Life can be pretty demanding at times, and many of us face a busy daily schedule. It can be easy to forget to step back, breathe, and appreciate finding the simple joys in life.
Many of us are guilty of getting caught in the ‘rat race’ and chasing an endless list of goals. We tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than being grateful for what we do have. Today’s modern world means many of us have our heads buried in our phone or devices all day. We become so distracted by this; we rarely notice the beauty and happiness of the small things in our own lives.
Research shows 90% of people who adopt a simpler lifestyle are happier and healthier.
Here are some ways to appreciate the simple joys in life and cherish everyday pleasures:
Take a Digital Detox
Focus on your real-life social interactions by taking a break from all your devices. Taking a digital detox can reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
Spend Time with Family
Spending time with our family can improve our relationships, well-being, and mood. Let your loved ones know how much you value them by dedicating some time out of your schedule, which is wholly devoted to them. Ensure you have at least one meal a week together sitting around a table, free of any distractions.
Watch a Sunrise or Sunset
Studies show that watching a sunset or sunrise gives you a sense of gratitude for the beauty of nature. This can be a romantic activity to do with your partner. Alternatively, it can be a fun and fulfilling way to start or end your day with a group of friends.
Spend Time with Animals
Spending time with animals has been proven to affect our mental well-being positively. Quality time spent with our pets can bring us an immediate sense of joy and pure, unconditional love. Stroking your pet has even been shown to lower your heart rate. If you don’t have a pet, you could offer to look after a friend’s pet or even volunteer at a local animal shelter.
Reading an enjoyable book can be the ultimate form of escapism. Let your imagination run wild and switch off from any external distractions. Reading can lower blood pressure and prevent cognitive decline as we age.
Baking Something Fun
Baking can be a genuinely gratifying way to spend an afternoon! It involves simple, repetitive actions, which in turn can have a relaxing effect. Baking is a fun and creative way to spend time with your partner, friends or family. A sweet and simple dessert at the end is a bonus too! It’s the perfect at home date to do with your partner!
Or try this fun dessert date together.
Spend Time with Children or Babies
Children are the epitome of appreciating the simple joys in life. Children can be entertained for hours with something as everyday as a pile of leaves or a cardboard box! Take a leaf out of their book, and immerse yourself in their world. There is something very wholesome and nostalgic about spending time with infants, and it’s sure to improve your mood. Spending time with children is also hugely beneficial for their development.
Meditation involves switching off from outside distractions and truly being present in the moment. Meditation can help you manage stress, gain a new perspective and increase your self-awareness. If you are new to meditation, there are plenty of free resources available via YouTube or various mobile apps. You can start with a session of only a couple of minutes and work your way up to longer meditations.
Write a ‘Gratitude’ Journal
Writing a journal can be incredibly therapeutic. At the end of each take some time to reflect, and write down three things you are grateful for and three things which went well. Re-reading your gratitude journal is also a help on days when you feel low and need a ‘pick-me-up’.
Spend Time Outdoors
Re-connecting with nature is one of the top ways to find the simple joys in life. Take a walk at one of your favourite spots at least once a week. During your time outdoors, take a moment to appreciate the beauty in your surroundings. Take a couple of deep breaths and focus on the smells and sights all-around you. Time outside improves health and happiness, and it’s completely free! Try these outdoor date ideas with your partner!
Cleaning & Chores
You might not associate completing a chore with increased gratitude and happiness, but it can be really rewarding. Completing repetitive, simple tasks is often a relaxing and gratifying process. Cleaning has even been shown to reduce anxiety. It is much easier to relax in a clean and tidy environment. Prioritise changing your bed sheets at least once a week. Getting into a bed with fresh sheets often tops people’s lists of simple pleasures in life! This will also improve the quality of your sleep.
Put on your favorite playlist and have a dance or sing-a-long! Listening to familiar songs can give a sense of comfort and improve your mood.
Kindness is contagious. Being compassionate to others will make them feel better and give you a ‘warm, fuzzy’ feeling! Give someone an unexpected compliment, make a donation to charity or complete a good deed no-one will ever know about.
Exercise releases endorphins giving you a ‘rush’ of happiness. It has endless benefits for both our mental and physical well-being. Keeping active can be combined with other ways of finding simple pleasures, like spending time outdoors or with our families.
Affirmations are the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment. Your affirmations are positive statements about yourself and your life, which are designed to eliminate negative thinking. Compile a list of statements that are meaningful to you, and reflect about things you are grateful for. These could include affirmations such as ‘I am loved’ or ‘I can do whatever I set my mind to’. Say them out loud several times a time. You may feel a little silly at first, but research shows that positive thinking can be very powerful. Affirmations can improve your self-esteem, outlook and even your performance.
Practice finding the simple joys in life every day. Find a new one each day and stop and actually enjoy it! Life moves way too fast, so it’s time to start taking things slow, and really living in the moment.