All of us spend our free time doing little things that we find amusing. We take a break and watch a funny video on YouTube. Or we spend time browsing through Facebook or Twitter and passing along whatever caught our attention. At the end of the day, this often leaves people feeling unfulfilled. One way to bring meaning to your life is to find ways to embrace the ordinary.
You’ve got five minutes left on your break. Which would you rather do: watch a funny video, or read about a random conversation you had a month ago? Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D., wrote an article for Psychology Today that discusses the results of a set of studies. The results were interesting!
People in the study were asked questions where they were given a choice about watching a video or re-reading a log of their daily activities. Most people picked the video. They assumed that re-reading a log of their daily activities would be boring. When it came time to read the daily log, they found that doing so gave them more pleasure than watching the videos did.
Part of the reason seems to be because memories of an event can start to dim. Things that happened a month ago can start to lose detail. As a result, the little details in the daily log seemed new and interesting, or may have evoked memories that had been forgotten.
It appears that the way to have a more fulfilling life is to embrace the ordinary. One way is to keep a short log of daily events. Some people put that in a diary, and others create content for their blogs out of it. Take the time to go back and read old posts (or pages) every once in a while.
Another fun way to embrace the moment is to do a “365 photo” challenge. You might be able to find a website that is doing one and asking for volunteers. If not, start your own!
Take one photo, every day, for a year. Pick something that expresses the most meaningful part of the day. On some days, that photo will be of a wedding, a newborn baby, or of where you went on vacation.
Most days, however, aren’t going to be so exciting. Forcing yourself to take a photo of something requires you to embrace the ordinary. There will be days when the most important thing was the laundry you folded or the food you had for dinner. Put the photos onto your Instagram, Flickr, or Tumblr. Those “boring” photos might evoke memories when you review them a few months down the line.
Image by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.
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