Notice the sunrise

   Spring is in the air this morning, or is it summer?

   Whatever it is, there is something about this time of year as we get used to the lighter mornings and the longer days, we may also feel a little lighter in mood and more in touch with the simple pleasures around us. Most of us are aware of the effect of sunlight on our mood, and there is evidence that the brain produces more of the natural anti-depressant serotonin on sunny days, therefore it’s understandable that we will find ourselves in happier moods.

   However, we also shouldn’t underestimate the positive effect that little everyday occurrences can have on us. When we are on holiday in locations we perceive as more exotic than home (and usually they are!) we notice natural moments like a sunset, even if it doesn’t have a beach or rolling hills in the foreground. We notice the leaves or flowers blowing in the breeze and we appreciate the scenery all around us. This happens not simply because we are in a more aesthetically pleasing environment, it also happens because we take the time to slow down, look around us, absorb our surroundings…..and relax!

   Experiment with taking a little time every day to look around you and appreciate the beauty you normally ignore, look around you and examine in more detail the wonderful aspects of your daily existence, and the people within it, that you habitually skim over and disregard. You’ll be surprised at how much there is, even in our hectic city/work life and busy suburban/personal life that will give you a lift. Stop for a few seconds, and appreciate the little tokens of joy that present themselves to you on a regular basis, and that you routinely ignore.

   Pause and allow yourself to notice the sunrise (maybe sunset is more realistic at this time of year!), and while you’re at it, welcome the morning birdsong into your awareness, offer a smile to the neighbour you see on your daily walk to the station, absorb the innocent giggles of your children and even upgrade your default cordial handshake to a warm hug for your friends.

   We all have different lives, different routines, different experiences. What we have in common though is that we will all have opportunities that present themselves to us on a daily basis, and offer the chance to lighten our mood, ease our stress, perhaps make us happy for a while.

   Go on, open your heart, open your mind, open your eyes and look around you…….it might even put a smile on your face!


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