Staying Happy in Everyday Life: Look Forward to the Little Things
What Makes Me Happy?
I often stop to think about what it is that is making me happy in the current moment. I realized that most of the time, it is because I am looking forward to something. Life instantly becomes much better when there is something to look forward to. And the best thing is that it is not only the actual event which is enjoyable; the entire time leading up to it becomes exciting.
A Short-Term Purpose
Looking forward to things helps to divide our time into portions. This is a useful outlook as it gives us almost a target or a time frame. If there is something enjoyable coming up, we hardly think of anything which follows. Our enthusiasm shifts to the particular event; it's like marking the days off on the calendar.
It is very hard to work continuously; we all need frequent breaks from our routine lives in order to recharge. Our daily lives may be monotonous, and at times, even exhausting. Having something to look forward to makes it much easier to deal with and also gives us a bit of motivation. There will always be thoughts like, "The sooner I get through this, the sooner I can do that."
We all have things for which we wait in anticipation. When we are feeling low, it helps to remember these things, however insignificant they may seem.
The Joy of Looking Forward to Things
As a child, finding something to look forward to was quite simple. Things as small as waiting to watch a favorite cartoon or to eat a favorite candy gave so much joy. I can remember the days at school when I was so excited to get back home, just because I knew that my favorite ice-cream was sitting in the freezer. As we got through our school years, there was a standard list of things that we longed for—the occasional holiday, birthday parties, fun school events, the end of our exams and, ultimately, the vacation or break at the end of each year.
As adults, since we have more significant problems, it sometimes feels like we need bigger things to keep us happy. Things like trips and events usually get us excited; when there is an upcoming trip or event, we can sometimes hardly think of anything else. In the case of a trip, the excitement starts with researching possible places and choosing the perfect destination. There is then a lot of planning and preparation required—booking the tickets, preparing the itinerary, finding the best hotels, listing out the tourist spots, shopping, and so on. All this keeps us busy; any spare time goes into preparing for the trip. As we count down the days, our excitement increases. It helps to brighten our mundane lives and makes the days seem to pass by faster.
Look at the Smaller Things
As thrilling as these big trips or events are, we can't plan such things too often. We usually need to find happiness in the simpler things in our lives. There are probably numerous things that we are waiting for, whether we are aware of it or not.
One of the common things that most of us wait for every week is Friday. It is something that helps get us through the week—waiting to kick back and relax after many a hectic day. And if there are some specific fun plans for the weekend, even better.
There are many examples like this in our everyday lives for which we wait.
We wait to:
- finish work for the day.
- meet loved ones.
- watch a new episode of a favorite show.
- watch a movie.
- visit, or order food from a favorite restaurant.
- read a book.
- write an article.
- tend to a garden.
- go home to a pet.
- receive a salary.
- catch up with friends.
- workout or go for a run.
- go shopping, or receive a package or delivery.
- try a new recipe.
Make It a Big Deal
Find the small things in life that make you happy and try to genuinely acknowledge these things. It may seem like making a big deal out of very ordinary things, but honestly, if it could make you happier, there is no harm in doing this. You could even combine a few of these small things in order to make them even better.
For instance, instead of watching a much-awaited movie alone at home, call over a few of your friends or family and enjoy it together. You could get some delicious snacks or try cooking something together beforehand.
Or, if you prefer to watch movies alone, do so in a way that will bring you maximum satisfaction. If you have the option of watching it on a bigger screen, use it; don't strain your eyes unnecessarily by squinting at your phone. Treat yourself to your favorite dish or enjoy a glass of your favorite drink while you watch the movie.
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realise they were big things."— Kurt Vonnegut
Make It a Routine
When we think of the word 'routine', we usually picture our boring, monotonous schedules. However, we can also make a routine of the activities which we enjoy.
- If you enjoy cooking or baking, make it a point every weekend to try a new recipe, or to perfect an old one.
- Plan a weekly/monthly meet-up with friends to enjoy and share your joys and troubles.
- Make a list of movies that you would love to watch and then frequently make your way through this list. You could even have a regular movie night with friends or family.
- If you like to exercise, join a gym or class where you can enjoy your workout, or try not to miss going for your daily long run.
Whatever it is and however small it may seem, try to make it an activity that you eagerly await as you get through your hectic day. We can very easily turn simple things into wonderful memories.
Enjoy the Moment
When the time comes, forget all else and enjoy the moment to the fullest. Be happy doing whatever it is that you love. Don't waste time and spoil the experience by worrying about the future.
We might feel a bit dejected when it is over, but this just means that it is time to look forward to the next thing. If there is no such thing in the near future, it's time to start planning!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Lisha C