One of the things I've really worked on in the last few years is learning to notice inconsequential details more and more. At first, it was to improve my photography, to help me find simpler, more interesting compositions. It has since turned into part mindfulness practice part mental health coping technique.
As a mindfulness practice, it can help me focus in on the present moment and cultivate more calm.
As a mental health practice, it can help me get outside of whatever issue I'm currently consumed by check myself back into reality, get out of my own head, and refocus my energy.
Today's example of this was in the snow while walking dogs. I've been pretty anxious all day, and I'm not entirely sure why. I got a lot of cleaning done in my house, so that's a bonus, but I was still stressed out. When we went out to walk dogs we decided to walk on the lake instead of the trails, since the lake is flat and even, and the trails are up and down and super icy and treacherous lately.
Something about the weather has had an interesting effect on the snow in the last day or two. It is very granular right now, and not stuck together much. What I noticed was that when I kicked it as I walked, it made a really interesting noise, different than anything I'd heard before. it was almost like kicking sand, or tiny pebbles, the strange swishing noise it made as it fell. Right away my brain locked on to that and I spent most of the walk just kicking the snow and focusing on listening to the sound it made. I loved it so much that when my mom got home I went for a second walk to the same spot just so she could hear it too.
Focusing on that sound for so long, we walked over half the length of the lake the first time, got me out of my head, got my mind away from obsessing about the anxiety, and helped me regain a sense of calm. I'm still anxious now, but significantly less so than earlier today. And I'm still grinning about the sound that snow made. I did record some video on my phone, I don't know if it captured the sound well, but here they are, anyway.