Savoring the Small Moments
How Do You Appreciate the Small Things?
There’s a crossing guard named Harry by where I work, who gives me a generous high-five every time I walk by on my lunch break. I always feel like a little kid when I do this. We sometimes make pleasantries about the weather and his ice hockey games when there are not a multiple cars lined up waiting for me to finish crossing the street. That high-five always lifts my mood - guaranteed.
A New York Times article detailed one behavioral study done by sociologists Christakis and Fowler on social influence in our lives. One of the things that the study reveals is that happiness comes from daily exposure to small moments of contagious, pleasant exchanges.
We’ve all heard platitudes that it’s about the journey, and not the destination. But what does that mean in daily practice? In our everyday lives, it means to savor the small moments while we’re striving for our goals or just getting through the day. The small moments can be chatting with the technician who’s helping set up your internet, giving a heartfelt thanks to the sales associate for their time (even if you don’t buy anything), petting someone's cute dog (with their permission of course), or just laughing at yourself when you fall over a curb in front of random strangers.
Yes, it’s important to laugh at yourself. And yes, laughter is contagious. The more important thing is to become aware of your small, daily interactions as opportunities to lift your energy and someone else’s too. Ask yourself what's good in my life and how can I share that?
This study also went on to say that these small exchanges were more important to happiness than deep, heart-to-heart conversations. While I agree about the small aspects, the deeper conversations are also equally important to our happiness. It is through communicating on a soul level that we discover not only the other person, but ourselves as well in the process.
But if you didn’t have the time today to sit down with a loved one over a long meal or coffee, then how about giving someone you pass by frequently just a loud resounding high-five? Pass on the good vibes.