In life, it’s often the simple things that make us the happiest.
Whether it be the infectious grin of a child, an unexpected call from an old friend or the fresh smell cherry blossoms on a crisp spring morning, there’s no denying that basic, simple surprises seem to frequently bring the most happiness and joy into our daily lives.
However, in today’s fast paced super-connected world of smart phones, high speed internet and instant gratification, it’s easy to forget true happiness (in the form of simple things) can literally be found around every corner; that is, if only one knows where – and when – to look.
And therein lies the first problem; it seems that people are so busy looking down all the time that they miss so much of the good stuff.
It’s true: Whether it’s walking down the street or through crowded shopping malls, these days people are always busy looking down at smart phones; or while on their daily bus commute or in the back of cabs they’re often looking down at tablets or phones; or while in coffee shops, libraries and even outside at parks, people seem to always, always ALWAYS looking down at one computer screen or another!
This constant looking down means that folks miss out on all the wacky and wonderful things going on all around them – wacky and wonderful REAL LIFE things that would most definitely bring a smile to their face, or a warm feeling in their belly or possibly even a tear to their eye, but only if given a chance to do so.
These incredible feelings and emotions – the kind that touch our hearts and souls – are available anytime; but they are also reserved for those who take time to notice their surroundings, and then react to them. Which brings me to the second problem people who lack happiness seem to have, which is the idea that real happiness must be pursued, in order to be achieved.
Again, it’s a sad but true fact that many people believe that real happiness is an elusive beast, one that only shows up after much planning, sacrifice and luck; or as the result of a big event happening or brand new acquisition. Their personal “Happiness Model” says something like “If only I had X (whatever “X” is) THEN I’d be happy”.
For example, while getting a new car makes most of us happy, over time the stress of maintenance costs, insurance, depreciation – not to mention the long-term financing put in place so you could have that car – soon outweigh the initial joy felt when purchasing. After a while the vehicle becomes a routine part of life, one that no longer brings the happiness it once did. In fact, if the dominate emotion associated with a car becomes stress, it actually winds up bringing unhappiness.
Or how about big, lavish vacations? You know, the ones down south spent at sun-drenched all-inclusive resorts? The kind where people consume their body weight in buffets and tropical-themed cocktails? Some folks feel their time to “be happy” will finally arrive during a week or two spent at such places, while spending the 50 weeks prior in a constant state of pent-up frustration and stress, often being angry at everything (and everyone) around them… in my book, calling this plan a plan for happiness is pure madness!
And while we’re at it, the same can be said for certain jobs and career paths, right?
Oh sure, everyone (including me) enjoys nice cars and fancy vacations (and good jobs), but the truth is these big ticket items aren’t the be-all-end-all route to our being happy; not by a long shot.
I’d suggest that joy and happiness is available for anyone, anytime, by simply taking time to appreciate the – well – simple things in life.
Rather than waiting for big events, material acquisitions or bold career moves to feel happiness, it would behoove most folks to step back, look up from their screens and take time out to notice the joy and beauty found in the simple things around them. Doing regularly this would be like having “happiness” on speed dial, meaning it available for them at anytime of the day!
Seriously, can you imagine how great would that be?
22 Simple Things That Make Me Happy
With this idea in mind, I’d like to list a few of the simple things in life that make me feel joy and happiness – that is, as long as I take my own advice, and look up to take the time to notice them – which these days, I pretty much always do.
- The sound of happy, giggling, smiling children
- Listening to beautiful opera or classical music
- Eating bacon and eggs in a greasy spoon or diner
- The sweet scent of the Beacon Hill Park Rose Garden in the summer
- Reading inspirational and true stories written by remarkable people
- The smell of freshly ground espresso beans… then drinking the coffee made from them!
- Feeling wet sand (and warm ocean) between my toes on any beach
- Curling up on the couch with the fire on, and a good book to read
- Honouring my commitment to finishing a gym workout each day
- Cooking (and then eating!) really good food on the BBQ
- Enjoying a big, honkin’ glass of merlot
- Joining together numbers 10 & 11 and adding in some good friends
- The smell of freshly roasted lamb that’s been cooked with rosemary
- Ditto with a whole roasted chicken – love this!
- Meeting wonderful, like-minded people and sharing stories
- Reading Walden by Thoreau
- The crisp feeling of a clear, cold winter morning
- The feeling I get plunging my hands into freshly cooked pasta before saucing it
- The face of a child who truly believes it when they meet Santa
- The sight, sound and feel of a happy cat
- Having a large serving of McDonalds french fries all to myself
- This guy…
If the idea of finding joy in the simple things of life also resonates with you, then why not take a little time today to look up, and then around to see what or who is around that can warm your heart?
I promise that if you take the time to do so, you’ll be both happy and glad that you did; you can take my word on it!
Now go be awesome!