Coping Skill: #55. Paying Attention to the Little Things



Sometimes, we get so stuck in anxiety and worrying about the future that we forget to look around us. Yes, there is much pain and hardship in life. However thousands of little things of beauty surround us each day.

This week, I took a walk a tried to notice some of the details in the world around me. Instead of overlooking a spider on its web, I crouched down and watched it scuttle about, trying to find food. The ripples in the stream were no longer just moving water but a beautiful pattern of flowing liquid. Birds singing and lawn mower growling added a bit of sound that I normal drowned out with music. Experiencing these small things was rather magical. To help you see how much it impacted me, I too some photographs.

Stump in the water

Stump in the water

Yet, this is certainly not magic. It is simply learning to take a minute to admire the world you live in and be thankful for it. You might attach this skill to mindfulness if that is helpful. Both help you stay in the present and use your senses to stay grounded your surroundings. Where paying attention to the little things differs slightly is that you are looking for very small, inconsequential elements in your life. In doing so, I gain gratitude, peace, and as sense of joy. All of the tiny things add up to make the world more beautiful.

Paying attention to the little details around you takes time but is fairly simple. You can do it in any environment at any time. There are no requirements or necessary steps to this coping skill. If you want to spend several hours doing this, you can. On rushed days, two minutes might be all you can manage. Even a few seconds to look down and admire an ant hill can give me the boost that I need sometimes.

Looking up at the red pines

Looking up at the red pines

Using all of your senses works best. However, you can also highlight certain ones if you prefer. For example, maybe closing your eyes and simply listening would be the most helpful if you are overwhelmed by bright light. Choose whatever works best for you.

Here are some ideas of what to look for if you try this skill:

  • Scent – smell flowers, food, the wind, clean laundry, soap, candles, etc.
  • Vision – look at mushrooms, leaves, patterns on paper, book covers, bugs, etc. (Taking photographs can be a very helpful way to see these little things.)
  • Hearing – listen to birds, crickets, machines, wind, cars, water, fans, etc.
  • Taste – savor water, fresh fruit, ice cubes, snowflakes, hard candy, carrots, ice cream, gum, etc.
  • Touch – feel blankets, tree bark, clothing, dirt, rocks, marble buildings, water, etc.
Bridge over pond

Bridge over pond

There are numerous other ways to use this coping skill. I find that this is one of the most simple but also most helpful ways to calm myself down when I am struggling. Hopefully you will be able to use this as well when you are stressed about the future or pessimistic about the world. Just taking a moment to notice the small things can be reassuring.

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9 thoughts on “Coping Skill: #55. Paying Attention to the Little Things

  1. Girl Writes Life says:

    This is a great skill. Gratitude is a powerful way to change how we’re feeling, even when our circumstances don’t immediately change.

  2. Marie says:

    Love this! Mindfullness!

  3. Lovely post. I too appreciate the little things. And there is so much to appreciate including your reading this! I have tried to express the importance in all this but have never broken it down or explained it so well.

  4. Excellent post. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

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