The healing power of “little things” in an era of great stress


Every new day brings us problems. So weeks, months and years pass. Worries and stressful events can vary in intensity and impact on life, but often they grow and consume us, forcing us to focus only on the negative.

The generally accepted strategy for dealing with serious problems is based on two common truths: “put the situation in perspective” and “ignore the little things.” Psychologist and family counselor Kurt Smith questions the second statement, reminding you that the little things can be important. You need to take the time to notice and appreciate them. This is important for mental health and overall enjoyment of life.

What happens when we ignore the little things?

Concentrating on small events and experiences may seem unnecessary in a world focused on big goals and global problems. But it is the grave anxiety that causes us great difficulty that often overwhelms and paralyzes us. It’s good to be focused on something important, Smith says, but myopia along the way can become a trap and cause anxiety, depression, and uncontrollable anger.

Many live in constant anxiety, worrying about what will happen next, what needs to be done and from whom or what we are lagging behind in this race. This can give the impression that the world will collapse as soon as we stop spinning like a squirrel in a wheel, stop doing another project, or lose concentration.

Failure to balance big goals with small pleasures causes us to alienate loved ones

Of course, at the level of reason, we understand that this will not happen. But it is difficult to cope with the constant internal itching, prompting to strive for new achievements instead of stopping and noticing the little things that bring pleasure. This also leads to negative physical consequences. High blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and other health problems can be associated with constant stress. Even one that we create for ourselves.

This affects not only us. Failure to balance big goals with small pleasures leads us to alienate loved ones. Most of our happy memories are associated with the little things, the good moments of everyday life. By ignoring them, we stop building meaningful connections with family and friends. And this, in turn, leads to serious tension in relations with those who are dear and needed. This is especially detrimental to communication with children.

Trivia and mental health

When we focus on achieving success, we over-focus on “big,” and this can be disorienting. Always looking into the distance, at the final goal, means constantly feeling that we have not yet reached it, acting incorrectly or moving not fast enough. And this often means a constant feeling of failure.

Being able to pay attention to small pleasures helps you see life differently. By becoming more attentive to what is happening at the moment and assessing it right now, we can “ground” and feel a connection with the world and ourselves. We can put our fears and anxieties into perspective and stop the growing anger and feelings of worthlessness and frustration over failure.

From time to time, averting your eyes from the “big picture”, you will not lose sight of your goal. It can help you move towards more.

And most importantly, Smith writes, the result will be instant and effortless. The smile of a stranger, the good smell, the taste, the kind word, and a million other little things are still the events of the day that we may be used to overlooking. Research shows that when you start paying attention to them, the production of serotonin increases in the brain. As a result, anxiety, anxiety, anger and even depressive states begin to diminish or disappear. And the more often this happens, the more tangible the result can be.

Ultimately, learning to make time for the little things can make life more fulfilling and enjoyable, helping to feel more in tune with the outside world and those close to us. And this can have a huge impact on our mental health. “From time to time, averting your eyes from the ‘big picture’, you will not lose sight of the goal and the world will not collapse. In fact, it just can help you move towards more, ”the psychologist believes.

About the author: Kurt Smith is a psychologist and family counselor.

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