We all have good days and bad days; this is just part of what makes us human. You may be able to readily name everything wrong with the day, but can you put into practice the habit of listing an equal number of (even very small) blessings? Lessening negativity and stress will greatly help with overall not only mental health but also physical health. So, whether you can’t shake those all-too-recent winter blues, seem to face bad news and bad luck everywhere you turn, or otherwise really need a pick-me-up, here are 10 simple but impactful moments to help you fall in love with life again.
10. Clean sheets
Let’s face it–not too much beats finally getting to go to bed after a long, hard day. –Nothing that is, but sliding into crisp, cool, clean sheets. Us humans are quite tactile creatures, and feeling hygienic, safe, comfy, and cozy is important in our bedtime routines and in getting high-quality rest to take on the next new day. Imagine it: throwing back your blanket to be greeted by the faint scent of laundry detergent and a wrinkle-and-crumb-free surface, climbing in, and throwing the sheets over you to create that delightful, slow-releasing air pocket thing that sheets do. This small and simple luxury makes hitting the hay all the more relaxing, offering us an even better night’s rest. Trust us, going through the sometimes annoying labor of changing the bed sheets to put on nice, smooth, tight, freshly laundered sheets is SO worth that feeling.
9. Finding a new song or album that you can’t stop listening to
Luckily it happens to many of us time and time again. We listen to the radio, the tune playing in the coffee shop, a friend’s music, a new music video, Spotify’s “Recommended” list, and we find it. “It” being that fresh song or album we can’t believe we haven’t heard or paid attention to before, and can’t seem to stop smiling, or stop listing to it! The new favorite song also seems to come to us at a time we need it, around the time we feel disenchanted listening to the same old stuff, or are just hungry for something to spark our love of music again. Discovering new favorite music over and over, being able to listen to, obsess over, and share our new favorite song, band, or album, dance to the beat, admire the skill of the musicians and/or singer’s voice, or connect in a special way to the lyrics is a greatly underrated feeling that happens to many of us often! From now on, when you listen to this heavily repeated song or album, it will bring you right back in your memories to the time in your life when you first heard it, bonded to it, fell head over heels for it, and why you still love it. And even after many years, every time you hear it, it is sure to bring a smile to your face, a spring in your step, and a warm feeling in your heart.
8. A pet’s affection
Hugs from humans ARE great, but having affection shown towards you from a beloved animal is truly, truly remarkable. When a pet shows you physical love and affection, they can only really mean it. We’re not underrating the love given from one human to another, but there is something very special about your dog’s head melting into your lap or your cat weaving through your legs with affection. Signs of affection like frantic dog kisses, unfiltered excitement at seeing you home, or when they use their paw to pull your hand back to their head for scratches. Things like cats purring against your chest, the coveted head-butt against your head, or the calm, slow blinks of trust they give right into your eyes. Special human-and-pet affection isn’t limited to dogs and cats of course. Any way that any pet cozies up to you, looks into your eyes, melts into your hands, or nuzzles into your neck is something deeply profound that we are lucky to all be able to experience.
7. The sounds of nature
If you ask people what their favorite sounds are, 90 to 100% of the answers are guaranteed to be the rich and varied sounds of nature. There is little else so calming and pure than all the amazing sounds of nature, such as birds singing in the early morning, the pleasing crunch and shuffle of dry autumn leaves, the soothing, steady crackle of a rainstorm, the rhythmic swell and crash of ocean waves, the nostalgic chirps of cicadas and spring peeper frogs,–even something as simple as wind blowing through the leaves. Luckily all these sounds and more are abundant, free, and always available (thanks to CDs and Internet videos and music services,) for us to hear, relax, reminisce, and experience.
6. The first sip of coffee/tea
The making (or buying) and consumption of hot coffee or tea: a daily ritual for the majority of the world. Crisp weather and up-way-too-early mornings warrant this all too regular routine of obtaining our tea or coffee to jumpstart the day. Everything about the “first morning cup” process is pleasing. The sounds of hissing steam, rustling tea packages, wrinkle of ground coffee bags, and the flutey rush of hot water pouring. The feeling of comfort when clasping a steaming mug between sleep-clumsied hands, warming finger joints awake. Bringing the cup to your dry mouth, taking in the aroma, and carefully testing to take that first sip, letting the heat wash through your chest and waking your taste buds. Something so very simple and common as a perfectly made hot drink early in the morning is sure to set your day right!
5. Sand in your hand
There are a plethora of tactile feelings we humans (sometimes strangely) relish, (slime, anyone?) but a seemingly universal and delightful, classic favorite is letting warm, dry sand run through your fingers. Whether at a desert, beach, a backyard, or playground, we can’t help running our hands through those billions of granules of sand. Typically, when we do have hands (or toes) in the sand, it more than likely means we are at one of the locations mentioned above. In that case, you’re probably there on vacation or at least playing and relaxing somewhere in nature. Feeling these fine grains slip over our feet and fingers grounds us to the moment—the here and now—helping you remember fondly that family vacation to the coast, road trip with friends to the desert, or watching your children play in a sandbox. Tactile and nostalgic, no one, despite the age, can resist that smooth and timeless sensation of dry sand running through your hands.
4. The moment before blowing out birthday candles
Birthdays are special in many ways, but one major way is that it’s a holiday that you don’t necessarily have to share with anyone or anything else. (That is, unless your birthday falls on another holiday or someone else’s birthday.) However, it is still a day that is special since it’s celebrating you! No more is this evident than the tradition of blowing out candles on a birthday cake. The room is dark, all eyes are on you, and you’re surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones as they sing Happy Birthday to you. Much like the turn of a an old year into a new on New Year’s, the ceremonial blowing-out-candles offers a chance for good luck, a fresh start, and special attention and focus applied to your goals and intentions. After the song is over, you get to sit in the glowing candle-light and concentrate on your hopes and wishes as you inhale, hold, then blow out each candle. The smell of blown-out birthday candles is widely memorable, and best thing is: now you can eat cake!
3. The first dive into a pool
Humans LOVE swimming–we cannot get enough of submerging and surrounding ourselves into deep pools of water. A sparkling, not-too-cold, clean and clear pool is an especially coveted treat. The first dive in–from dry to wet and smelling delightfully of chlorine–is easily one of the most invigorating feelings in the world. It’s akin to quenching thirst, except that it’s satiating your entire body; like your skin was in need of the thirst-quenching! Stretching out into a pool, whether you dive in or walk in to where it’s deep enough to lift your feet, floating in a pool is relaxing and refreshing every time; no matter how often you get to swim, that whole-body experience remains. The weightlessness and hydration are enough to keep us coming back to jumping in over and over again.
2. Towels straight from the dryer
Aside from meaning your laundry is done, fresh, hot linen from the dryer is a buffet for the senses: smelling of sweet dryer sheets and detergents, looking clean and smooth, and the feeling of soft, dry, warm, unique textures. Big towels are a treat to hold to your chest and wrap yourself up in, enveloping you in warmth and the comforting scent of laundry. It’s hard to replicate that certain special feeling of heat, so the common dryer isn’t such an underrated tool after all. There’s also the added bonus option of drying your wet laundry outside in the sun. The few of us who are lucky to have an area and climate we can do this in are privy to the next level of warm, dry laundry–with it being scented by the breeze and getting natural, sun-kissed toastiness. It doesn’t get more simple than this.
1. Getting a great haircut
Anything having to do with changing your appearance is exciting, fun, and shakes up the old routine. Getting a haircut–nay, a great haircut–is a niche, fairly straightforward, yet wonderful human routine. The subtle excitement of change, the feeling of someone’s hands running through your hair (a simple pleasure in itself,) and that exceptional sensation of getting your hair shampooed, combined with the metallic sounds of snipping scissors and the smell of soaps, hair products, and chemicals makes a trip to a salon or barber shop a whole body experience. Coming out of the visit with a fresh new appearance that makes you feel incredible inside and out definitely makes haircuts an underrated best moment of life.