“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may 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.