top of page

Take Time to Smell the Roses

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying to “stop and smell the roses”. How many of us have even quoted it on occasion? But do we? Do we stop long enough to even ponder what that really means? I probably always pictured a slower meander through the garden, or if I stopped it would be more like smelling the roses just to tick another thing off the list… but it’s more than that. It’s actually stopping and appreciating.

I was prompted to ponder this on the weekend by my 2 year old grandson, who always stops to smell the flowers (takes me back to when my eldest was the same age and did the same thing). He feels no pressure, has no need to rush – so when he sees the flowers he doesn’t just rush by them as I’m inclined to do - perhaps vaguely noticing and appreciating them as I busy past. He stops… and he smells.

I’m a driven person – partly by nature, partly by habit. Even when life (or God) gives me the opportunity to stop and slow down, I tend to create a new project or pressure, or think about what I can “achieve” in that space. But this leaves me depleted; it leaves me frustrated, dissatisfied, pressured, rushed and tired . Always rushing just leads to stress and anxiety, and in the end the more you rush, the less effective you are anyway. God has so often said to me “Slow down. Stop striving. Just stop!” It’s a gift and I usually don’t take it, or I do… and I quickly toss it away.

Interestingly a study back in 2012 found that while appreciation and gratitude both seem to be strongly connected to happiness, appreciation is twice as significant as gratitude in determining overall satisfaction with life.

The study defined appreciation as distinct from gratitude (which we also know has positive health effects). Appreciation was defined as, “Acknowledging the value and meaning of something—an event, a behavior, an object—and feeling positive emotional connection to it.” While gratitude was defined as, “Positive emotion directed toward a benefactor in response to receiving a gift of some sort” (and considered to be only one aspect of appreciation). The study focused on eight aspects of appreciation including awe – or feeling a sense of connection to nature or life itself – and living in the present moment.

Current circumstances have created space in many of our schedules. What are you doing with that space? I encourage you to embrace it. Don’t just fill it, but take time to “smell the roses”, and intentionally make ‘smelling the roses’ a regular part of your life.

Stop and LISTEN to the birds sing; WATCH them flit about, or your chooks scratch around the garden. LISTEN to your children laugh. WATCH them play. FEEL the breeze or the sun on your face. TASTE what you are eating. SMELL… the roses, dinner, that freshly baked bread, the coffee… take time to APPRECIATE the meaningful things in your life.

You will be so much better for it.


Kennelly, S. 2012. A scientific reason to stop and smell the roses. Retrieved from:


bottom of page