our life. In other words, the more we practice mindfulness and other techniques from positive psychology, the more we can appreciate the little things in life.