Some people call it contentment. I prefer the phrase “ambient joy,” because it speaks to the subtle bliss we get from the total effects of the little things in life.
Studies show that regularly writing down the things you're grateful for can have a profound impact on your emotional wellbeing. Here's Jenée Desmond-Harris writing for Vox:
There's a growing body of serious research that expressing gratitude can really, concretely make your life better. The best part is, you don't even have do to any mental contortions to make sure you feel it — you can just go through the motions of acting as if you do.
The findings are dramatic. The practice of gratitude (which can truly be as simple as jotting down notes about what you're thankful for) has been called "velcro" for wellbeing and deemed "the new willpower."
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some of the little things I'm grateful for:
- Really soft bed sheets
- The minty shampoo I use that makes my scalp feel tingly
- The browser extension that adds a dark mode to all websites when I have that setting enabled
- The smell of coffee
- Warm breezes on cool summer nights
- Freshly paved roads
- Waking up without an alarm
- Stretchy jeans
- Well-picked emojis 😊
- Unobtrusive bits of whimsy, like the bottom of a mug that says "low tide"
When we give thanks for the little things, they help hold together the tapestry of a life well-lived.
And of course, I'm grateful for many things that are not so little, including the people like you who take time to read my work.
As always, thanks for reading.