HOW TO ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE: A GENTLE REMINDER FOR A BUSY LIFE
Busy life encourages us to do more, achieve more, be more… and expect more. In this article I’m encouraging us to measure life differently with some simple tips on how to enjoy the little things in life. It’s a gentle reminder to slow down, live intentionally and appreciate all that we have.
WHY ARE THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE IMPORTANT?
Busy life encourages us to do more, achieve more, be more… and expect more. We raise the bar high for ourselves, our careers, our holiday destinations, our dreams and hopes. We mark the success in our lives by whether we hit milestones, targets, deadlines.
Yet, trying to live up to our own expectations often means we’re head down and pushing on. We notice and sometimes stop to deal with the good and bad, the highs and lows and the things that shout loudest for our attention, but we sometimes ignore or miss the little things.
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” (John Wooden)John Wooden
CLEARING CLUTTER, LIVING INTENTIONALLY AND MAKING SPACE FOR THE LITTLE THINGS
Decluttering our homes, making intentional decisions about the focus and direction of our lives and striving for a simpler, clutter-free life helps to re-focus our brains on the present.
An over-stuffed life is too crammed full of stuff that we only notice the really good and the really bad. A simple life gives us space and it gives those little things space too.
I believe in the power of intentional living, choosing the direction for our life with choices and actions that support us and prioritising what truly matters.
I’m less buffered around by life than I used to be. I still have a busy life and things don’t always go to plan (!) but generally, I’m more able to slow down, take a break and reflect when I need to.
With this, I’ve learnt how to enjoy the little things in life much more and give them more attention and priority. I’d like to share what I’ve learnt here.
Further reading: What is intentional living? A complete guide and practical steps to finding clarity and focus in your every day.
HOW TO ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS
Here are some little tips to help you slow down, appreciate and learn how to enjoy the little things.
1. Make space
Little things are small. They’re easily missed, especially when we’re conditioned to respond to big is best. The first step in enjoying the little things is to make space for them to appear. Slow down as you walk to work, notice the birds and the leaves, the sounds and the colours of nature. Cut something out of your diary and enjoy snuggling on the sofa with a book instead of whatever your diary was telling you to do at that time instead. Make space, in your time, your diary, your home, your life.
2. Be present
It’s one thing to create the space, but it’s another to really notice things. As you walk back from dropping the kids off at school, are you noticing those birds singing and the sun on your face or are you thinking of a work deadline or what to cook for dinner tonight? We can’t stop the thoughts coming into our minds, but we can choose how to act upon them.
3. Slow down
For your first cup of coffee or tea in the morning, do you gulp it down to give you a caffeine boost as you fly to get everyone up and out the door, feeding the dog, making breakfasts, overseeing teeth-brushing and all the time hoping you’re not going to be late for work? Or do you get up a little early, pour your favourite hot coffee in to your favourite mug, sit in your favourite comfy chair and thoughtfully plan your day? And then, only then, get yourself and everyone else ready for the day ahead? Maybe not! It’s not possible to savour the moment if you’re rushing, either in person or in your brain. Take steps to slow down, do one thing at a time, carve out peace and time for you.
Related post: Why You Should Slow Down Sometimes
4. Stop chasing
I’ll be happy when… I’ll feel successful when… I’ll have made it when… Stop chasing what you think will make you feel complete, happy, successful, rich, fulfilled and be content with what you have now. If you chase too much, life ends up being all about the chase. What happens if the goalposts move or you can’t chase anymore?
5. Stop waiting
If you wait for good things to happen you could be waiting a long time. Instead start your own search to find things that make you happy, bring you comfort and calm. Take responsibility for yourself and your own peace of mind and stop waiting for it to drop into your lap. A good first step on this journey could be by exploring how to enjoy the little things in life!
Related post: 20 ways to be happier
6. Be receptive
Not everything in life has to be shiny and irresistible. Sometimes we have to be open to receiving things that are subtle, quiet and hidden. Just because something isn’t bright neon doesn’t mean we can’t see it, we just have to look a little harder and be receptive to looking at the world differently. Perhaps you hate gardening because it sucks your energy, gets you muddy and needs doing even if the weather’s not great. Flip that round and feel proud and happy when the little bulbs you planted last Autumn start to pop through to mark the start of Spring. How you think about things determines how you feel about them. Be open to simple, little pleasures that you might have overlooked or dismissed before now.
7. Avoid envy and comparison
The green-eyed monster and the grass is greener both dwindle when you focus on what you do have instead of what you haven’t. Envy and comparison are tricky mindsets that do little to encourage and support us. Yes, it’s good to take inspiration from others, but when it stifles your own spirit, then it’s time to let go. Finding joy in the little things will help you move on.
Suggested resource: Master Your Mindset – a powerful workbook with practical self-care tips to cultivate a healthy, positive mindset
8. Be grateful
Fed up of the raindrops falling from the trees? At least we have rain! Focus on the silver lining and you might be grateful for the cloud that created it. Gratitude is one of my go-to mindsets to lift me on a bad day. Listing a few things that I’m grateful for restores peace in my heart and mind. It stops me complaining and turns that bad day on its head. And what’s surprising, is the number of times the little things in life find their way on to my gratitude lists! Back to that first sip of tea or the dawn chorus from the birds.
Free challenge: 30-day Gratitude Challenge
9. Rinse and repeat
They may be little things but done often enough they can become familiar, trusted and valued parts of our daily routine. That first sip of tea is a staple part of my morning routine that I do every day. A little walk in nature forms part of my daily exercise routine. Each time I take a sip or take that walk I notice, hear, feel or think something new.
Related post: 24 Simple Daily Habits to Make Life Easier
EXAMPLES OF HOW TO ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS
If your life is busy and you’d like to explore how to enjoy the little things, I hope this article has helped you find space to begin for yourself.
Here are some examples of little things that you could enjoy for yourself and/or share with others.
- The taste of food
- The sights, smells and sounds of nature
- A pop of colour in your home
- Pay someone a compliment
- A smile
- A glass of water in your favourite glass
- Keeping a diary and journaling your thoughts
- Your favourite book like an old friend
- A cozy corner in your home which calms and relaxes you
- Fresh bed linen when you snuggle down for the night
- A clean, tidy and organised fridge
- Something that makes you laugh
- Getting up a little earlier to get prepared for the day ahead
- A cuddle with your pet
- The feel of your favourite outfit and how it makes you feel about yourself
- Meditation, listening to your breathing and clearing your mind
- Share a laugh or a hug with loved ones
- Reflect on something that’s gone well
- The sunset
We measure our life in milestones and how many things we can tick off our bucket lists. Perhaps we should take a different set of measurements?
“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” (Frank A. Clark)Frank A. Clark