Deanna Pledge, Ph.D.

Bloom Where You're Planted!

Blooming Blog

September 22, 2011

Tags: resiliency, optimism, mindfulness, nature, simple pleasures

Look for the wonder in daily life…

Fall is just beginning to show its beautiful colors in my neighborhood. A majestic tri-colored maple leaf invited me to stop and enjoy the season for just a moment this morning. The air was crisp and just a little cool – perfect I’m told to spark those magical changes in the color of the leaves.

So, what does any of this have to do with blooming? Choice. I could have rushed along in my morning routine and not even have noticed the lovely leaf that graced my path, but I didn’t. I deliberately chose to stop and enjoy the moment. That leaf carried me away to childhood memories of jumping in leaves and saving the treasures I found to take inside and press amongst the pages of the encyclopedia – you remember when we couldn’t find everything at our fingertips on the Internet, right? ;-)

My simple choice to stop and enjoy this tiny bit of nature helped me connect with that rejuvenating force that is available to all of us. The concept of being present in the moment has been labeled “mindfulness” – you may have come across that term yourself. Mindfulness simply means that you allow yourself that gift of being open to experiences and unexpected pleasures as they present themselves to you throughout your day.

If you are a walker or have a dog to be walked, that experience offers a wonderful opportunity to get lost in being outside, even if only for a few minutes. Instead of checking your phone or hurrying to the next scheduled part of your life, be present in the moment. Actually, we can take a little lesson from our dogs to enjoy the “now.” Feel the breeze on your face. Look up at the clouds in the sky. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Listen for those leaves rustling against the wind.

These simple choices help build your resiliency and optimism as well as a habit of feeling more positively. With practice, you can recall these simple pleasures and the pleasant feeling tags along after the recollection. The great thing about positive feelings that are conjured up along with a link to experiences is in their strength to push aside anxiety, sadness, or self-doubt. The positive and negative feelings are mutually exclusive – they cannot co-exist simultaneously. Build up your habit of positive feelings with practice and enjoy the optimistic outlook as it spreads throughout other areas of your life, too!