Have you ever felt like life has you on a treadmill that is going faster and faster almost out of control? Has someone in your family recently lost their job? Are you struggling with family conflict? Or, are you a single-parent working harder and harder trying to make a difference in your child’s life? These are difficult issues that at times may involve weighty decisions. As your head swims in clouds of indecision, what can you do to keep your head above water? Perhaps you just need to stop and smell the roses.
“Stop and smell the roses” is an expression that means to physically and mentally slow down and stop in order to appreciate the smaller things in life that bring joy to your heart. Those “smaller things” are not inconsequential or valueless items. Many times the smaller things are what actually prompted you to make major decisions or to prioritize items in your life. Recalling things that help you touch base with life could be as simple as a baby’s smile or observing a breathtaking sunset.
There are many ways to smell your roses. Perhaps a day for yourself at the spa, a nature walk, or just sitting and going through old photo albums will stir your senses. To touch base with those roses in your life, you may want to take a break from your regular routine. For instance, a mother might be overwhelmed by her household duties by placing an unrealistic burden on herself and family by insisting on an immaculately clean home. However, when she takes time out of her routine to visit an old friend that recently has lost her child in a car accident, she sees things a little differently. Reflecting on her friend’s loss, or stopping to smell the roses, results in her realization that a clean home means nothing without a family to live in it. Her family, not the house, should always be the priority. Now the pressure of keeping a perfect home is no longer an issue. Although this is a fictional example, I think you get the point.
I am also a firm believer in walking to alleviate daily stress. A regular walking program can reduce your stress hormones, blood pressure, and overall mood. The best part of walking though is seeing up close the things you don’t see when driving. Walking is a great way to stop and smell the roses. While walking along a country path, I recently saw two deer, a groundhog, a black squirrel, three cows, and two horses. There was a certain tranquility amidst the thickets of green leaves and trees that daily life was missing. Stopping to smell the roses did not get rid of my problems. However, it has contributed to an inner calmness and a clearer focus on what really is important. If I can get that from walking, then I had better invest in a better pair of walking shoes.
So what about you? Will you stop to smell the roses too? I sure hope so. Jump off your treadmill into an exhilarating and refreshing experience—find and smell the roses meant for you today.