I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of small treats, small pleasures. They’re fun to experience, of course, and I think they also have a very important role to play in happiness.
When we feel depleted and drained, and when we have no time or energy devoted to the things that give us pleasure, we start to feel exhausted, resentful, and angry. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
But it can be surprisingly hard to think of what little treats you want to give yourself. So many pleasures come at a cost: cookies cost calories, movies and books take time and focus, a museum costs the price of a ticket. It’s good to have a list of treats and pleasures that have a very low cost in time, energy, or money.
For instance, I’ve become obsessed with the sense of smell, and I love the fact that a good smell can be enjoyed in an instant, with no cost. My latest favorite “treat,” which I save for moments when I need a bit of extra comfort or reassurance, is the accord “Hay” from CB I Hate Perfume. It’s a warm, sweet, summer smell…of hay. I only put it on as a special treat. (Of course, it did cost me something to buy it, but not too much, and never again.)
What small treats and pleasures have you found for yourself? Be honest! Not things that you think you should consider a treat, or what you wish you considered a treat (you may or may not find going for a run to be a treat), but things that you actually do consider a treat. Even if these aren’t particularly estimable.
Here are some examples that struck my imagination: twinkle lights, audio-books, going to an amusement park, looking through art books, looking through old photo albums, eye drops, video games, people-watching.
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.