The seventh attitude in Rick Foster and Greg Hicks book, “How We Choose to Be Happy: the 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People: Their Secrets, Their Stories” is appreciation – “the choice to appreciate your life and the people in it and to stay in the present by turning each experience into something precious.”
I’ve written of the joys of being a parent and the special gift of seeing the world anew through the eyes of a child. We all start off living in the moment and being fully present in the here and now.
How much easier it is as a young toddler when the entire span of your past memories extends over two or three years. The clock ticks slowly, 5 minutes of sitting still feels like hours and a summer seems to last a lifetime.
As we grow up and grow older, we accumulate a past. Our minds return to that past, cherishing the good old times, rehashing our worst experiences, recalling past hurts, regrets and losses. The past can hold us back from enjoying the present, and the more time we spend preoccupied with the past, the more we lose out on the present, which soon slips into the past – another moment lost.
Along with the responsibilities of adulthood, come worries, and our anxieties again draw us away from the present and into the imagined future. This becomes another distraction from the enjoyment of the present.
We live in the present, and we can only be happy in the present.
Your happiness exercise: Appreciate the gifts in this day. You will never again be as young as you are today, but don’t waste a moment worrying about it; rejoice in your “youth”! Do today, what you may not be able to do tomorrow.
Appreciate the people you love in your life today. Leave nothing important unsaid. It doesn’t hurt to say “I love you” again. Spend more time with the people you love to be with, and don’t waste one moment arguing about something that won’t make a difference a year from now.
Today, resolve to be as present as possible as you create memories that you will cherish in the future.