Happiness, a feeling pretty much everyone is in search of, but many struggle to truly find. Maybe it’s because of the way they go about it; most people tend to think “When I reach this goal I’ll be happy,” or “When I get this promotion I’ll finally be happy,” or “When I finally find ‘The one’ I’m going to be so happy”… and they spend so much time and effort planning and working towards these goals that they forget that happiness doesn’t come in the form of a destination, it’s actually found in the little things throughout the journey. If you cannot enjoy the journey, then eventually when you make it to that destination you worked so hard to get to, you’ll feel temporary joy until you think of a new goal that you need to reach in order to be happy again. It’s a silly game that’s played where in the end happiness is a mirage—it looks real, but when you get to it, it’s fleeting and disappears.
The Importance of Finding Joy in the Little Things
Instead of always chasing the rainbow, start focusing on the small details of your life. Those are your tickets to a happier life, and you’ll get there when you learn to focus on finding joy in the little things.
Not sure how to get started on finding joy in the little things? Simple! Start by looking at children, since they’re one of the best examples of people who find joy in the simplest things. When you’re around children you’re usually greeted with enthusiastic laughter, fun stories, and amazed gasps at even the smallest things.
Children get excited about pretty much anything: bubbles in their bath, jumping in puddles, reading a book, learning some sort of new trick… anything really. That’s because they still find joy in any and every little thing. To them, the whole world is still exciting. But as the years pass you by and you get older you sometimes get a little bit more jaded about things. You start to focus on what you have to get done to meet those goals you set for yourself, so much so that you stop paying attention to those little things in life that brought you so much joy when you were younger.
How to Find Joy in the Little Things
Think about it: when was the last time you took a bubble bath, or jumped in a puddle, or explored to find bugs on the ground? Chances are you probably don’t remember. Even more so now in this world where you are constantly bombarded with things to compare yourself to (thanks social media!). Being so worried about what you’re not, what you wish you were or what you wish you had can lead to sadness, and even depression.
You could say that the secret to real happiness lies in finding joy in the little things. When you can literally stop and smell the roses, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be reminded of all the little things that brought you joy when you were younger and that most likely still do. The little things in life are natural sources to combat feelings of sadness, fear, and emptiness. It’s going back to those little things where you will find joy once again.
So how can you start focusing on the little things in life to find joy in them? Well for one, it’s important to remember that each moment matters, especially this moment right here and right now.
This is your life, and you taking the time to read this is already a wonderful step in the right direction. You’re taking a break from your busy day to focus on you, to read something new that caught your eye, a little thing with a potentially big reward. Which brings us to…
Tips to Help You Find Joy in the Little Things in Life
Tip #1: Hit The Pause Button
Pause and recognize this moment. Think about the way you feel, the things that surround you, the world you have created for yourself. Pausing will help you recognize and appreciate the simple pleasures that are all around. Things like the laughter of your children, the sound of birds chirping, the intoxicating aroma of coffee, the changing colors of the sunset. And when you pause to appreciate the little things in life, you’re subconsciously working on building the habit of finding joy in the little things. It’s a win-win.
Tip #2: Take Little Risks
Say yes to things you might usually put aside because of your busy life. Say yes to stopping all your work and just drinking your coffee in peace. Say yes to reading some chapters of that book you started a little while ago even though you have laundry to get to. Say yes to waking up early to watch the sunrise. Say yes to listening to a podcast that you might usually not go for. Say yes to trying a new food. Be adventurous in bite sizes. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Tip #3: Be Grateful
Take the time to sit and look around you. Chances are you are going to see many things you can be grateful for: things in nature that inspire you as well as material things you’ve worked hard for in your life that maybe now you just take for granted. When you start to realize that all of the work you have put in has these little rewards that surround you all day long, it’s easier to see them for what they represent and find joy in them.
Tip #4: Disconnect To Connect
When was the last time you checked your phone? Are you reading this on your phone?
Phones and smart watches and tablets have become an extension of us, and that’s great because they keep us connected… Right? Well yes, but only partially. When we obsess over being connected to the rest of the world, we begin to ignore the world that’s right around us. So set up some time in your day that’s device free. Connect with nature, connect with your pets, your spouse, your coworker, your roommate, your kids. Connect with whoever or whatever is around you—without technology.
When you disconnect from technology, even if it’s for just an hour a day, your eyes will be open to all the wonderful things around you and finding joy in the little things will become second nature, because when you disconnect to connect, the little things in life start to pop up everywhere, bringing unexpected joy along with them.
Tip #5: Think Like a Child
Give yourself permission to go back to how you felt when you were younger and full of wonder and curiosity. Try something you would have loved to try when you were little.
Want Some More Help in Finding Joy in the Little Things?
These Little Things in Life Might be Your Ticket to Instant Joy:
- Play your favorite song… and play it loud. Do you feel like you want to sing along? Do it! Feel like dancing? Go for it… even if someone is watching!
- Buy yourself some flowers. So simple and so efficient. The sight and the smell of them will provide you with instant joy.
- Drink coffee out of your favorite mug. Don’t have one? Go get one and enjoy.
- Go for a walk. It can be hard sometimes to get yourself to actually do it, but no one ever regrets going for a walk. And while you’re out there, really take it all in. The sounds, the smells, the sights. Indulge freely in nature. It’s one of the best places for finding joy in the little things.
- Watch the sunset… or sunrise. Just sit there and really admire it. There’s magic in those few minutes. Time just kind of sits still, the colors that appear can be quite captivating, and it’s one of those little things in life that just doesn’t get old. It’s always beautiful and breathtaking.
- Smile. It’s one of the biggest little things you can do that can really make a change in your life. It produces endorphins, dopamine and serotonin (your feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters), it relaxes your body, tells your brain that you’re happy (even if you’re forcing it) and it’s also proven to be contagious, so your smile can even help others on their quest to finding joy in the little things as well! Smiling might be one of the simplest little things in life that can make a huge difference almost immediately.
- Indulge in a special treat. It can be candy, chocolate, a specific type of drink, or even your favorite comfort food. Really take the time to appreciate every bite or sip, every flavor and every little bit of joy you get from it. Remember: don’t overindulge, because that takes away from how special it is.
While achieving big life goals is, of course, very important, it is equally important to pay attention to the here and now, and to find ways to enjoy the present moment. When you are actively present and mindful, you get to see what’s around you.
The real trick to finding joy in the little things is knowing that the joy you seek is always there, waiting for you to find it. All you have to do is look… Really! It’s just that simple.
The beauty of nature, the opportunities to try new things, the magic of making connections and learning something new, the gratifying feeling of smiling or seeing someone smile. It’s all there waiting for you to embrace it, because it’s the little things in life that bring you the purest form of joy.
- Do you currently pause to recognize the little things in your life?
- What tips from above can help you find joy in the little things in your life?