If asked what would make you happy right now, is your answer something big? A vacation at the beach, a job promotion, or a new purchase you’ve been wanting? Certainly, all of these things would probably bring you joy, but these are not pleasures that you can enjoy every day when there are many other responsibilities you must still meet.
Smaller, daily pleasures can seem insignificant in comparison. They are not usually rare or big, and do not result in days of happy memories. But learning to recognize the moments of joy you feel each day can start to transform your overall well being by pushing worries and wants to the background and replacing them with a more positive outlook.
Where to Find Small Pleasures
Instead of focusing on joy in your daily life, it is often easier to be preoccupied with events of the past, stressed about the future, and the things you wish you had in your life. Constant focus on these concerns can make them feel important enough that only a large or expensive source of pleasure can distract from them.
In reality, focusing on the simple pleasures in life can be far more effective in improving your mood and reducing the negative emotions and thoughts you experience. These small pleasures can be nearly anything you experience throughout the day, such as:
- Sensory Pleasures – Physical sensations are easy to recognize. A pretty or interesting sight, a good meal, exercise, a hot shower, and curling up in a cozy bed are all things you do each day. By living in the moment and embracing each sensation, these daily experiences can also spark joy.
- Socialization – Meeting up with friends is a significant pleasure, but there is also joy in the regular conversations with your family, the smile you exchange with your barista, in waving to a baby in a stroller, or in giving or receiving a compliment.
- Productivity – Checking an item off of your daily to-do list brings many people a rush. Take a moment after completing each of your daily tasks to enjoy a moment of accomplishment and hard work.
- Pursuing a Hobby – Reading, watching a favorite television show, doodling, cooking, putting on makeup, and so many other little tasks you enjoy are easy ways to find moments of joy throughout the day.
- Breaking Routine – If you are unable to find any sources of happiness in your current routine, make some small changes to help you see your entire day in a new way. Take a new route to work, make a point to speak with a coworker you rarely do, go on a walk, or schedule five minutes to practice mindfulness.
No matter what experiences and activities make you happiest throughout the day, their true effect happens when you acknowledge the spark of joy you get and take your time to savor them. As you identify more sources of simple pleasures, you can continue to increase the joy you experience until every day brings you satisfaction.