A Practice for Awakening the Heart

7 most underrated things we don’t appreciate enough

To live in the present is to appreciate the simple joys of life and seek happiness from them.

In Tahitian Choreographies, author Vicki Corona wrote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Often, these breathtaking moments remain unrecognised, or even unappreciated. In search of something big, we sometimes lose out on such underrated things of life. If only, we would pause and appreciate these moments, we’d create more value in our lives.

When we are busy wondering what the future holds, or lamenting over the past, we become blind to the present where true happiness lies. As Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart: “Life is available only in the present.” To live in the present is to hold on to the little moments that pass us by now and then; it is to appreciate the underrated joys of life that go unnoticed, more often than not.

Here’s a list of the seven most underrated things that could make your life more joyful.

Waking up minutes before the alarm goes off

Waking up on time and starting the day early is a common struggle. The moment the alarm goes off, your first instinct is to hit the snooze button and grab every minute of sleep that you can get. But then come those rare mornings when we wake up just a few minutes before the alarm goes off. It is one of those triumphant moments that leaves a broad, confident smile on your face. What better way to start your day than this?

Getting appreciated for a job well done

Who doesn’t like a pat on the back for a job well done? When someone appreciates and values what you do all the hard work and perseverance pay off. A sense of confidence surges within and nothing seems impossible anymore. All the self-doubt and inhibition are transformed into conviction. This confidence sometimes wears off as the day passes and you get busy with other responsibilities. Remind yourself of the joy that these little underrated things bring you. This pleasant feeling stays with you, helping you overcome the challenges you face.

Finishing a task on time

Time management is something we all struggle with. As a result, often, we cannot finish a task on time, whether it’s a chore at home or a project at work. The reason for inefficient time management could be many—poor planning, wrong time allocation, or simple carelessness. And once you are behind one task, it affects the others on the list as well. It happens to all of us. But there are also days when you finish a task on time, and one after the other, you check off everything on your to-do list. The icing on the cake is when you end your day just in time, while others are still trying to catch up. It feels great, doesn’t it? Only if every day could be like this.

Finishing a book

A book can be anything—a therapist, a pastime, a vent for your erratic thoughts, or a platform to enrich your vocabulary. But mostly, it’s an experience that takes you on a journey, far away from your responsibilities and problems. And when this experience comes to an end, it leaves you euphoric. This being said, how often do you complete a book? Our responsibilities at work and social obligations keep us occupied, leaving less time for our books.

Make a conscious effort to pick up the book and lose yourself in it again. And if you need a sound reason to do so, remember the words of author Dr. Suess: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Getting your favourite dish right

We all have spent hours watching MasterChef or those “easy” to cook videos on YouTube to learn a recipe or hone our culinary skills. But when we do enter the kitchen to attempt those dishes, all we successfully make is a mess! Then comes that one attempt when we get the dish just right and surprise even ourselves with its taste and texture. This is one of the underrated things we don’t bask in too often.

A walk with a friend

In our busy and chaotic lives, nothing beats taking a walk with a friend after a long day at work. It relieves your stress, clears your head, allows you to catch up with your friend, brings you joy, and according to a study, it lifts your mood too. Despite its long list of benefits, however, seldom we make time for a walk with a friend.

After putting our mind and body through gruelling hours at work, a walk can be the highlight of your day. And if you have a friend to accompany you, it can become more joyful and comforting. All you need to do is make a plan to go for a walk daily and stick to it.

A smile exchanged with a stranger

In our world, time is of the essence. We cannot afford to stop chasing our responsibilities, taking care of our loved ones, and providing for our families. Even when we are not working, our mind never stops churning thoughts, for something that has already happen or never will. When so much is going on in life, little room is left for underrated things like saying hello to a stranger.

On rare occasions, when we are waiting for a Metro, standing in a queue, or sitting at an airport lounge we exchange a smile or a hello with a stranger. More often than not, it happens unconsciously, on its own. But it feels good, and its memory stays with us for a long time. So why not do this more often?


What are some of the most underrated things in life that we should appreciate more?

Some of the most underrated things in life that we should appreciate more include waking up minutes before the alarm goes off, getting appreciated for a job well done, finishing a task on time, finishing a book, getting your favourite dish right, taking a walk with a friend, and exchanging a smile with a stranger.

How does living in the present and appreciating these underrated things contribute to a more joyful life?

Living in the present and appreciating these underrated things allows us to find happiness in the simple joys of life. By recognizing and cherishing these moments, we can create more value in our lives and experience a sense of joy and contentment.

Why is exchanging a smile with a stranger considered an underrated joy in life?

In our busy lives, we often overlook simple acts of kindness like exchanging a smile with a stranger. However, this small gesture can create a positive and memorable experience for both individuals involved, promoting a sense of connection and happiness.


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