Part of the reason we find ourselves mentally fatigued is that we haven't evolved to slow down and appreciate, but to innovate and make daily tasks more convenient. Convenience is, well, convenient. When tasks are simplified, we can complete them sooner and move on to the next assignment. However, in doing so, we remove the aspect of appreciation.
Appreciation is a fundamental component of happiness. Certainly, happiness is not an objective feeling, but there are moments when we are able to recognize that we are more content than other times. Usually, these fleeting moments of bliss occur when we recognize ordinarily trivial aspects of our lives. It happens when we are able to stop and acknowledge the details of our day that ignite our senses.
Often, we ponder and dissect what it means to be happy too intensely. We pressure ourselves to achieve this happiness by rushing through anything we consider to be slightly inconvenient or monotonous. But, perhaps it only appears so because that is how we are choosing to perceive that aspect of our day.
If our morning latte could be viewed as a pleasurable event for our taste buds rather than a quick way to stimulate our bodies and get going, we would be initiating a more positive thought process. Perspective is the difference between what is average and what is a potentially enjoyable experience.
Studying may be the dreaded necessity for students, and dragging ourselves out of the comfort of our beds for work seems undesirable, but it is because we anticipate a negative experience. If we were to focus on the motivations for doing these activities, such as to obtain an A on an exam or to make additional spending cash, we would find it easier to also recognize that these silver linings are able to accelerate us further to achieve more long-term goals. For example, a nine-hour workday can be exhausting and not an ideal way to spend the time, but spending a day somewhere more exotic may be. What do we need to accomplish before we can make that day a future reality? Having the funds. What can provide us with money? That tedious work schedule.
In addition to perspective, moderation of anticipation is just as important. We too often focus on what will make us happy in the future, that we forget to acknowledge the smaller joys of every day in the present. Time will pass and we will get to our destinations eventually, but in the meantime, we need to realize that today has the potential to be just as exciting.
So, appreciate the aroma of cinnamon in the chai, pet the Husky with the soft coat, smile when we hear a nostalgic song, and make time to smell the roses.