At this moment in time, people across the globe are more connected than ever before. However, this connectivity comes at a price. Studies have linked heavy technology usage with fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Anyone who owns a smartphone can attest to this. Thankfully, life itself has provided us with everything we need to slow down and smell the roses. (When was the last time you did that?) As Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst suggest in their book, The Tiny Book of Tiny Pleasures, pure happiness is all about savoring the little, unassuming things in life.
To help inspire you to break the pace of your frenzied life, here are ten simple pleasures that are worth indulging in.
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1. A Long Hot Bath
Halt the in-and-out five-minute-long showers that you squeeze in before going to bed and indulge in a long, luxurious bath instead. Set the scene by pouring in some scented bath salts or bubble bath, lighting some candles, and turning on a soothing playlist. (Smooth jazz anyone?) Pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage, and crack open that book or magazine you’ve been meaning to get to. Then, unwind!
2. The Whistle of a Kettle
The sounds we take in have a more significant impact on our mental health than we think. Forget boring old ocean waves—seek out the everyday sounds that we often overlook, yet can provide us peace and comfort. Sizzling bacon. A whistling teakettle. A wine bottle being uncorked. Savor these types of sounds and the moments they represent.
3. An Adventure
Who doesn’t love adventure? But between meetings and packed schedules, we hardly ever take one. Smit and van der Hulst remind us that adventures don’t always have to be grand, expensive or time-consuming. Take that scenic hike you’ve always wanted to or just have a fun water balloon fight in the yard. Do something you’ve never done before, no matter how big or small.
Although it’s easy to get caught up in the things we don’t have, it can be refreshing to turn our attention towards the things we do have! Expressing gratitude has been proven to make us happy, even months down the line. It’s not a difficult thing to do either—pen a thank you note to a friend or relative, or start a gratitude journal.
5. A Deep Breath
You know that moment when you start to worry: your heart beats faster, your face gets flustered, and the world begins to spin. Often, the cure for this type of moment is to just breathe. Taking a deep breath has powerful and relaxing results, especially when paired with the scent of a calming essential oil aroma like eucalyptus, lemon, or lavender.
6. A View
There’s a reason why movie scenes are most epic when the protagonist is standing above everyone, overlooking the kingdom or battle scene. Whether you’re at the top of a mountain or gazing up at the starry sky, fully taking in a scenic view gives you a sense of peace and introspection.
7. Outdoor Therapy
Spending time in nature is a scientifically proven way to improve your mood. The Japanese have been doing it for centuries in a practice that everyone should adopt, called “forest bathing.” So lace up your shoes, go for a walk and soak in some greenery.
8. A Siesta
Take a page out of the Europeans’ playbook and carve time into your schedule for naps. Research has found that just a 10 to 20-minute snooze can help you feel refreshed and rebooted, while a 90-minute rest can significantly boost your creativity levels. So there you have it! Two legitimate reasons to grab that sleeping mask and kickback and relax.
Did you know that people tend to associate colors with emotions? Surrounding yourself with certain colors might help improve your mood. Blue is known to stimulate creativity, while yellow is rumored to make people happy. For an extra oomph, crack out those trusty crayons and try your hand at an adult coloring book.
Even if you’re not vacationing in a new place, it’s always worthwhile to do some exploring. Put your phone away and wander around a neighborhood you’ve never visited before. As you roam, stay in the moment and observe the sights and sounds. This is a great way to practice mindfulness, spark curiosity and calm the mind.
Try these simple pleasures and start slowing down, disconnecting and appreciating all the beautiful things life has to offer.
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