To appreciate what is already in our lives, rather than chasing after whatever we believe will make us happy in the future, creates happiness in the present moment. This liberating experience forms a foundation stone of mindfulness and can easily be enjoyed whatever age we are, and wherever life takes us.
Appreciating Windowsills, now released as an App for iPhone and for Android, is a simple game to help you feel more connected to aspects of life that are often taken for granted, therefore helping you to feel safer, happier, calmer and more secure.
• Instantly create happy thoughts in the present moment
• Play solo to break negative or anxious thought patterns
• Play with others to inspire positive, uplifting conversations
Practising gratitude and appreciation has been scientifically proven to make us less anxious, more resilient and happier with what we already have, whatever cards life deals us. The result? You relax and enjoy life more!
HOW TO PLAY APPRECIATING WINDOWSILLS
The App will automatically deal your first appreciation card.
1. Whilst waiting for it to load, take 3 slow mindful breaths.
2. When the word appears, think: what do I appreciate about this, and why?
3. If you like a challenge, can you think of up to 3 things to appreciate about it?
The aim is just to think of things that make you smile.
You can play one card a day, or deal yourself a new one whenever you want to divert yourself into calmer, happier thought patterns.
There are no right or wrong answers, as words can mean different things to different people, and some words can be interpreted in more than one way.
Perhaps you’d like to play the game with people around you. It’s interesting to discover how others view the world, and good to connect with them through positive conversations.
APPRECIATING WINDOWSILLS : THE BACK STORY
Appreciating Windowsills was something that I designed for myself, to help me cope after I was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I felt as though my whole life had been knocked out from under me. I was totally unable to control what was happening to my body, and the pain meant that I often couldn’t think straight. I was frightened about what the future might hold for me, and sometimes haunted by traumatic memories of my past.
So I started to focus on everything that I appreciated in life, in order to find some solid stepping stones of happiness in the midst of all the madness. This began with the obvious connections, like family and friends who reached out in so many vital ways to pull me through.
However it was the small acts of kindness by strangers that initially inspired some of the words that appear in the game. Many of these wonderful people were the health professionals who stepped out of their official roles to connect with me as another human being, who held me whilst I cried, talked to me through the darkest moments, made me laugh, and kept my breakfast warm for me on days when everything else seemed to be falling apart.
Coming home, I was traumatised and disorientated. I found that making a game out of appreciation helped me to reconnect with the details of life that we normally take for granted. It helped me to focus on the positive experiences of cancer instead of dwelling on the distressing aspects of what had happened.
It even helped to reduce my perceptions of pain and build my confidence, as I became anxious about what I might or might not be able to do each day.
I continue to use this strategy to lift my spirits and make me feel lighter yet more secure, and I hope that it can help you too.
Gratitude and appreciation are also a wonderful step into mindfulness, and an example of “watering the seeds of happiness” as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh would encourage us to do. To interrupt our normally incessant stream of habitual thoughts and connect with what we sense around us in the present moment is a wonderful, joyful habit.
Appreciation can liberate us from dwelling amidst memories from the past or on worries about the future, and enable us to experience moments of happiness in the midst of what could be the darkest days of our lives.
Gratitude also deepens our enjoyment of the most wonderful days, as we pause to become truly present to the happiness that overflows from our senses on such occasions.
Appreciation even enables us to think and act differently, as it breaks our habitual and sometimes negative thought patterns, thereby creating space in which insight and inspiration can light up new pathways of responses that we can then choose to adopt.
To wish that things were different takes a lot of energy, and so to accept the things that really cannot be changed and to focus on appreciating and connecting with life despite them can be a very empowering and reassuring experience.
I wish you countless moments of happiness.
Founder & Director of Soul Nutrition
To join in the conversation on social media, please use the hashtag #AppreciatingWindowsills
Let me know if you think of new ways to play! [email protected]ition.org