Is ‘Sweating the Small Stuff’ Really a Problem?

‘Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things’.

I was thinking about how we go through our days, months and years; how we cope with life and the pressures we bear at times. We try to be diligent and concern ourselves with the rights and wrongs going on the world; what will happen about Brexit – how will the actions of President Trump impact upon us – what about global warming – the economy – the NHS – slipping standards in behaviour – the gloomy news we listen to everyday? I could keep adding to this never ending list…..

Throughout the day or week, your routine is most likely set and the little things happening during that time are the ones that are making a difference.

Last Sunday, I was invited to a service of  remembrance at the local church. This was held in the early evening – and although it was Remembrance Sunday this was an additional service held for all those who had lost someone close to them in the last year. It was a way of honouring the memory of a loved one recently departed, and a chance to give thanks for their life: ‘A gentle service to remember loved ones no longer with us.’

The service was very moving and conducted by the ministers with love and grace. It gave everyone time. Time to reflect and think about those we loved and lost, in a calm and peaceful environment. Towards the end of the service we were invited up to the altar to add a flower to the cross laid at the front, together with a lighted candle. As we returned to our seats and the lights were dimmed we sat quietly in contemplation for a while, before saying goodbye and going out into the dark night.

The service was beautiful for so many reason. As I had watched everyone walking up to lay a flower for their loved ones, I realised again, that all we really want in this life is to love and be loved. Just as the flowers thrive with the warmth of the sun and the gentle rain, so we thrive when we are loved. We may feel bereft when we lose someone very dear to us, but we can reflect on all the love we shared with that person and be glad. Love is at times, responsible for causing us heartbreak and pain as well as great joy, but without it we are lost. And when we show love and receive love we don‘t really need to worry about the bigger picture – the big wide world; it is the small things in life that matter.

I watch cookery programmes often; with each new series of Masterchef or The Great British Bake-Off I get drawn back into the show and get to ‘know’ the latest contestants and their particular way of doing things. I watch as they sometimes dissolve into tears when a soufflé sinks or a casserole burns  and it is easy to get into a cynical way of thinking and judging, and then I wonder why? It’s good to get passionate about cake! It may not change the world but a good slice of cake can make someone’s day!

We are all striving to be the best we can be – to make something of ourselves and our lives and there is nothing wrong with that. If we feel bound to make a difference to the world then we should go for it! Where would we be without explorers and pioneers in every field; those who work relentlessly and discover new drugs and new ways of healing? There are so many people struggling tirelessly to help people and to care for those who need it most. They are often the people too, who still find time to stop and enjoy the small things in life.

So when we focus on the small things, the little things that concern us, I don’t think it is a bad thing. Of course, we don’t want to get stressed particularly, about blocked drains (me at the moment) or being cut up on the motorway or any of the daily annoyances that beset us all from time to time. But stopping to study the new shoots on the trees or listen to the birds can only ever do us good.  Throughout the day or week, your routine is most likely set and the little things happening during the time are the ones that are making a difference.

It’s worth noting that the good feeling we get from taking some freshly baked bread from the oven or watching a child jump and play, is far more heartening than studying a politician arguing in a debate on the news, no matter how important the topic!

The good small things for me:  

Waking up and feeling good – making porridge the Cornish way.

Good hair days! A cup of tea in my favourite angel mug. My sister’s dog, Willow Writing a poem I am happy with. Going to the beach. Cooking a chocolate cake. Listening to Clifford T. Ward – listen to ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’it’s beautiful. Laughing with friends. Messages from my sons. ❤️❤️ Christmas movies. Looking at photos of my mum and dad. Listening to my husband singing along to ‘Sounds of the sixties.’ 🎼 Reading to my grandchildren 📖   Life is made up of moments. Collect them and keep them in your heart.    

The magic of starting to focus on these little, but important things, is that you will gradually change from focusing on what is missing in your life, to what is there. And when we feel grateful for what we have, we gradually add to our happiness levels, bit by bit.

      IMG_0071 What small things make you happy? I would love to hear from you.  

A Little Bit of Hygge…

I’ve read quite a bit about ‘hygge’ lately. I’m not sure exactly how you pronounce the word…or even spell it , but I think it’s pronounced  ‘hue-gah’. However, to quote my favourite philosopher Winnie-the -Pooh,  when asked how to spell a certain emotion, ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’

Spelling and pronouncing hygge is probably the easy part. Explaining what it is is perhaps a bit more tricky! I think the easiest way to explain it is by suggesting you think about all the cosy, ‘feel good’ things in life – the small but important things we crave, especially this time of year. I have heard it described as ‘cosiness of the soul’ ‘soothing times’ or ‘hot chocolate by candlelight.’ Whatever it is, I like it!

The word ‘hygge’ originates in Norway, and means ‘well-being’.

To elaborate a bit, hygge is a sense of coming together with loved ones, revelling in simple pleasures and sharing comfort food in front of the fire. Hygge isn’t about buying stuff, whatever the retailers want us to think. You don’t need to spend money to create a sense of hygge. Wrapping up in a warm, snuggly jumper and going for a walk can be hygge, as can catching up with a friend over coffee. It’s about feelings, not possessions. It’s about being kind to yourself and others.

You could:

Curl up in PJ’s and a warm blanket and read a book

Light a scented candle

Stop trying to multi-task – turn off the phone and focus on the moment

Bake some gooey brownies

Send a loved one a letter

Soak in a bath with some scented oils

Explore the outdoors

Walk someone’s dog, (or yours!)

Turn on some fairy lights in the fading afternoon light….

We don’t need an excuse for hygge either, and we can even use it at work. Create a little space on your desk for a candle, for a photo or a plant that is pleasing to the eye, or invest in a Himalayan salt lamp (if the boss allows obviously!).

There is a lot of hygge in Denmark, said to be one of the happiest countries in the world. I guess they have their problems and issues like every other country, but they seem to have a positive outlook, and even have a Happiness Research Institute. It is worth noting that Danish people are the ones who meet up with their families and friends the most often, and feel the most calmest and the most peaceful.

Ok, Ok I know I have gone over the top a bit but I think you get my drift. This time of year, especially on a grey, misty and murky day like today, we all need a bit of hygge. While fashions come and go, hygge is one trend that I think is very much worth indulging in.

Here was my bit of hygge today. If in doubt….bake!

Hygge blessings!

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