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Why You Want to Sweat the Small Stuff

sweat the small stuffEvery day in my inbox I get a Daily Now Moment (DNM) that gives me something short enough to tweak my brain toward the present moment and to what actually matters. Here’s one that I received recently that I want to expand on:

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

What are those little things you can be on the lookout for today? A hug, a smile, the functionality of your body?

Sometimes it’s good to sweat the small stuff.

You may know by now, or maybe it’s news, that your brain makes thousands of decisions a day beneath your awareness about what’s good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, important or unimportant, urgent or non-urgent. In The Now Effect, I borrowed Malcolm Gladwell’s terms “snap judgment” and “rapid cognition” to name this process.

A times fortunately and unfortunately, we’re not wired to look for the little good things in life.  Even though they don’t have to do with our immediate survival, they have a lot to do with our happiness. There’s a way to influence this rapid cognition to make it healthier and guide it to focus more on what matters.

As you’re reading this, allow this to be a Now Moment where you are reflecting on your life and getting a sense of the little things that you might usually pass over and not attend to that bring meaning.

It may be the way you wake up in the morning, or even in small moments in the shower where you could be appreciative of your senses. Or the way you greet your family when everyone wakes up or that cup of coffee or tea that could be appreciated more. It may be in the way you interact with strangers where a smile could go a long way. Or on the drive back from work, rushing home to relax, frustrated with the traffic when you realize you can’t control the traffic and have a choice to settle down, listen to some music and breathe.

Or in the moments you’re tired and stressed putting your kids to bed, and recognize how fast they grow up, dipping into the preciousness of this time.

There are so many little things can help us spiral upwards. I was on a plane recently and met a young man next to me who shared with me that just a few years ago he had three close friends who died around the same time. In those few years, through contacting his grief, he came to an important insight for himself, that happiness is a choice. This reminded me of a sign that I often share with others, here it is below.

Allow this be another Now Moment to set the intention to spend more of your attention focusing on the big and little things that you have in life, instead of focusing on what you don’t have. You might also focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t do.

What would the days, weeks and months ahead look like if we were all able to do this more often?

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Woman in the shower photo available from Shutterstock

Why You Want to Sweat the Small Stuff

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2012). Why You Want to Sweat the Small Stuff. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Aug 2012
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