1. Slow down and breathe.Stopping to smell the roses is a way to listen to your senses that we just don't do as often as we used to, thanks to the ever-stimulating but also numbing internet. When was the last time you looked at a tree and noticed what shade of brown or gray its bark was? If you try taking everything in at once, you'll find yourself skimming and skipping around, not getting a deep appreciation for anything. To force yourself to slow down, begin by focusing on your breath. Sit down and breathe slowly through your nose and mouth, and think only about this process. Notice what it feels like to pull air in and fill your lungs. Whenever your thoughts move away, bring them back to your breath. This calming meditation technique will improve your attention and allow you to focus more deeply on one detail at a time.
2. Look for details.Sometimes it's up to you to decide what you want to notice. Our brains are bombarded with so many details every day that they can't possibly store it all. So it's up to you to pick and choose where to direct your attention. Yesterday evening I was riding the subway in the mechanical, unaware way I often do, and suddenly I wondered what kinds of shoes the other passengers were wearing. They were all in plain sight, but I had never thought to wonder before. I looked down and counted the sneakers and the flats and the boots and the sandals. I studied the trends until I felt sure I would remember what shoes were being worn. It's that kind of detail that can make a written piece feel richer and more engaging.