Simple Pleasures In Life – How To Be Grateful

“Enjoying all pleasures is foolish; avoid them, insensitive.” This famous quote from Plutarch, one of the most famous Greek essayists, can perfectly summarize how we feel on many occasions in the search for happiness. And it is that many of us think that we can only find it through love, money or material property.

However, we are often unaware that happiness is something that depends only on ourselves, and that there is no need to complicate life in order to be a little happier. We are normally so focused on the big things in life that we completely forget to look at the little things that nourish our body and mind. True happiness isn’t in the great achievements that everyone boasts about, but in the simple but great pleasures that life gives us, that is always there for smile at any time and place.

So instead of looking for temporary euphoria, I rather enjoy a deep sense of well-being that stays with me in good times and bad. Nowadays it is more important than ever to be proactive in creating and appreciating these small moments of happiness. Here are some tips, so you can enjoy them better.

 

simple-pleasures

 

 

1. Notice The Small Moments

Cherish the little moments in life that would otherwise pass you by, especially in times of crisis. It can help to slow down to think about it more consciously.

If you pay attention to the small, everyday things that don’t seem to mean much, such as doing the dishes together after dinner or slipping into a bed with freshly washed sheets, you open yourself up to the happiness that those little things can give you.

Here are some little moments I enjoy:

– Waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning with my partner by my side and enjoying a brunch together.

– Enjoying the smell of freshly ground coffee beans.

– Hearing one of my favorite sing-a-long songs on the radio while driving my car: “Had to have high, high hopes for a living. Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing. Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision. Always had high, high hopes” 😉

– Getting a nice compliment from one of my colleagues.

– That moment when our cats welcome me home and come to cuddle me.

– Lying on the terrace in our backyard, enjoying the sun with a glass of rosé and a good book.

– Taking a breath of fresh air at the beach.

 

slow-down

 

 

2. Be Kind To Others AND Yourself

Neuroscientists have discovered that a friendly and compassionate act has a beneficial effect on the pleasure and reward centers in the brain. But actually, we don’t need a brain scan to know that when you help others, you feel good. If you are kind to family, friends or even perfect strangers, opportunities open up for you to deepen meaningful connections and make new friends. Every day you see heart-warming initiatives from people to help neighbors and strangers, while doctors and nurses risk everything to care for the sick. It’s important to see how much good is happening around you these days.

Being nice to others makes you feel good, but being nice to yourself is just as important. Treat yourself the way you would treat a dear friend. Make a nice cup of tea, don’t judge yourself too harshly, make some time for yourself, spoil yourself, embrace your imperfections and love yourself with all your heart.

 

 

3. Express Your Gratitude

The golden tip to enjoy the little things more is to be thankful. If you are thankful, you see that it is not self-evident to have a roof over your head, feel healthy and start the day with a nice breakfast. Small things become more special because of this. Train your thankfulness muscle by writing down three things you are thankful for everyday.

If you regularly put into words what you are grateful for in your life, you will feel much happier. Gratitude has a proven positive effect on our physical and mental well-being. It increases the amount of happiness hormones in our brains, reduces stress levels and improves your sleep.

Spend at least two minutes every day on the things you are grateful for. Write all those things down in a special diary. If you want to learn more about the reasons for keeping a diary, read one of my previous posts.

 

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4. Strenghten Your Relationships

Don’t forget that staying at home in a lock down, together with your loved ones, also has its advantages during this crisis. Think of it as quality time for you together, plan a video conversation with friends, play games and just be there in your relationships with others.

And remember: positive interactions and conversations boost your oxytocin level, or the hormone that makes you feel good, so the stress you experience will disappear. Likewise, it will help your monkey mind to calm down.

 

 

5. Find Inspiration In Books And Movies

To delve into gratitude and the little pleasures of life, stories (whether written or filmed) can appeal to your imagination.

I’ll give you my personal top 3 for each of them.

BOOKS

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Haemin Sunim

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Spiritual Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny by Robin Sharma

14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer

 

MOVIES

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)

The Pursuit of Happiness by Gabriele Muccino (2006)

The Bucket List by Rob Reiner (2007)

 

gold-little things

 

I hope this post has made you reflect on the little things in your life.

Apply a little of that Latin saying that says “Carpe Diem” so that we can enjoy the little moments and simple pleasures in their maximum brilliance.

I’m curious about your favorite books and movies on this theme! Let me know more about it through the comment section below.

With love ❤,

Catherine.

7 Comments

  1. Absolutely on all points!
    Compliments from a colleague. How nice is that. I have been trying to do this a lot more. I work with a lot of physicians who will offer compliments. So I thought “How often are they getting compliments?” I think sometimes we (me anyway) tend to not offer someone a compliment if they are in a higher ranking position than myself. So I have been trying to offer more compliments to them as of late.
    Speaking of video conversations, funny story. When the lock-down first began my sister had a skype party. They were all in their own homes but were skyping. The funny part is she actually got really drunk. Ha ha. I thought that was really funny.
    It’s the little things in life that matter so much. I couldn’t agree more.
    Great post with great reminders.

  2. Andrey

    Dear Catherine.
    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to take towards love and happiness. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,
    Andrey

  3. I loved this detailed post on how to find happiness in moments and be grateful. I found it highly inspirational. Yes, we all know some of these ideas but applying to in a daily life is the other. Because it’s our monkey mind that does not allow it for us to do consistently. But even if we can do one or 2 of these a day its a progress. I tend to keep a note pad with me. So, as something happens and I am grateful for it I tend to write it down and rewinding the feelings and emotions as I do it. This is a true game changer. I have manifested quite a few things this way.

    I wish you all the success and happiness.

  4. Beautiful! I love this post. Just reading through it is calming. These are all such good reminders especially at this time in our lives and the state our world is in. We can’t take everything on. It’s too much. And as difficult as it is, there is always so much to be grateful for, little pleasures.

  5. Hi Catherine,
    Nicely done, and thanks for the informative post on reasons to bethankful. Also those are amazing tips especially to be kind to others and to express gratitude.
    Look reading your post and I hope everyone read this to help with this pandemic.
    Thanks.

  6. Hello Catherine,
    I enjoyed reading your article. You are so right, most of us are always in a rush, having huge plans and ambitions, like nothing else matters. And the truth is, as you said, that we should be more aware, more present, finding beauty and joy in little thing, relationships, friendships and so on. It’s what really matters.
    Thank you for this great article and yes, I’ll say it, reminder!

  7. Hi Catherine. What an amazing article. I suffered depression a few years ago and you are dead right in what you say. Thinking of those lovely day to day things we take for granted and appreciating them can make all the difference.

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