Casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and sporting a Washington Nationals ball cap, Joshua Bell pulled out his 18th century violin, crafted by Antonio Stradivari, and artfully began playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Chaconne” amid the morning rush hour at L’Enfant Plaza. Three days prior, Boston’s Symphony Hall was filled with people excited to see the internationally renowned violinist, but on this cold winter day in January, at a busy metro stop in the heart of Washington DC, most adults hurried on to work, shuffling along their children that dawdled to listen to one of the most beautiful masterpieces ever written.
As the Joshua Bell social experiment demonstrated, it is easy to get lost in the haze of our numerous responsibilities and long to-do lists. Here are three ways to help you intentionally focus on the beauty in your life and make 2017 a year to remember.
01. Snap a Picture
Pausing to take a picture will prompt you to spend an extra few moments taking in the beauty that you may miss in the rush between work, school, and other commitments. A picture can help you to see beyond the seemingly ordinary co-op garden you pass on your way to work, the sunset lighting up the sky a stunning orange-red, or the breathtaking mural on the side of a restaurant near where you live and appreciate the natural beauty and inspiration all around you.
02. Journal 5 Minutes a Day
Incorporating some reflection time into your daily routine can help to reduce the overwhelming feeling of busyness and enable you to see the beauty of everyday moments. As studies have demonstrated, having a grateful outlook by consciously focusing on the positive aspects of life can have emotional and physiological benefits. With the expression of gratitude so strongly linked to well-being and happiness, why not spend a few minutes a day reflecting? Whether you prefer using a Word doc you can save on your computer, an app that you can pull up anytime on your phone, or a good old-fashioned hardcover journal, there are a variety of resources tailored to fit your needs and purposes.
03. Create Inspiring Artwork
Instead of throwing away those old concert tickets from your favorite band or filing away a thoughtful note from a friend, display them as inspiring artwork! A scrapbook, collage, or framed photograph can serve as a valuable visualization tool. Like a song that instantly takes you back to a specific memory, a visual representation brings your accomplishments, interests, and travels to life—serving as a daily reminder of the best moments of the year and the family members and friends with whom you shared these moments.