If we live our lives only for the big moments–the vacations, the anniversary dinners, the work promotions–we miss out on daily doses of joy. Discover the little things in life and find the happiness that has been hiding in your day-to-day.
What Are the Little Things in Life?
The little things in life go largely unnoticed. We can be so focused on our agendas–or even our challenges–that we miss the tiny moments and miniscule niceties from which happiness can spring.
And happiness is enjoying the little things in life.
There are three types of little things. Do you notice each one?
Little Pockets of Beauty
It’s not just mountains and sunsets–pockets of beauty are all around you. Stop and take notice of the way the sunlight refracts through cut glass into a rainbow of light, a flower or plant that grows in the crack of cement, the sheen of your daughter’s hair, and the scent of gardenias when daylight fades.
Think of all the things you interact with on a daily basis. Do you enjoy them–even savor them? Drink coffee you love (that’s Happy Coffee for me!), use light-filtering shades on your lamps, light candles in scents that make you breathe deeply, drape a super-soft throw on your couch, and get a live potted plant for inside or out. You know what makes you happy. If you don’t, experiment and see!
We are social creatures, and our moments with others can bring us the most joy. Holding your child’s hand, watching your daughter try a new food for the first time, hugging your hubby, sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, and having a conversation that’s real–these are little moments that are worth relishing.
Why Appreciating the Little Things Can Change Your Perspective
It’s the little things in life that can change your whole perspective. Believe it or not, your life already has happiness sources waiting to be tapped.
We have a tendency to rate each day either good or bad. But a day can’t be summed up in a word because it is composed of a hundred little things.
Sure, maybe all in one day your child split his lip, you spilt coffee in the car, and you bickered with your husband at night. But the day is more than three things.
What if you noticed the little things even in the difficult moments? Your son came crying to you when he split his lip because you are his comfort. When you spilled coffee in the car, it fell mostly on a floor mat you can wash or replace. Arguing with your husband is always stressful, but your love is strong enough to endure the occasional battle.
When you start to observe the little things, you no longer see the days in black and white, good and bad–you see them in their glorious, colorful array.
How Do You Notice the Little Things?
Be present. When you are with someone–whenever possible–give them your full attention. Tell yourself, “This could be one of those special moments–if I will take the time to see it.”
Take mental pictures (and maybe some actual ones too). Take note of what you start to see. Say “That’s beautiful,” when you see a rainbow. What about a bite of ooey, gooey mac and cheese? Try to store the sensation in your memory. Did your daughter come out of her room wearing a princess dress over pajamas? Take a mental picture (and then snap one on your phone) so you can remember it and smile about it later.
Treat yourself. We all know what it’s like to live on a budget, but even the slimmest wallet should put aside a few extra bucks for a couple little things. Go ahead and buy generic everything to save money, but if you really like Tropicana orange juice or OPI nail polish, get them! Invest in a few niceties for the sake of your happiness!
Jot it down on your list. Keeping a gratitude list can shift your focus to the little things in life. Write down three things you’re grateful for–morning and night.
Notice the strength from struggle. You are shaped by your past. It has formed you into the person you are today (and maybe it has inspired you to help others). You don’t have to be thankful for trials in your life, but try to look for any good that has come out of them.
Twenty Little Things That Will Brighten Your Day
Do you need some inspiration? Here are twenty little things that may have been waiting for you to notice them.
- Your child’s full-throated laugh
- The smell of bread, brownies, bacon, or coffee
- Your favorite pen or a freshly-sharpened pencil
- Marbles–they are both cheap and captivating!
- Your dog’s excitement when he sees you
- The first ten seconds when you crawl in bed–that “ahhh…” feeling
- Creamer–and changing up the flavors
- Ice cream (and the genius of the ice cream scoop)
- How your sleeping child looks 100% like an angel
- Your first breath of fresh air each day
- Fuzzy socks
- That old, might-as-well-be-your-best-friend sweatshirt. You two have been through a lot together.
- The way your teeth feel after you brush them.
- Having someone in your life with whom you can be 100% yourself
- Pool noodles
- Laughing with the girlfriends
- Cuddling with your kids
- Popping bubble wrap. You are never too old for this to cease to be fun.
- Drinks with Boba in them or drinks topped with foam–you pick!
If joy is evasive, maybe it’s the little things in life that you have been missing. Slow down, be mindful, and let the little things–one by one–fill your heart with happiness.