40 Little Pleasures in Life

by Tiago on December 17


As I awaken in the morning I feel my body asking me to return to this world, eyes drooping from the lethargy of the night. I stretch my spine, arms and legs—all my muscles and tendons are ready to begin the new day’s adventure.

And today I choose to pay attention to the little things, anything that gives me pleasure in daily life; I watch myself as I move, but mostly I observe my feelings.

I rise from the bed, straightening my back, feeling my feet on the floor, standing up to feel the weight of my body on my legs. I am grateful for having a body with which to enjoy this human experience.

And then: the shower. I savor the warm water on my skin, penetrating through my pores. I listen to the sound of water running. All my senses are engaged.

These little pleasures are often ignored during the hustle and bustle of life. Here are forty little pleasures in life to remind to you that the little things do, in fact, matter.

 1. Enjoying the View – You don’t need to go somewhere special to enjoy the world around you. The undulating soil around you, permeated with grass and shaded by trees, is all you need to help you forget for a little while the obligations of daily life.

 2. Cleaning Bed Sheets – Your bed is a temple of relaxation. It is a comfortable, clean and warm place where you can  let yourself go. The light in your eyes tells you that it’s morning, and you happily get up to enjoy life.

 3. Making Someone Happy – In the real world, many times people try to act interested in what someone else is  saying and put fake smiles on their face just to get it over with. But today, you have the opportunity to brighten  someone’s day with a kind word or gesture. It takes very little effort yet produces such powerful results.

4. The Smell of Coffee – The rich aroma of coffee scents the air. It is a familiar smell that always gives you a little pleasure, but this time you pay attention to your body and this pleasure is multiplied tenfold.

5. Tickling Someone – Take some time to tickle someone under their arms (or wherever you think is best). If they’re ticklish, they will instantly laugh and drop whatever they were doing. Giggles and smiles will ensue.

40pleasures6. Playing With Your Children – Parents will often tell people that few things give them more pleasure than to spend time with their children—and children love to play. Spend some of your free time actively playing with your kids and not just reading a book while they do their thing.

7. Enjoying a Picnic – Picnics are perhaps the greatest al fresco experience. On a sky blue day, with picnic basket in hand, you get to enjoy good food and lie in the hot sunshine with friends and family.

8. Homemade Pancakes – Cooked on a griddle over a hot fire, these delicious carb bombs will give you pleasure and expand your waistline at the same time (but you can always make grain-free pancakes). Add a little ginger cardamom syrup on top for ultimate bliss.

9. Watching the Sunrise – The splendor of sunrise heralds a new day. Witnessing daybreak gives you strength that lasts for the rest of the day. It is a beautiful and pleasurable moment that you can share with your loved ones.

10. Snuggling Someone – Snuggling is a fun, free way of heating yourself up in the cold winter and is often the best medicine for crying babies. If you want to feel soft and cozy, there’s nothing like a good snuggling session.

11. Watching Clouds – Watching clouds drift by is a fascinating exercise. The clouds always have different forms and shapes. You can’t touch them, yet they bring you great immense peace and tranquility if you just take a moment to enjoy them.

12. Buying Something – The simple joy of buying something you can easily afford and then enjoying it can sometimes be a guilty pleasure (chocolates, jewelry, wine, extra expensive clothes), but if it makes you happy, go ahead.

40pleasures413. No Work Tomorrow – Tomorrow you know for sure that nobody will wake you up. There are no obligations or commitments to fulfill. You can take this time to sleep for another hour if you feel like it.

14. Swimming – Not only do you get to increase your aerobic endurance by swimming, but you also get to engage in a universal pleasure that appeals to men and women everywhere. Swimming is one of life’s healthiest pleasures.

15. Getting a Massage – You get to relieve stress and relax in the hands of another. You can even pick your favorite type of massage (Shiatsu? Swedish? Thai?). Enjoy the hands of a massage god/goddess and let yourself go.

16. Watching Animals – One of the most popular human pastimes and a favorite of mine. Listening and watching animals is, to me, a meditation that can’t be compared to anything else.

17. Breakfast in Bed – The ultimate indulgence. Having breakfast in bed is one of those things that can be incredibly pleasurable and is a beautiful gesture if offered to another. Now you too can feel like royalty!

18. Reading a Great Novel – Reading a novel will make you unconsciously filter out all intruding thoughts so that you can dive into the experience of creating images in your head and processing words.

19. Playing with Snow – Snow is a magical substance created by the freezing of moist vapors suspended in the atmosphere. What could be more fun than playing with this light and fluffy stuff that falls from the sky by the truckload?

20. Chocolate – Perhaps the single most craved food. Poisonous to dogs (because of theobromine), but wonderful for you. Moderation is highly recommended when it comes to chocolate. Eat it and enjoy it with utter pleasure.

21. Laziness – Once in a while, allowing oneself to be utterly and completely lazy is one of the greatest pleasures available to mankind. Don’t abuse it though: unchecked laziness is not a good thing.

22. Meditating – Meditation calms and purifies your mind and nervous system and makes it easier for you to pay attention to the reality around you. Successfully freeing yourself from your thoughts and worries always feels nice.

40pleasures223. Running – While running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the act of running for some people produces something called a runner’s high, which is a state of euphoria and pure happiness.

24. Hot Tea – A major drink of every breakfast in many households, hot tea soothes the body and calms the mind. If you’re looking for something restorative and delicious, a nice cup of hot tea may be all you need.

25. Taking a Nap – Most sleep laboratory studies demonstrate that naps must last at least ten minutes to have any effect on mood and performance. Take naps whenever your body asks and you’ll feel much better.

26. Singing – There’s nothing quite like singing your favorite song. Even when a song comes to an end, it can begin again. You can always sing one more time.

27. Watching the Ocean – Isn’t it strange how many of life’s little pleasures all involve watching something? Watching the sunset… watching clouds… watching the ocean. The fresh breeze that comes from the ocean is often all you need to forget all your worries.

28. Kissing – In every culture, kissing is a sign of affection. The lips have many touch receptors and this is why kissing feels so nice. Undoubtedly pleasurable, but also meaningful—you express your love and your feelings.

29. Dancing – Dancing is the effusion of joy. Did you know that dancing is the second most prominent human activity depicted in caves? Turns out our ancestors spent a lot of time hunting and dancing.

30. Going to the Movies – Movies are one of the manifestations of culture. If you watch movies with friends or family, they also give you something to talk about afterward. Watching a movie is an experience, one that can make your heart pump harder and faster.

31. Walking Barefoot on the Beach – The breeze from the ocean. Feeling the soft sand squishing between your toes. The sun hovering inches above the ocean. Need I say more?

littlepleasures632. Holding Hands – Holding hands is a gesture of sweetness; it is something you can do anywhere, in public or private; it is an act of love. To many people, holding hands is better than saying I love you.

33. Random Conversations – You won’t get into trouble by having a random conversation with a stranger. On the contrary, a confession to a complete stranger that you’ll never see again while on vacation can be very freeing.

34. Laughing With Friends – Khalil Gibran once said: In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. Don’t forget to spend time with your friends—your shared experiences will become some of your fondest memories.

35. Emptying Your Email Box – Your 9000 old emails have been begging for your attention for years. Once you purge that inbox, you’ll probably feel much better.

36. Decorating a New Home – I can’t claim to really understand this one as I suck at decorating anything, but lots of people seem to get a huge kick out of decorating a new room or flat. If it makes you happy, knock yourself out!

37. Doing Yoga – The whole process of yoga balances, relaxes and centers you. It’s a great way to calm the nervous system and has the potential of helping you sleep better. If releasing stress gives you pleasure, consider doing yoga.

38. Writing Down Your Thoughts – To many people, the simple act of writing down their thoughts and emotions is therapeutic in and of itself. Writing down your thoughts without any censoring will help you learn more about yourself.

39. Smelling Flowers – You feel alive when you engage in the simple joy of smelling flowers. The aroma of a good sweet-smelling flower blooming in the woods is sure to brighten your day all around the clock.

40. Breathing Consciously – Last but not least, breathing consciously for two to three minutes a day is,  in and of itself, a kind of meditation that will soothe you. Consciously learning abdominal breathing can change your life.

This small list doesn’t even scratch the surface. There are so many effortless things in life that can make you happier. Open your eyes and look at the brightest spot of the flame of life—it always grows when you pay attention to it.

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Tiago uses his forbidden Internet skills to forge the basic framework of the Spiraling Up website. He teaches English in three languages on his English website. He was born in a small city in Portugal and now resides in Barcelona. His personal development journey started in 2006. He eats more lentils for lunch than you eat in a year. He’s also hilarious.

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