In our pursuit of happiness, we tend to focus on the more monumental things in life (I am guilty of this) – like landing a dream job, buying your dream home, having a fairy-tale wedding and so on. But no matter how good those things can make us feel, the bursts of intense joy they bring will fade once the excitement wears off. So, don’t bet your happiness on big events and grand successes. Instead, school yourself in the art of finding happiness in the smallest of things.
We’re normally so focused on the big things in life that we tend to completely overlook the small ones that nourish our body, mind and soul. Unlike big life events and brag-worthy accomplishments, it’s those little things that can bring real, lasting happiness. Not that fleeting rush of pleasure, but a deep sense of well-being that sustains us in good times and bad. In today’s reality, it’s even more important than ever to be proactive about creating and appreciating these little moments of happiness.
Learn to savour the little things with 5 new habits:
Not sure how to start cherishing life’s little joys? Here’s what you can do to start inviting lasting happiness into your life today.
1. Be mindful of small moments
Cherish the little moments in life that often go unnoticed, especially in times of crisis. If you’re mindful of the small things that are seemingly mundane or insignificant – like washing the dishes together after dinner or climbing into a freshly made bed – you’re opening yourself up to the happiness those tiny moments can bring. In the words of author Robert Brault: “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.”
2. Practice Gratitude
Regularly expressing what you’re grateful for in your life makes you feel happier. Gratitude has demonstrated positive effects on our physical and mental well-being – it increases the brain’s happiness hormones, decreases stress levels and improves sleep. So why not practice a two-minute thankfulness routine every day? Get a notebook that will be your dedicated gratitude journal, and write down what you’re grateful for each day.
3. Be kind to others
Neuroscientists have found that performing acts of kindness and compassion has a stimulating effect on your brain’s pleasure and reward centres. But we actually don’t need brain scans to know that helping others can make us happier. Being kind to family, friends and even random strangers opens up lots of possibilities to deepen meaningful connections and make new friends. Heart-warming initiatives are popping up day by day to help neighbours and strangers, doctors and nurses are risking it all to treat the sick – it’s important to recognise the good that is happening today.
4. Treat yourself like a friend
Being kind to others makes us happy, but practising self-kindness is just as important. Treat yourself like you would treat a dear friend. Brew yourself a hot cup of tea on a cloudy morning, be non-judgemental, set aside some time for yourself, treat yourself to some pampering, embrace your imperfections and love yourself whole-heartedly.
5. Strengthen your connections
Look to the silver linings of staying home in lockdown with your loved ones. Set aside time to spend quality time together, plan a video call with friends, play games, and just be present in your relationships with others. And remember, positive interactions and conversations will boost your oxytocin levels, also known as the feel-good hormone, which will in turn reduce any stress you may be feeling.