What does it mean to take time to smell the roses?

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“Stop and smell the roses” is an idiom that means to relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. Whether you think of “stopping to smell the roses” as a metaphor, or an actual act of admiring roses, the benefit is the same. Slow down and appreciate the world surrounding you is the message.

Origins of the phrase are not clear. Although the quote, “Stop and smell the roses,” is often attributed to golfer Walter Hagen in the 1956 book “The Walter Hagen Story” but he didn’t mention roses. The quote: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Some people argue that this passage was soon paraphrased as stop and smell the roses, but this can’t be easily verified.

While this expression refers to roses, it can be anything rather small or even commonplace. These things may seem small but they can give us great joy.  The difference in well-being, happiness, sense of elevation, and level of connectedness to other people, can be significantly higher for those who spend time noticing and savouring these moments of clarity and relaxation.

The expression “stop and smell the roses” is not just about flowers or nature, but an encouragement to be mindful, take time for your self and live life with deeper gratefulness for the world around us. It is a reminder to us all to slow down and take notice of the world around us, and to be present in every moment.  It means consciously directing your mind to be aware and attentive to the present moment to be able to experience and enjoy more your surroundings.