Joy of Small Things
It might be the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end, but now seems an opportune moment to reflect on what we as an individual have learnt so far from the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of the pandemic or maybe even until now, many of us might experiencing a greater-than-ever risk of worry, fear, anxiety, pressure, and stress. These negative emotions can increase as we juggle multiple priorities such as minimizing our health risks, working remotely for an extended period of time, tending to home chores, home schooling children or caring for older parents who may be especially vulnerable.
Despite all this, you might have figured-out there’s always something to be grateful and learned the little secret of joy. The Question is when it's over, what do you hope to remember?
To reflect, here is a Dialogue with our Psychiatrist, Dr Balu Pitchiah.
Dr. Balu Pitchiah (Psychiatrist)
Harley Street Healthcare Clinic
Many people ordinarily lead very busy, stressful lives. Why does it take a huge life change, or a stripping away of something or many things in our lives, for us to notice and appreciate small joys in simple things?
It is true that many people lead busy and stressful lives often fulfilling commitments, attaining targets, helping others dreams and existing on a day to day basis. It is not common for people to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. There are some deeply ingrained human traits such as our striving to better our lot, our need to feel in control of our destiny, and our propensity to credit ourselves for our successes while blaming others for our failures. It is sad that an invisible virus has forced the humankind to look deeper into themselves and appreciate the small joys in so called “simple “things. Perhaps it is time to define what is “simple” and “important”. After all life has meaning when there is appreciation for nature and things that help us feel our existence.
What’s your advice for finding even more joy in the small things?
We find so called “small”things joyful because they matter . We realise that being healthy and alive is more important than being accomplished in eyes of others around us. By focusing on what's most important to us, our stress levels will be lower, and our health will benefit. Stress can affect our mood, blood pressure, and mental health. People who live simple life focus on their health and watch carefully what they eat and consume. They are more mindful. Simple Ways To Find joy in small things that actually matter are:
- Expect Less and seek contentment. Greed is unhealthy
- Enjoy Your Work. Work with passion and commitment and not just for a paycheck.
- Live for Today and in the present. Be mindful
- Choose Happiness over misery
- Be Social and compassionate
- Don't Compare Yourself to others and be considerate
- Stop Worrying and start living.
- Develop a Positive Outlook and keep away negativity.
Could this opportunity to slow down and live more in the moment actually be good for our mental health?
This is in my view an once in lifetime opportunity to reset our lives and restart, build a way of life filled with gratitude and happiness. This could be an opportunity to appreciate what is important and energize ourselves with the power of gratitude and heal with hope for the future. Slowing down and reflecting on the present would help us cope with hard times and cut out excesses in our lives. Slowing down can start a virtuous cycle in your mind that influences how you think and see the world. You focus on the positives in your life, and then you notice there are more positives than you previously realized. Then you become more grateful for these, and you see more for which you have appreciation. Not to mention, when you practice gratitude, your brain also releases hormones that encourage this cycle to continue. I would encourage all of us to think about this period as a “maintenance break “ for our over active, over achieving , target driven tired brains and help us improve on attention, enthusiasm, energy, and determination, all of which are necessary for overcoming obstacles and remaining resilient in the face of adversity.