We all need a little mood-boost sometimes. Luckily, there are hundreds of simple pleasures and ways to practice mindful behavior that will help you live a little happier than ever before.
Often, it’s as easy as shifting our attention to the simple things frequently taken for granted. By showing appreciation for the small things, we train ourselves to recognize these moments more readily, which aids in happy living overall.
Below is a list of simple pleasures to get you started and hopefully inspire you to think of a few more. Keeping a journal of life’s simple pleasures you encounter on a daily basis is a great way to make appreciating simple joys a part of your daily routine.
Speaking of daily routines, we spend a lot of time commuting here and there. Sometimes, it can be aggravating, but other times, it can be magical, and that is where we begin our list of simple pleasures.
1. Driving on New Pavement
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a beater or Benz; if there is one great equalizer for all motorists, it’s the quality of the road being driven. The moment your tires hit the fresh pavement, it feels like flying. Everything becomes quieter and feels more peaceful.
I give thanks to all the road crews out there. I don’t think there is any other job that is more disliked by all and never given proper appreciation for a job well done.
By the time the road is finished, they’re off to a new place, making motorists miserable until they finish.
This is an important reminder that sometimes the best simple pleasures come after a period of struggle, discomfort, or difficulty.
2. Making Consecutive Greenlights
Traffic is moving, and you’re not speeding. As you approach each intersection, there is just enough time between the light turning green and the approach of the vehicles around you that no one has to slow down. Your commute goes on like this for several intersections.
What could have been a ten or 15-minute drive has now been cut in half. You arrive at your destination early and have a few minutes to relax and collect your thoughts. The sense of joy you feel heading into work is unmatched.
3. The Smell of Coffee Brewing
Maybe this is not universal, but I can remember loving the smell of coffee as a kid long before I took my first sip of coffee. Even now, as an adult, I don’t always love the taste of coffee as much as I enjoy the smell. Think of every time you go into a coffee shop or how you feel when you can smell the fresh coffee brewing in the morning. Little pleasures like these are the easiest ways to add feelings of positivity to our day.
4. The Warm feeling of the Sun on Your Skin When it’s Cold Out
Have you ever sat in a sunroom on a sunny winter day or been outside when the wind is calm and you can feel the warmth of sunshine when it’s below freezing? It’s a fantastic sensation that’s sure to make you smile. Did you know this is one of several simple pleasures of life that has its own word? It’s called Apricity.
So next time it is chilly out, but the sun is shining, consider taking a long walk to bask in the wonderful feeling of apricity.
5. Getting Into Fresh Bedsheets
Turn-down service, anyone? Generally, making the bed is not everyone’s favorite activity. Lots of weird angles straining to pull the fitted sheet over the corners of a heavy mattress and lots of walking back and forth. You might even work up a little bit of a sweat, but the reward at the end of the day is nice.
Looking forward to and eventually getting in the fresh sheets at the end of a long day is a real treat. Something about the smell and the un-rumpled smooth feel is the best way to spark positive feelings of satisfaction and coziness. Anticipation and delayed gratification make for great, simple pleasures.
6. The Sound of Rain
Whether the water is just hitting the glass of your window or you have the good fortune of listening to it pelt a tin roof while you snuggle up on the couch with a good book. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a great covered front porch where you can enjoy the fresh air as the storm passes through.
7. The Smell After Rain
Depending on the season, the way the fresh air smells after rain will differ, meaning more simple pleasures to enjoy. For example, the smell after a strong summer thunderstorm is particularly charming.
Like the warm sun on a cold day, the smell after rain also has its own word called Petrichor. In the 1960s, two Australian researchers coined the term. Though it never quite found its way into the everyday lexicon, it’s a fun fact to keep tucked away for trivia night.
8. Coming Home to a Clean House
If you spend your working hours on site somewhere, keeping a neat home and not dreading chores when you get home tired from work is always nice.
It’s even better when you’ve gone on a trip or vacation, had a wonderful time, and come home to a tidy place. I can’t think of a better way to take pride in where you live than to keep things looking nice and neat.
9. The Smell of Fresh-Cut Grass
Except for those with an allergy to grass, the fresh smell of a mowed lawn can be deeply satisfying. Seeing the stripes left on the lawn is almost as gratifying as the stripes on the carpet after vacuuming. In a sense, doing yard work and cutting the grass is an extension of the simple pleasures of keeping a clean house. Not only do things smell great inside and out, but you also have the satisfaction of seeing your accomplishments.
10. Enjoying Ice Cream on a Hot Day
Some might say it’s always the best time for ice cream, but I look forward to that first delicious treat of the summer. There is something nostalgic, delicious, and refreshing that all comes together as the temperatures start rising. It’s even better when you can enjoy your ice cream at the beach.
11. The Feeling After a Good Workout
You’ll be relieved it’s done, glad you did it, and happy with the results over time.
No matter your preferred form of physical activity, from lifting weights to running or going for a bike ride. Moving your body and challenging yourself is always great, even if that means going for a long walk. End your workout with a nice hot shower, and you’ll be ready to tackle anything that comes next on your to-do list.
12. Looking at Old Photos With Your Best Friend
More than likely, your best friend is also an old friend. You’ve had a lot of good times together and supported each other through many phases of personal growth. Looking at all the special times you’ve shared is definitely a noteworthy, simple life pleasure worth revisiting often.
13. Soaking in a Hot Tub
If you don’t have time to book a spa treatment, a nice bubble bath at home is always an easy way to unwind and practice a little slow living. Take a deep breath and let the warm water envelope you in this relaxing, simple pleasure of life.
14. Spending Time at a Local Park
One of the best things to do when enjoying simple pleasures is spending time outside. Even if you live in a city, hanging out in a green space where you can hear birds chirping or the laughter of kids playing is sure to lift your spirits. It might also be a great occasion to plan quality time with a close friend. The beautiful thing is you both benefit from spending time together and being outside.
15. Have a Nice Dinner at your Favorite Place
Even if that means a simple home-cooked meal on the living room floor picnic style with your favorite people. Maybe you spend the rest of the evening playing board games and just laughing together. Part of the fun of indulging in simple pleasures is not getting too hung up on perfection and embracing the moment. I have many great memories from picnic meals after moving into a new place or helping friends move. There’s always a time and place for both scenarios, dining in or dining out, to be cherished simple pleasures.
16. Listening to Live Music
There’s nothing like hearing your favorite song performed live. Good music has always been one of the most sacred of simple pleasures for centuries. Though it’s always nice to have your favorite music playing, there’s just something special about being part of a crowd and sharing in the experience of live music. If you’re struggling to remember the last time you made it to a concert, it might be time to look for some tickets.
17. Removing Stickers or Plastic Film
Pulling the protective plastic off new devices or removing stickers in one piece is a skill and an art form. New device screens, small electronics, or that clearance candle with the sticker ruining the vibe. These are all moments to be savored by the few.
When you catch the corner just right and outmaneuver the security design to remove the sticker in one clean pull, you have a little victory to cherish for hours.
18. Using a New Razor
There’s nothing like the first shave with a new razor. The clean look and exquisite feel of smooth skin must be truly cherished for exactly ten minutes before it feels stubbly again. Though it may not last long, let the moment spark joy anyway.
If laser hair removal became more common, would you miss your old trusty razor? I’m not sure I would.
But the good news is, until then, we get to continue indulging in the simple pleasures of a fresh shave and smooth skin.
19. Taking the First Bite of Warm Apple Pie
Or any fresh and flaky dessert, for that matter. A favorite Sunday morning ritual is to get fresh baked goods and a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s even better if there’s leftover apple pie already at home. Around the holidays, I look forward to making my healthy apple pie, and I don’t even feel guilty about having a slice for breakfast. Of course, part of the fun of simple pleasures like this is the novelty and rarity. It makes the occasion all the more memorable and enjoyable.
20. The Sight and Smell of Fresh Snowfall
Waking up to fresh snow on a sunny morning has its own crisp, fresh scent that is as delightful as it is beautiful. Seeing the sun glint off the perfectly white snow is a magical sight I hope everyone gets to experience at least once. It’s even better if it’s a proper snow day, and you can enjoy sledding, skiing, or other winter activities all day. There is always a way to let simple pleasures spark joy every season.
An Extra Way to Spark Joy:
Peeling an orange or another fruit in one continuous piece. P.S. bananas don’t count! Of course, peeling machines can peel a fruit or vegetable in one go, but it’s another thing to do as a clumsy human.
Sure, this is what kids are amused by at the lunch table, but isn’t that the point? To let ourselves be entertained by the simple and mundane?
Closing Thoughts on Simple Pleasures
Remember, the good thing is ordinary everyday life is filled with simple pleasures. And the greatest advantage of small pleasures is that many of them don’t cost much money or they’re free.
Smirk, roll your eyes, laugh, or bask in the memory of enjoying one of the experiences on the list. Admit it; these silly little things can really give you a mood-boost if you give them a chance.
Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to add a few new things to your list of favorite simple pleasures. It doesn’t require much effort to see your personal development goal progress when you start appreciating the simple pleasures in life. Practicing more mindful behavior and always seeking new examples of simple pleasures will do wonders for your mental health.
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats” – Iris Murdoch.
Indulge in the small treats of life’s simple pleasures.
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.