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Earlier today, I read the tiny buddha article 40 Little Things That Make a Big Difference In Your Day. It wasn't the 40 things themselves that spoke to me, but the message itself: that small pleasures throughout the day can be more satisfying than a grand experience had all at once, and that they can make the difference between a bad day and a good one.

One thing that I also got out of it, but which was not directly stated, is that these small pleasures aren't necessarily absent from the "bad" days—it's just that we tend to not notice them, or we're too distracted by "bigger things" to take time to appreciate them.

For me, just deciding to take notice of the nice things has already made a significant improvement in my mood today. I did three things, specifically, that I otherwise would have done anyway, but that I chose to make significant by paying attention to the fact that they made me feel good. Those things were:

  1. I closed the Facebook tab in my web browser. It's amazing how much of a mood booster it is to not look at everyone's negativity, intransigence, and mean-spiritedness all day. A year on LiveJournal doesn't generate the kind of gut-roiling, twitch-inducing anger/despair that even a single day on Facebook does (my feuds with various egotistical science fiction authors, boy-toys of D-list celebrities, and well-meaning-but-misguided political analysts notwithstanding).

  2. I enjoyed an outdoor lunch at Mike's BBQ. I sat in the shade, which was pleasantly warm, and ate a tri-tip sandwich with wonderful hickory barbecue sauce and some very well-prepared fries, with a bottled black cherry soda to drink. It was very pleasant and refreshing.

  3. When I returned to work, I had a cup of coffee. I know, that may not sound like much, but I thought of it as the "dessert" to the lunch I'd just enjoyed, and that made it a much nicer experience.

Obviously, the idea isn't to fill up ones day with these things, just to notice and enjoy them as they come along. But it's enlightening to discover the difference that just that little change makes.

What are some of the little pleasures you enjoy throughout your day or week?

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
neo_tanuki
Jul. 25th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
Looking at cute pictures of my baby daughter on my phone. It is a great little pick-me-up to behold her cuteness in between long stretches of work. :D

Eating lunch outside on nice days is one I like too!
ebenbrooks
Jul. 25th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's uncanny what having actual daylight around you, even if you're sitting in the shade, can do for your mood if you stop to take it in.

And, of course, cute babies are a panacea. Especially if they're your own. :)
niall_shapero
Jul. 25th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
BBQ
I read item (2), and my mouth began to water. Yes, it definitely sounds like one of those nice things...
ebenbrooks
Jul. 25th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
Re: BBQ
Mike's is a really good place. And sitting outside also means that I'm not surrounded by fifty televisions all tuned to ESPN. :)
hotmarscube
Jul. 25th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
1. Laughing away in my improv class last night.

2. Hugging my wife and child before heading off to work this morning.

3. Sitting in the car at lunch with the windows down and thinking about my card game, my upcoming birthday party, and the doll con in November.

4. Seeing happy postings on facebook.

--Bruce da bold
ebenbrooks
Jul. 25th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
Those all sound like marvelous things. :) I'm looking forward to that party myself. It sounds like it'll be a lot of fun.
tygenco_x
Jul. 25th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
1. Knowing I'm enrolled for classes for the fall semester. (there will be an actual post on this, I think)

2. Seeing that I've continued to slowly lose weight, even if it's been only a few ounces at a time.

3. My INR (pro-time; aka clotting time of the blood) is 2.6, which is where it needs to be.

4. Having a cool glass of water after my bike ride.

5. Listening to the cute message left on my phone from my nephew (he said my name! for the first time!) who I love dearly and worry about Quite Often.

6. Have been getting better with my artwork. Constantly.
ebenbrooks
Jul. 25th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! And yes, I agree that progress, even small steps, can be a very happy-making thing. And cold water after exercise. :) (Though if I've worked out particularly hard, my body tends to crave a big bowl of pho.)
ebenbrooks
Jul. 26th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
By the bye, I love your icon! Where's it from?
tygenco_x
Jul. 26th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
From Quotable Cards. This one here.

I love their products and wish I could afford to get them more often.
ebenbrooks
Jul. 26th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks!
dragonluk
Jul. 26th, 2012 05:53 am (UTC)
Brewing that first cup of tea.

A sketch that comes together easily.

Tall, cold glass of water after a workout.

Poking my husband in the arm.
ebenbrooks
Jul. 26th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Re: that last one: yeah, but how does your husband feel about that one? ;-)

Totally agree about the tea. A good cuppa black tea with milk and sugar ... mmmmmmmmm. :)
Sybille_Tezzele
Jul. 26th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
Looking at the woodpecker in the tree in front of my balcony, early in the morning. Taking a little trip with my dog. And a cup of GOOD coffee makes my day!! :)
ebenbrooks
Jul. 26th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
Coolness! :) Yeah, there's nothing like good coffee. (There's also nothing like bad coffee ... for being utterly vile. ;-) )
(Deleted comment)
ebenbrooks
Jul. 30th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
All excellent things. :)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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