A delightful delight

I keep on writing about delights, but what exactly is it and why do I find it so important?

Let us start with talking about attention : it is the most important resource in our life. We live through what we pay attention to, we chose what we pay attention to, and that affects how we feel and react.

I make it sound as if it’s super simple, but it isn’t. We all have this genetically build-in survival instinct that makes us keep an eye out for danger. Back in the days when we could be eaten by a lion this was extremely important. But nowadays our lives are relatively safe and we don’t need to be alert all the time. We can sleep all night without being afraid to be eaten for example.

But still, instinctively, we pay more attention to alarming news; and that is exactly what we are now bombarded with all day long. Bad news. War, hunger, viruses, climate change, if you believe all they say on the news you might as well start digging your grave!

We spend a huge chunk of our attention on negativity, and that changes our brain, causes chronic stress, depression etc. But more on neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself) later.

Now the good thing is that we can have power over our attention. We can direct or redirect it towards something nice, something fun, something that makes you smile ; let’s call it a ‘delight’. However hard, boring or difficult a day might be, there is always something good or fun happening around you. Even though we can not change the news or we can not solve all the problems that surround us, we are able to pay attention to little positive things instead being caught by the constant whirlwind of negativity.

And focussing, or looking out for that one positive or fun thing in your day just changes how your brain works. Little by little.

Through focus on the positive, on gratitude, on a fun moment, on something that makes you smile, even if it is just a minute, a second, and putting your finger on it, recognising it as such, we can change the neural pathways in our heads and stop the spiral of negativity that brings us down.

What you consider as a delight is personal. You might find a butterfly that comes out of nowhere and land on your chair a delight, and someone else might not even notice. The first blossom of spring, a child on the street that makes a funny move, the sun on your face…. Just enjoy the moment and acknowledge it.

Some people say one should write down 1 to 3 delights a day, in a (delight-) journal or in some notes app on your phone, in just one or 2 words or maybe a whole story, as it might trigger you to look out for more. Some people even write books about their delights, like Gay Ross’s ‘Book of Delights’ or Hannah Jane Parkinson’s ‘Joy of Small things‘. Even though not everyone is a writer, everyone can shift his or her attention to some kind of delight, just for that minute.

Subscribe if you are enjoying this and have a delightful day!

Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

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