Small Joys That Light Up Your Life
My father-in-law passed away recently, and we experienced a hard stretch at home. The days felt more like a slog than an opportunity to experience life. And so, I found myself making a list of simple life pleasures. I hoped that if I incorporated more joy into my day, things would feel easier.
Have you ever felt this too?
What can we be grateful for when life hits a low? Or even on our most ordinary day?
Simple Pleasures Meaning
First, what is a simple pleasure? It’s when you gain peace, satisfaction, or happiness from a small element in your life. Usually, simple pleasures come from everyday items or occurrences that we overlook when we’re not truly present.
What are examples of simple life pleasures?
The following is my list of simple pleasures, along with other amazing ideas to consider. Many don’t cost much and are already in front of us!
But notice that my list may not be the same for you. How would yours look different? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
125 of the Best Pleasures in Life
Joys Found With People
First, it’s the people we love that bring us the most happiness. Do you find joy in these things too?
1. Toddler giggles – the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.
2. A long insightful talk with a good friend
3. Hi-fiving someone in celebration
4. Walks with someone you love
5. A good bear hug
6. Getting lost in a tickle fight
7. Receiving an unexpected compliment
8. Snuggling in bed with a loved one
9. Catching your child being kind
10. When you get someone to smile (through a compliment, smile, joke, etc.)
11. The contagious excitement of kids opening gifts
12. Holding hands
13. Giving a child a special “love you” squeeze
14. Cuddling with a pet (dog kisses, cat purrs, etc.)
15. When a baby smiles up at you
16. Telling kids a story about your childhood
17. Your mom’s voice when you need someone to listen
18. Lending a hand when someone needs it
19. Seeing old photos of your family and friends
20. Remembering a favorite childhood memory
21. A pillow fight
22. Bumping into someone you haven’t seen in awhile
23. Uninterrupted time with your partner
24. Knowing a happy secret of someone
25. Toasting to family or friends
26. When your loved one says “I love you” out of the blue
Pleasures Directly From Nature
These are often taken for granted, but they bring a smile of wonder to your face every time.
27. Stargazing out in nature
28. Seeing a colorful sunrise
29. Watching the setting sun
30. Listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof
31. Hearing a noisy spring thunderstorm while you’re cozy inside
32. Eating outside over a blanket on green grass
33. Staring at a full moon
34. Taking a nap in the warm sun
35. Touching a very old tree
36. The smell after it rains
37. The sounds of a stream after a good rain
38. The smell of the ocean
39. The first snow storm of winter when you’re cuddled warm inside
40. The first tree buds and blossoms of spring
41. The smell of fresh cut grass (and feel of it under your feet)
42. The beautiful colors of the trees at just the right time in the fall
43. Spotting a rainbow (and watching kids’ faces when they see it too)
44. Driving with your windows down and the breeze in your face
45. Stepping on a pile of crunchy leaves
46. Big fluffy clouds
47. A fresh untouched layer of snow
48. Watching the beauty of wildlife animals in their element
49. The first tulips that bloom every spring
50. The chipper birds outside your window, telling you the day has arrived
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Self Care & Personal Growth Pleasures
It feels good to take care of ourselves in a loving way, and these simple things push that special joy button.
51. A soothing bath or shower
52. Listening to your favorite music over and over
53. Accomplishing a goal that matters to you
54. Doing something nice for someone you love
56. Reading an all-consuming novel or action adventure
57. Traveling to a new place
58. Long walks in nature reflecting on life
60. A good, hearty belly laugh
61. Getting a pedicure
63. When you feel you look good (that outfit fits just right, your hair lays the right way, etc.)
64. A day where you don’t have to be anywhere
65. The way you feel after a workout that pushed you
66. Making a bucket list
67. Seeing a movie or reading a book that shifts your thinking
68. Listening to a song that resonates with you
69. Eating by candlelight
70. Sleeping in with no alarm to wake you
71. An afternoon nap just because
72. Taking a shower after you’ve been really dirty.
73. Dancing as if no one is watching
74. A crossed off to-do list
75. Letting go of something that has been bugging you for too long
Need a little self-care help? Sign up for these 50 ideas and a checklist to make your wellness more of a priority!
Food That Brings Joy
Next, food has always been about more than survival. Food bonds people together, takes us back to childhood memories, and celebrates life milestones. These foods add a spark of pleasure to any day I’m living.
76. Homemade buttered popcorn on the stove
77. A quality piece of chocolate
78. The smell of coffee in the kitchen
79. That first sip of your favorite coffee
80. The smell of a slow cooker meal cooking that fills your home
81. Watermelon on a hot day (or any day)
82. Sipping champagne
83. Fresh vegetables straight from your garden
84. Indulging in your favorite meal
85. Enjoying that bakery treat you’ve been lusting after
86. Mom’s chicken enchiladas. The food that brings childhood back.
87. Chocolate cream pie
88. Juicy summer tomatoes (that make the BEST BLTs)
89. Cookie dough (or the smell of fresh-baked cookies if any makes it)
90. Hot chocolate on a snowy day
91. Biting into a ripe, juicy berry
92. A slow-paced weekend brunch
94. The smell of fresh baked bread
95. When your new healthy recipe turns out to be a keeper with your family
96. A truly authentic meal from another culture
97. Friday night pizza and a movie
98. A hot steaming pot of chili on a cold day
99. Hershey’s peanut butter cups
100. A ballpark hot dog
Simple Home Goodness
And finally, home is where the heart is. And we should find many simple life pleasures where we spend so much of our time.
101. A clean house (with kids, anytime it’s clean is a pleasure!)
102. A gentle cool breeze through your window
103. Fresh clean sheets
104. Burning your favorite candle
105. Staring at a cozy fire in the fireplace
106. Noticing your bright fresh flowers on the counter
107. Enjoying a cup of coffee on the deck or patio
108. A new, untouched notebook or planner
109. Coming back to a clean house after a long trip
110. Finding money in your jacket pocket you forgot about
111. Relaxing on a porch swing
112. A piece of art or decor in your home that moves you
113. Your favorite cozy chair
114. An empty dishwasher
115. An organized desk
116. Getting into your warm bed after a long day
117. A freshly painted room (that feeling of newness with a simple color change)
118. Noticing your child’s drawing on the fridge
119. When a card comes in the mail
120. That fan that creates just the right amount of breeze and white noise
121. A newly cleaned shower
122. Close neighbors that you can count on for anything
123. The big comfy throw blankets to huddle under on a cold day
124. The photos of people you love lining the walls
125. Your favorite mug
Did Focusing on Simple Pleasures Work?
It sure did! Not only did it remind me of what I’m most grateful for, but it showed me how much beauty I take for granted every day. And frankly, it helped us lighten up after such a heavy period.
To Consider With Simple Joys
Finally, I read Matthew McConauhey’s book Greenlights recently, and at the end, he explains his desire to make his life “his favorite movie.” What an interesting idea! We can all achieve this if we stop to notice the simple miracles around us.
And what are your favorite simple pleasures in life? Do you have different joys?
More self-care posts & resources you’ll love…
- 75 Self-Loving Affirmations to Try
- The Best Quotes for Overcoming Adversity
- List of Habits That Will Improve Your Life
- The Deluxe Self-Care Planner
- The Free “Get Your Life Back” Email Challenge