In life, we oftentimes get so caught up in the past and the future that we forget to appreciate the present. We put so much focus on the big moments like that desired promotion, those stressful deadlines or even that vacation to Bali that we neglect to value the little things in life that matter the most. We undervalue the power of a simple smile, a genuine compliment, or even a hearty embrace.

Have you every considered that those big things are actually a compilation of little things? What happens when we forget to appreciate those small moments? Are we actually living our happiest life? To put this into perspective I will use the desired promotion as an example:

You wake up in the comfort of your plush blankets, your pillow supporting the natural curve of your neck. You look out the window and see that the sun is shining and the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. As you hop into the shower, you can feel the warm water dampening your skin and relaxing your muscles. You get out of that shower and grab a freshly cleaned towel that just came out of the dryer. Before you leave you grab a cup of your favourite coffee or tea, give your pet, significant other or both a kiss and you are on your way.

—— all of these small but delightful moments happen in the morning before you head out to work. These little moments such as the comfort of your mattress, your morning caffeine fix and giving a loving embrace all contribute to your happiness. When you are happier, you work harder. When you work harder, you get recognized. When you get recognized – do you see where I am going here? You get promoted!

Learning to appreciate life’s little wonders will allow for you to enjoy the present moment. You do not need to buy a brand new car and travel to a foreign city to find happiness. You just need to have an open mind. If you need a little inspiration for discovering all the magical little pleasures in your life then here are five to get you started:

Taking an extra long bath or shower.

We all do this every now and then, but do we ever take the time to really appreciate it? Having a hot shower or bath awakens all of your senses. You can smell the freshness of your soaps and skin products. You can feel the warm water on your skin. You can hear the the sounds of the water swishing and the droplets hitting the shower floor. You can taste the clean water as it falls onto your tongue. You can see the water droplets hit and run off of your skin. Take the time to appreciate all that a long bath or shower offers.

Listening to your favourite music.

I am sure you have at least one genre or music artist that can immediately lift your mood. Put it on and blare it (as long as it is not 7AM and you are living in an apartment building – I do not recommend this unless you are looking for angry neighbours). Sing it out loud and let the lyrics enlighten your soul!

Reading a chapter of a good book.

I don’t know about you, but every time I read a chapter of a really good book I feel extremely accomplished. I make it a goal to read for 15 minutes a day and if you are a bookworm like me, I suggest you do the same. Reading is magical! Whether you are into mystery, cooking, biographies, political thrillers, science fiction, or self help tips take the time to appreciate a good book.

Smiling at a stranger.

Did you know that we all have a superpower? This superpower can positively impact you and the lives around you! What is this questionable superpower you ask?! Smiling. Every time you smile you are throwing a positive party in your mind. Smiling is also contagious. Have you ever smiled at a stranger and they smiled back at you?! How did that make you feel? Pretty amazing, am I right?

Spending time with your beloved pet.

I don’t know about you but coming home to the excitement shown by my little bunny can easily make my day. Picking the little fella up while he scrambles to find his favourite, secure location cuddled up under my neck has to be one of my favourite ways to wrap up a long day. Not to mention the itty-bitty bunny kisses he gives instantly melt every inch of my heart. Whether you have a puppy that does circles in between your legs, have cats that patiently wait at the window for your arrival, or even a hamster doing circuits on his/her running wheel, take the time to recognize the comfort and joy they give you. 

Everyone is different and so are our little pleasures to be thankful for. Yours could be as simple as getting your eyeliner to be symmetrical on both sides, wearing your favourite pair of jeans, waking up and realizing you still have more time to sleep, or enjoying a delicious homemade meal. The list is going to vary for everyone. What is important is to take the time to recognize just how wonderful these little moments are and I can promise you that you will have a new appreciation for life.

My challenge for you: At the end of each day I challenge you to write down something that happened to you that day that you are thankful for. Don’t feel silly about what you write. Sometimes I will put something as simple as ‘that kale salad from Freshii’, or ‘I rocked that kickboxing class today’. Not only will this help you to learn to appreciate the little things, but this will also conclude your day on a positive note.