“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.
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.
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.
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.
– 14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer
– 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)
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 ❤,