It is easy to take the place where you live for granted. I appreciate my hometown a lot more now than I ever did while living there. Normal often becomes mundane, but it doesn’t have to be.
My husband and I had visitor in town recently (her second visit this year). I was excited for her visit and wanted to try out a happiness tip from Gretchen Rubin which is to experience your city like a tourist.
When I travel, I try to take in everything. I force myself to take pictures. I force myself to actively look and experience the area. I close my eyes and take in the sounds. I watch people. O how I love to people watch. I become mindful, and I slow down.
So I tried to do all of those things in the comfort of my city, and it was amazing how many things I noticed that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I noticed tiny leaves in the shape of hearts growing through a fence row. I noticed art on the side of the restaurant that in my 3 visits had never noticed before. I heard tiny conversation in the midst of near silence. I watched the sunset over the city. I felt the warm, summer heat while sitting on the patio enjoying cocktails, wine, and conversation. I heard the absence of live music. Yep, I actually noticed the absence of music.
This tip definitely provides a happiness boost. Taking the time to focus on my surroundings intensified the experience. I felt like an explorer as I actively searched for the newness and that is the beauty of being a tourist in your own city.
Try this the next time you enjoying a night out. Heck, try this in your own neighborhood when you get home from work. A couple of weeks ago after a long, rough day at work, I was unpacking my car. I do this everyday. Normally I stay on task, but I saw my neighbor teaching his grandson how to ride his bike. Instead of gathering up my stuff and running inside,I took just a few seconds to close my eyes and listen to their laughter, smell the fresh flowers, and feel the suns warmth. Then, I smiled. Mindfulness at its best.
Have a hard time getting into the spirit or mindset? Try throwing off your senses. Put on noise cancelling headphones and force your eyes and nose to take over. Or close your eyes and let your nose and ears do the work. Or do my personal favorite and set a totally different soundtrack to what is going on around you by putting on headphones and listening to music. Listening to the La La Land soundtrack while grocery shopping definitely enhanced my local Kroger dramatically.
Your overworked brain will appreciate a few extra moments of happiness(or at least mine does).