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40 Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Your Day

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

I believe life is in the details. Ongoing small gestures can mean so much more than one grand display of love. Simple pleasures throughout the day can be far more gratifying that one amazing weekend. When you connect the dots between all these little joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying.

I’ve created a list of all the little things that fill me with bliss. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Breakfast in bed. You don’t need someone to bring it to you—just make it and then curl back up with your duvet!

2. Cuddling in bed in the morning. A body pillow isn’t quite the same as someone you love, but sometimes it just feels good to hold something in your arms.

3. A smile from a stranger; give one and you may get one.

4. Children playing, reminding you to be joyful. Pass the park on the way home.

5. A small gesture of kindness from someone who loves you. The remote control your husband handed over—now that’s love.

6. Your music, when you want it. Pull out your iPod and enjoy.

7. An outdoor lunch. Nothing invigorates a day like the feeling of sunlight on your face.

8. Five minutes of deep breathing.

9. An embrace that lasts just a little longer than usual. Give someone a long hug today!

10. A small victory. Can you fix that leaky faucet on your own?

11. A small change to your routine to make your day feel exciting.

12. An opportunity to be creative. Don’t wait for one—make one. Start a journal or a scrapbook, or get creative a routine task at work to make it more exciting.

13. A snack or beverage you savor. You know how that girl in the commercial seems to get way too much pleasure from a foamy latte she made at home? That girl could be you.

14. The moment after the rain stops. Everything smells clean, fresh, and revitalized.

15. A deep stretch. The benefits of loosening your muscles exceed enhanced relaxation. Check out Nursing Degree’s 77 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga for a little food for thought.

16. A beautiful sunset or sunrise. Nothing is more inspirational that tuning into nature’s majesty.

17. Playing a game you loved as a child. Pull out Candyland and tap into the simplicity of childhood.

18. An extra half-hour of sleep. Hit the sack a little earlier one night and see how this changes your day.

19. A spa-like shower experience. Remember that commercial reference I made before? You too can get way too excited washing your hair with Herbal Essences shampoo.

20. A thoughtful question from a friend. When she asks, “What’s your favorite childhood memory?” she’s trying to learn what makes you happy. How beautiful that she cares to know.

21. Fresh, organic food. Organic food has higher nutrient levels and lower pesticide residues—and it often tastes better than non-organic food.

22. A 5-minute massage. Ask your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend to trade. Or if you’re single, get a spa pedicure in one of those amazing massage chairs.

23. A long phone conversation, like you used to have in junior high. Curl up with your cell, call a dear friend, and start reminiscing.

24. 10 minutes with an animal. Petting an animal is actually quite meditative. If you don’t have a pet, head to your local dog park and make a new furry friend.

25. An extra dollar in your pocket. Bring lunch from home and put your usual lunch money aside for a rainy day.

26. Finding money you didn’t know you had. Leave a ten in your coat pocket and then forget about it. Future you will be pretty psyched.

27. Receiving a hand-written letter. Become a pen pal—even if it’s to someone you know in person—so you can both give and receive non-e-communication.

28. A sweater straight from the dryer on a cold day. If you can push a button, this simple pleasure can be yours at any time.

29. A smell that evokes a visceral reaction. Does lemon pie make you think of your grandmother? Head over to the bakery and lurk.

30. Something so funny it makes you laugh out loud…not in LOL form.

31. Feeling someone take your hand in theirs. There’s something blissfully intimate and meaningful about holding hands. Reach out and touch someone. (Cue the music.)

32. A book you’ve been dying to read. Amazon’s calling your name.

33. Watching your child learn from watching you. It’s touching how she looks at you for cues on who to be.

34. An itch you can actually reach. I adore my wooden back scratcher.

35. A new recipe that comes out perfectly. Ask your friend for one of her favorites.

36. A home remedy that works better than the store-bought solution.

37. The feeling of sand between your toes. If you live near a beach, set aside some time to walk it.

38. Flowers you didn’t expect. OK, you can’t really make this one happen. But you can “surprise” yourself with a bouquet whenever you want.

39. A small gesture of support. A hand on your lower back. A tight squeeze of your hand before you get up for your speech. Four simple words: “I believe in you.” Minor actions, huge impact.

40. Extending a small courtesy and watching the effect. Hold the door for someone or thank them for something most people wouldn’t notice.

The list can go on and on. Have anything to add?


Note: This post was originally published on January 15, 2010. I’ve been on vacation these past few days, so I am sharing this one again, in case you haven’t seen it! Photo by Washigal57.

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. She's now seeking stories for her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges from Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story and follow on Facebook for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

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  • http://twitter.com/Sam_Russell_ Sam Russell

    This has to be my favourite post so far. I've never been so excited about trying some of these out, particularly having breakfast in bed…

    One of the small things I love to do, that I think should be added here, is throwing stones into the sea. I live right on the river and wander to deserted parts when the weather is good to throw pebbles into the water, get rid of all my angst and just to listen to the water and the wind. Makes my day every time.

    Kudos to the post :D

  • http://twitter.com/thrivecoaching Vanessa Torre

    Awesome! You just reminded me of some very simple things that I FORGOT I loved. Forgot. How does that happen? I need to make a point to do one of them a day. Just one thing. Tonight when I get home, I am cutting some roses off my bushes for my bedside.

  • Lori S.

    Sharing your orange with someone at lunch or breaktime.
    Thanks for recommending this site/this blog, Amy.

  • http://twitter.com/shinigi Julia V

    this is amaizing.

    Thank you very much <3

  • http://onehourretreat.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Lyon

    All great ideas! Bringing flowers to the office is one of my favorites – a $2-5 investment in something colorful brightens every day of my week – and everyone else's! Taking mini-retreats are another favorite of mine. 30 second micro-retreats can work wonders to clear tension and boost your energy – just close your eyes, focus you mind on an image of a clear blue pond or black velvet (whichever you prefer),and take 3-5 slow deep breaths.

  • Loewenbehold

    Bake something and share with your neighbors. It feels good and is a wonderful way to build community.

  • Loewenbehold

    Oh and I meant to say I absolutely love this post…. I'm printing it and putting it on my fridge.

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  • http://twitter.com/BeMeaningful Lori Deschene

    Great suggestions! I love having fresh flowers in my space. Always creates a calming energy and improves my mood.

  • http://twitter.com/BeMeaningful Lori Deschene

    Hi Sam~ I'm all about the breakfast in bed. Combines two of my favorite things! I remember throwing rocks on the water as a kid, and feeling back then that it was very soothing. It can almost be meditative, really. Thanks for the kudos. =)

  • http://twitter.com/BeMeaningful Lori Deschene

    It happens to me, too. I think the busyness of a day can make you forget to take time to for the little things. How nice to have rose bushes where you live. Sounds beautiful!

  • http://twitter.com/BeMeaningful Lori Deschene

    Thank you! And what a wonderful idea about sharing something with your neighbors. People don't often connect with their neighbors like they used to–back in the day when someone would knock on your door for a cup of sugar. I'm going to try your suggestion today, actually. =)

  • http://twitter.com/BeMeaningful Lori Deschene

    Thank you, and you're most welcome!

  • http://honeybtemple2.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    What a great list! Breakfast in bed has always been something I've loved to do, whether with someone else or not. Just did it today in fact – the rain coming down outside, feeling comfy and warm in bed with my coffee and toast – Yum!

    One thing I sometimes like to do is leave things for people to find, like picked flowers, pretty rocks or shells, or once or twice a little buddha statue, and just leave it somewhere where someone is likely to come along and find it. I've also left post-it notes with beautiful quotes on the mirrors of public restrooms, and sometimes notes in books. It feels good to know you'll add to someone else's day, even if you don't know them!

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  • http://misolikey.blogspot.com/ lou

    I've never thought about breakfast in bed, I should do it this weekend. i literally laughed out loud when I read number 26 because I once left 5 euros in my jackets by accident. And they did come in handy. thank you for your wonderful suggestions. This blog is now officially my 'read' before bed.

  • http://misolikey.blogspot.com/ lou

    I've never thought about breakfast in bed, I should do it this weekend. i literally laughed out loud when I read number 26 because I once left 5 euros in my jackets by accident. And they did come in handy. thank you for your wonderful suggestions. This blog is now officially my 'read' before bed.

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  • http://twitter.com/longzero Long Nguyen

    The last words “something most people wouldn’t notice”. That's what always hits the heart.

  • Guest

    Three simple words: “I believe in you.”

    Lol

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  • http://betweenmoments.tumblr.com/ Pretensions

    Loved your post. I picked the top 5 for me and have linked through to the original post. Keep blogging!

    BTW, I would add one – that blissful restful silence at the end of a busy day.

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    If you are the one who snoring, I have some good pillow information. You can see details at http://www.antisnorepillow.us/

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    Great read.  I enjoyed reading your post and I like your take on the issue.  Thanks.

  • Ellie

    Really lovely, nearly every single one of these i can remember happening on various days and being really happy. In fact, just reading this list and thinking about these things made me really happy! Particularly the one about sunsets and the one about the smell of the rain are important to me. Appreciating nature can make even a bad day just a little bit better. In fact this website in general is great, such a big difference between the normal juvenile arguments that comment sections inevitably end up in. Really gives me faith in humanity :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for commenting Ellie! I’m so glad you enjoy Tiny Buddha, and I appreciate that you are part of it =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for commenting Ellie! I’m so glad you enjoy Tiny Buddha, and I appreciate that you are part of it =)

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  • http://www.dinnerwarecenter.com/ Martin

    31. Feeling someone take your hand in theirs. –> I really like this.

  • http://www.weddingfavourskingdom.co.uk/ Annegwells

    “Playing a game you loved as a child.” I loved playing the nintendo video game when i was younger. My favorite was Mario!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Me, too! I played that all the time! =)

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  • Steve

    Thx for this article, wil make my day better :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. =)

  • ME_YOU_TONIGHT_SIX_LOL_NEVER

    Wow, I’ve heard most of these things here & there, but the way you put it made it sound fresh! Like I want to do it all over  againm. Thankyou.
    & God Bless. :)

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  • RCJ

    Hiya! I had forgotton all the little things that I loved! I’ve been so busy I hadn’t had time to smell our lillies, look at the rain. Today, it rained and I was out and I loved how fresh it was and how calm everything was :D

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That sounds wonderful. I never used to like the rain, but I do love how clean and fresh everything fees afterward. And I adore lillies. =)

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    These tips make a health life and enjoy full.

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  • Whitefang666666

    Time for me to make a change, my new life starts now. For all to see.

  • Whitefang666666

    i don’t even need this artical cause ppl always tell me (i’m so cool,so fresh)

  • ashley_dawn

    That feeling you get when he comes around, when he smiles at you, when he takes your hand in his. That feeling of love that you can only find with that one person, knowing that nothing will ever compare to this beauty. <3

  • http://twitter.com/divasupermum antoinette .

    wonderful tips

  • Lisa

    The little things in life continue to make me happy, I’m only 21, but I hope I never lose the ability to love the simple things in life.
    A lot of simple things that are on your list are actually on mine too.
    I really believe that people should take the time to stop and look around more often, so they would see the beauty of what is surrounding us.

  • Aryjoecreatives

    chiken makes me smile :) 

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  • Char

    Lovely list.
    I sat down today in a lovely village in Northern France and had a glass of Loire wine with the loveliest of views.

  • http://www.rebuildyourlifecoach.com/ Harriet Cabelly

    Lending an ear to someone in need. 

  • ArtScholar

    long, warm bubble baths!

  • Cristina

    I do most of these things on a regular basis.  Plus I love the power of a hug

  • Mark

    Awesome list! 

    I’ve been collecting little joys like these for years, of my own and anyone elses.

    For more like these, you could visit my website http://www.littlejoys.org/index.php  or the facebook page 
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/littlejoys/.

    Would love to put some of these up on there if that’s ok with you, Lori?
    Especially an outside lunch!

    Cheers,
    Mark

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Sure Mark. What a great site! =)

  • Alexander Dunlop

    it’s so much fun for me to play super mario brothers now with my children.  it brings me back to my own child hood.  *SIGH* 
    :-)
    Alexander

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    No. 10 reminds me of when I fixed my toilet and I’m no handy-dandy female when it comes to household repairs. I was so excited that day, I called my mother! The telephone call felt kinda silly afterward when I thought about what just happened but at the time, it felt like I had accomplished a great feat. I’ll laugh out loud to that now. Ha!

  • Allison

    Fanstastic.  Ever thought of making it into a poster?  I’d get one for myself and several to share!  Thanks as always for your inspiration.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Allison! Did you mean the whole list? I hadn’t thought of that, but what a great idea!

  • Cheryl B

    The walk on the beach, with sand between your toes, nothing like it in the world!

  • Stewart Sharrod

    I would say mindfully cleaning a room or kitchen area. :) This also helps me clear my head when I’m upset.

  • Abhi

    Lovely list Lori!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Abhi!

  • Sidney_01

    The moment after the rain stops… I love it…

  • Movie Jit

    Nice Post… love it

    http://www.moviejit.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cherley.Grogg Cherley Grogg

    Love this and I’m going to reference it in a blog I’m doing the end of the month. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome!

  • Ravisha Kathuria

    Meditation makes my day really beautiful – would like to add that to the list – what we may also call meditative breathing! :)

  • BobbiLynn

    YES!!!! THIS!!!!

  • Exile

    Awesome. I’m four years late but I’m gonna do all of it. Thanks!

  • http://thepurplebliss.wordpress.com Christine Querubin

    This is such a picker-upper! Thanks!

    I’ll be trying Number 27. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! =)