I'm naturally nosy - or inquisitive - as I prefer to think of it. I like to know what's going on. I'm one of those people who, at best, will sneak a glance in the windows of other people's homes as I walk by, or at worst will actually approach a stranger in the street to ask them where they bought the shoes/trousers/jumper they are wearing! I will also look around houses online - when it is for sale of course! I will chat with almost anyone and as a result tend to come away from the supermarket checkout, salon or bank knowing the family history of the person who served me.
My nosy-ness resulted in me having a nickname for the three years of my university degree - I was known fondly as "Trunkie" (thank you Daryl Waller!). But I see this curiosity of other people, their homes, wardrobes, family life...an important part of who I am. I have a fascination with how people tick and what makes their world go round. But I am also a details person - noticing the small nuances of what is around me. I will remember what people look like long after I have forgotten their names, I can recall places vividly; sounds, tastes, touch and smells can transport me back in time.
So, this morning, I was pegging clothes out on the line - I love doing this on a warm spring morning. There's a huge sense of satisfaction in knowing that the sun will dry, the wind will freshen and the air will scent four loads of washing, without a tumble dryer in sight. But this morning, for the first time I noticed something. As I attached each piece of clothing, the sun shone through and hit the fabric, making a veil of steam rise up into the air. Even my son commented "Wow mum, look at that!" This simple moment captured our attention and we marvelled at something new, for a few seconds we experienced wonder.
There is real power in noticing. A therapist once advised me to use noticing as a way of shifting my thinking out of an anxious state. It does literally give your brain a break. But how often do we stop to notice? When I used to commute to work, I travelled by train. Another favourite pastime of mine, along with people watching, is staring out of the window as the train moved through the valley, past villages, and towns. My eyes would trace the landscape and along with the click-clack of the tracks, I would find it very relaxing (so much so, I would usually fall asleep!).
The speed at which our modern life travels leaves very little room for us to stop and smell the roses. How often do you notice the small things, the details? Do you catch the smile of the person who serves you your morning take away coffee? Do you hear the sound of chatter coming from across the street? What about the sensations of air/rain/sun on your face? Even the pen in your hand as you write, or the texture and feel of the chair you are sat in? Simple things can make a big difference and I know that in taking notice of these, it can bring relief to a busy mind. And I love how noticing is free, requires no special kit or training. Anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere - it is available to all.
Being in the present moment is one of the five keys to mental wellbeing, and I choose to think of noticing in this way. Intentionally focussing on something in the here and now is at the heart of what I do with my writing, coaching and programs. I think being inherently inquisitive allows me to be better as both a writer and coach - bringing to light those things that may go unnoticed, questioning why things are the way they are and having a real passion for people.
Because I believe in the importance of giving our frazzled minds more breathing space, I have created a program online called Hello You, 2022! that is self-led and is all about seeing yourself through the lens of nature, creativity and others; encouraging you to take time, be present, to stop and smell all the roses! You can find the link to this under the Programs tab on my website. I am also going to release a specific course on the senses and how they can be used to reduce stress and manage overwhelm - watch this space.
In the meantime, I'd love you to start noticing - the simple, mini details of life. Enjoy them, savour the thoughts and feelings they bring, and give your brain a well deserved rest - if only for a moment. Please share this with others who may also benefit from permission to be nosy!
Image via Unsplash