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Micro-chilling and finding Delight

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

I am in search of beauty daily.

Large granite rack with purple flowers blooming in the backgrounf.
A nice large rock in my yard--a good place to sit!

Or the quirky. Or surprising. Or heartwarming. I was inspired by poet Ross Gay and his Book of Delights. He wrote an "essayette" daily from one birthday to the next about experiences of delight. I highly recommend the book. For me this looking for daily delight has been a game-changer. Like Ross Gay, I don't seek delight to mask over any of the unpleasantness of real life. Rather, I seek it out to remind me that it is always there. And the more I seek, the more I find!

This practice has developed over the past few years into a lovely way to become more aware of my surroundings, my interactions, my emotions and my wellbeing. Perhaps it is little dopamine hits--I am not sure, since I am not a scientist, but it seems that finding delight does improve my outlook, my mindset, and my days.

Finding delight is a compounding process. In addition to finding more of it when I am paying attention, feeling delighted builds upon itself. When I feel better about the moment, I tend to feel better about the whole day. Delights can be everything from how a blossom is unfolding on the tree at the corner during my walk, or the heat of the brick wall in the late afternoon when I stand up from the garden bed, or the sound of my husband laughing at something in a podcast (I delight in other people delighting, too)!

Usually finding something delightful just happens when it happens. But one way to increase your likelihood of experiencing delight, should you wish to try this as well, is to practice micro-chilling. I read about this concept in a great article about mindful practices ("Burnt Out on Burnout: How to Cultivate a New Outlook on Stress in 2022" Vogue, Jan 7, 2022). Lauren Valenti, the author, coined the term micro-chill to mean any small moment when you intentionally step away from what you are doing and try to experience something from one of your senses.

Last week, I had 15 minutes before I was set to be in a coaching session and I went outside in the late afternoon sun to sit on a big rock in my front yard. We intentionally put the rocks there as part of low-water landscaping and, for me, as a reminder of the large rocks I used to play on at my grandparents place who lived out in the Southern California desert. As I sat on that rock for a minute, I had the desire to feel the rock with my bare feet. So I took off my shoes and gripped that rock with my toes--that was a micro-chilling moment! And as quickly as it had begun it ended as I needed to get back inside for coaching. But that brief encounter with sun and stone re-energized me for the rest of the day.

I encourage you to take some small steps today to chill and delight. I often post delights on my social--follow me @appletoncoaching on Instagram or Facebook.

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