“The Next Big Thing is here.” Just a few years ago, this referred to the Samsung Galaxy S5.
The world is moving at a dizzying pace and keeping up can be difficult. From smart watches, machine learning to augmented reality, technology seems to lead the pack when it comes to getting to the next big thing. Our phones get smarter then simpler, bigger then smaller. Even our fridges can sense dwindling groceries. However, what are the downsides of moving so quickly and running through technology advancements, jobs, achievements and milestones? We can be so quick to move on to the next milestone that we forget to be grateful for the current seasons.
With things moving this quickly, it is understandable that we often forget to sit back and savor the moments. A recent conversation with an acquaintance revealed that he was feeling quite fed up with his current position, and was “ready to move on with it”. I also learned that he had been at his current job for slightly less than a year. He had been taking exams and interviewing for his current position, months before he was finally hired. I could only imagine how much work it had taken to get the job. Why did he already feel so dissatisfied when he couldn’t really identify any concrete complaints? Why was he so ready for the next big thing?
Research on gratitude has found it linked to a myriad of psychological benefits, including greater optimism and happiness, improved mental health, and even greater self-control. With so many benefits, why don’t we practice gratitude more? Many people have said they simply forget, or they just don’t have the time to do so.
What are some practical things you can do today to slow down and appreciate the things happening right now?
- Write it down! Studies keep identifying benefits of writing by hand, and keeping a journal can be a great way to identify milestones reached that may have been otherwise forgotten. Bullet journals are a great option for busy people. Alternatively, setting a 5 to 10 minute timer to take down your thoughts from the day or week is an easy way to build into a more consistent writing habit. Write down hopes and dreams, and break them down into achievable short and long-term goals. Not only does this help create a road map, it is easier to be grateful when there is something to physically look at.
- Record it! Although I am an advocate for less time in front our screens, taking a picture or video is a tried and true method of capturing those moments that we never want to forget. A picture they say, captures a thousand words. (Another tip: Periodically, I download all my pictures unto a hard drive and organize them by periods, special moments etc, which makes it easier to go through in the future.)
- Stop and stay. People do this when they meditate; some people do this when they pray. Set a 5 to 10 minute timer at the end of the day and take the moment to think about what you achieved during the day, what you wish you had achieved, what made you happy, what upset you, and what you have the power to do to improve the next day. You would be surprised at the impact such a short period could have on your mental and physical health. There is scientific evidence that shows the positive effects of prayer and meditation on the brain. In fact, a study showed reductions in cravings in alcoholics after prayer.
Let’s try to practice some intentional gratitude today.
Written by Ugonna Iheme