40 Ways to Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures to Have a Better Day

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It’s easy to forget the small things when life is busy and stressful. But enjoying life’s simple pleasures will make your day a little brighter.

girl enjoying simple pleasures of smelling flowers

“That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

Henry David Thoreau

It is early morning. The light is the soft grey-blue of early dawn. The air is light and cool – not hot, heavy and humid as it soon will be. It is scented lightly with sea-salt and eucalyptus. The magpies are chatting on the back fence.

Simple pleasures – a few quiet moments of contentment before life comes crashing in again.

Psychology Today defines simple pleasures as “experiences that are brief, positive, emerge in everyday settings, and are accessible to most people at little or no cost.”

They are also very personal experiences that bring you moments of joy and pleasure.

Because we all need little moments of joy when we’re trapped in the day-to-day hum-drum.

Although it can be hard to find pleasure in the little things when you’re going through tough times, this is when we need life’s little pleasures the most.

Simple pleasures don’t make your problems go away. But they give you a bit of time out from life’s burdens, even if just for a moment.

And while they don’t change the world outside, they can change you; they can give you mental and emotional timeout and the fortitude to keep going.

Types of simple pleasures

There are two kinds of simple pleasures.

The first is serendipitous. They happen when you’re not expecting them.

The smell of pine leaves in the rain that transports you back to a childhood memory, when your favourite song comes on in the supermarket, the way the light hits the water and makes it sparkle like a million diamonds.

You can’t plan for these fleeting moments, but in order to enjoy them, you need to catch time. You need to be tuned in to receiving them.

This isn’t always easy, especially when you’re stressed or anxious or angry. In these times, we become closed to those small moments of joy.

So in order to catch them, we need to intentionally remind ourselves to be open and receptive to positive experiences.

The second kind of simple pleasures are the ones you orchestrate yourself. They are the moments you intentionally create to make the day just a little bit better.

Simple pleasures like a warm bath after a long day; dancing to your favourite tune; a good book or movie; a cup of tea, or a piece of dark chocolate, slowly savoured.

40 Little Pleasures in Life That will Improve Your Day

What things make your heart sing?

Or makes you stop and think, ‘This is why it’s good to be alive’?

What makes you feel contented and at peace?

We can’t control the serendipitous kind of small pleasures, but we can add some intentional treats to our day. Below is a list of little pleasures that you can intentionally add to your day:

  1. Walking in nature
  2. Reading a good book or magazine
  3. Watching a movie
  4. Snuggling on the couch
  5. Drinking a favourite hot drink (or cold drink in summer)
  6. Sliding into bed with clean sheets.
  7. Meditating in the quiet of the early morning
  8. Writing in your journal
  9. Reading poetry or books with an uplifting message
  10. Watching your children play (or playing with them)
  11. Watching the baby sleep
  12. Playing with a pet
  13. Going for a drive in the evening
  14. Catching up with a good friend
  15. Enjoying a good meal
  16. Cleaning the house (that feeling of contentment when it’s done)
  17. Ticking something off your to-do list
  18. Listening to music
  19. Watching the sunrise or sunset
  20. Hugging your child, partner, pet parent or friend
  21. Packing dinner up and having a picnic
  22. Looking through old photos
  23. Letting chocolate melt in your mouth
  24. Enjoying a hobby
  25. Staying in your pyjamas all day when it’s raining
  26. Saying hello to a stranger you pass in the street
  27. Letting someone into your lane when driving
  28. People watching during your lunch break
  29. Smelling the flowers
  30. Planting seeds or tending your garden
  31. Planning a holiday
  32. Going for a stroll
  33. Having a warm bath
  34. Putting on some makeup
  35. Stepping outside for some fresh air and sunshine
  36. Swinging on a swing
  37. Dancing in the living room
  38. Having a good laugh
  39. Feeling sand or soil between your toes or grass beneath your bare feet
  40. Doing a workout.

We all get caught up in business and stress and anxiety, and it’s easy to forget and forego the simple pleasures in life. Then we try to make up for it with grand holidays.

But life doesn’t need to be all or nothing. You can find moments of sunshine in every day by intentionally adding small pleasures to your day and being open to noticing the serendipitous pleasures in life.

What simple pleasures give you contentment?

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  1. My beautiful Grandchildrens faces. My Daughter in her Wedding dress. Having a new son-in-Law

  2. Hi Maureen, congratulations! You reminded me that I should appreciate the people in my life more. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Afternoon winter sun, eating something great when I’m really hungry, stroking my sleeping dog as she snoozes on my lap, laughing with friends, finishing a craft project, sitting gazing at my garden and listening.

  4. Hi Delphine, they sound lovely to, especially afternoon winter sun! Thanks.