LittleThings that Bring Us Joy

A few years ago, my friend Helen gave me the following quote by British novelist, Iris Murdoch:

"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats."

For some reason, this simple line struck a cord with me and I've kept it with me ever since. Over the last few months, it's been a helpful reminder of how the little things we do that bring us pleasure can be an enormous gift of comfort during difficult times. This week, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite examples with you in the hopes that you find one or two new ideas that might bring you a little happiness, too.

Here are some of the things I do that bring pleasure to my life:

  • Get lost in a good novel.
  • Eat a really good piece of chocolate.
  • Leave funny messages on a friend's voicemail.
  • Put a few drops of a favorite essential oil on my pillow at bedtime.
  • Spend the day working in my pj's.
  • Stay up late and watch back-to-back episodes of LOST on DVD.
  • Watch the New Earth webcasts on my laptop while in the tub.
  • Buy a beautiful teacup at a local antique shop and use it when I get home.
  • Sit it in the sun on the deck of our new house.
  • Put lots of Nourishing Lavender Lotion on my feet with warm socks before going to bed.
  • Sit by the window with a cup of tea and watch the birds, squirrels, and deer in my back yard.

These small acts of pleasure cost very little money (if any), and can easily fit into a busy day. If you take a few moments to think about it, I bet you can come up with your own list of pleasures -- the kind of things that add joy to your day, soothe your heart, or calm your mind when things get crazy.

When we're going through a stressful time, it's easy to lose track of the things that make us feel good. So, years ago I made a list in a journal and copied it so I'd always have access to it. Over time, I've added to it as well. It's a great exercise -- something you could do right now. See our "Take Action Challenge" below and get a head start on adding a little more joy to your life. Remember, pleasure is good for the soul.

Take Action Challenge

What brings you pleasure? Stop for a moment and jot down four or five things that you do to make yourself feel comforted. Do you sing, listen to great music, doodle, or buy yourself flowers? Once you have a few ideas in mind, do one of them today. If you have a hard time thinking of examples, don't worry. It only means that it's been too long since you've thought about your soul-care. Close your eyes and scan your past for clues. They're there. Just wait . . .

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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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