Small Pleasures

small-pleasuresBe or not to be…. happy. That’s the question! I could start writing here a wide range of theories and research about what makes us happy and a lot more about the subject. Happiness is definitely a BIG deal, but the good news is that it is made out of small things. And this is what I want to share here with you all today, how small actions, changes, decisions, can make us feel good, very good.

Not long ago I read an article about small pleasures, but what really caught my attention were the comments posted by other readers describing how they treat themselves. Proving that you don’t need a lot of money, or a lot of time to have those little moments of delight that become great as part of your well-being.

Between my favourites on that list were  “searching for new quotes and posting them around my apartment”, “planning a trip”, “getting into a freshly made bed with clean bed linen, clean pyjamas having just had a lovely bath.”, writing (yes with pen and paper!) a letter to a friend”, “warm bubble baths with a good book or magazine”, “going back in time on my fb wall for old memories and smiles” and “making a new music playlist”.

I also have my own little pleasures, and some of them are drinking a fruit tea before going to sleep, lighting scented candles, doing my nails, baking or trying a new desert recipe, calling one of my good friends for a long chat, exfoliate my hands or my feet with moisturising and sugar, lying on the couch under a blanket while I read or watch a movie, organising my closet and drawers, drinking a virgin mojito, trying new hairstyles (even if I always use the same), or listening to a song I really like, again and again until I know the lyrics by heart 🙂 I love this one!

I found two of the comments on the list pretty inspiring:  “writing postcards or short notes to 5 people from your past you are grateful for.” how good does it feel to thank someone for something you really appreciate?“I also have a set of ‘nice things’ which are all written on small cards, I package them up into a pretty box, write an explanatory note and give them to people as a present – birthday, wedding or just when they’re feeling a little down. I usually phrase it as a ‘random reminder’ of the beautiful things in the world.” nice one! eh? there is no biggest satisfaction than giving… so, here is the full list with nice ideas worth to try whenever you want to have a ‘me moment’ or even better schedule it as a new routine every week, month, year or after a stressful day, it will make you feel great!

  • Pinterest, warm bubble baths with a good book or magazine, a good fb chat with a favorite friend, cooking something exciting or new, playing backgammon, reading favorite blogs, going out with my camera, collecting seashells and stones, Instagraming, making a cocktail, going back in time on my fb wall for old memories and smiles, staring at the sea looking for otters and seals, a proper dinner at the table, flickering smelling great candles, daydreaming about favorite times and hopeful future scenarios.” 
  • “I have an ongoing list of “small treats” and comforts, which includes going for a walk, making a new music playlist, doing a face mask, going to bed early, “window shopping” for clothing online. “
  • “Getting into a freshly made bed with clean bed linen, clean pyjamas having just had a lovely bath. Even better if I know the general household cleaning is done/things are ready for tomorrow – this is my Sunday evening treat and it’s such a pleasure I rarely suffer from ‘Oh no, it’s Monday tomorrow blues’.”
  • “Making a pot of tea rather than just putting a teabag in a mug. Somehow the ritual of it and the fact that you need to wait a moment or two for it to brew slows the entire day down and stops me feeling rushed. It’s a moment of calm!”
  • “Some friends and I once had a discussion about this on a long train journey. I can’t remember them all now but we made a list of ‘The things that make you go mmmm…’ I also have a set of ‘nice things’ which are all written on small cards, I package them up into a pretty box, write an explanatory note and give them to people as a present – birthday, wedding or just when they’re feeling a little down. I usually phrase it as a ‘random reminder’ of the beautiful things in the world.”
  • “Regarding letters … I agree! In one of Julia Cameron‘s books on creativity, she gives the “homework” assignment of writing postcards or short notes to 5 people from your past you are grateful for. Writing these was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. And imagine how delighted I was when I heard back from my favorite high school teacher after more than 20 years. Needless to say, she was delighted as well.”
  • “I love the idea of finding no or low-cost rewards! In addition to many of the rewards mentioned by others, I love: finding an inspiring podcast, doing a mini-pamper session, sitting on my balcony with a cup of tea, exploring a new suburb of Sydney, planning a trip, “dozing” time (literally lie on the couch and do nothing but let my mind wander and go in and out of naps), searching for new quotes and posting them around my apartment, finding and drinking a new tea, and rearranging my furniture.”

Being in a good mood is up to you. Let me know if you give yourself small treats, or if your feel inspired, make your own list and share it here with me 🙂

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WHAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU SLEEP… and the benefits of good sleeping habitZzZZzzZz

I remember my dad telling me how much I was “wasting my life” when sleeping very long hours as a teenager. What he didn’t know and neither did I at that time, is that teenagers need more hours sleep, and that the average humans spend about 30% of their lives sleeping! These and many other facts are part of the reasons why sleeping is a very important part of our biology, not only when we are growing but throughout our whole lives.

I recently watched this TED talk about the ‘neuroscience of sleep’ and I thought it was worth to share it here and  spread the word about the importance of getting enough sleep, and how it affects directly our mood, productivity, physical appearance, happiness and well-being.

Russell Foster, circadian neuroscientist and great speaker, explains better all these in short. He starts saying how little we know about sleeping, our “ignorance” about the subject. We don’t ask why we sleep and we don’t know why it’s so important. Sleeping plays an essential role in the status of our body and mind, and understanding the main existing ideas about the reasons why we sleep, such as: “body restoration, energy conservation, brain processing and memory consolidation”; could probably help to find the answers to some of your problems, and how to fix them easily! In addition, see why ‘sleeping is not an indulgence’, as some people may think.

Contrary to what it seems, while we sleep there is a lot of activity in our brains. It is known that while sleeping the brain presents a cycle of brain-wave activity. “What we know, and what we learn gets attenuated while we sleep; novel solutions to complex problems come up while sleeping; sleeping well enhances creativity”, Says Mr. Foster. And not only that, but sleeping well enough increases concentration, levels of attention, decision-making and more. No wonder why we say “I will sleep on it”, or as we would say in Spanish “I’ll consult it with my pillow”, when making our mind about an important matter.

While some people say: “I will sleep when I’m dead”, they don’t know that you could die sooner if you don’t sleep. Actually, if a human doesn’t sleep for about 11 to 14 days he/she will just die of sleep deprivation, passing through really bad stages of hallucination (around the 3rd day), dementia (after 5 to 6 days) and ultimately death. But we don’t need to go that far to be seriously affected by not sleeping enough. It is proved that some mental disorders like bipolar, depression and schizophrenia are associated with the lack of sleep. As well as, health problems like stress, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.

I didn’t know exactly how important it was to sleep, but those who know me, also know how much I love it. After watching this video and researching a little more about the subject, I truly believe this is one of the reasons why I’ve been always healthy, energetic and enthusiastic.

I invite you to watch it, see what to do to sleep better and help yourself to be more productive, healthier, smarter and even prettier!

Sleep is the golden chain that ties our health and bodies together

Thomas Decker

Additionally, if you are a fan of the “5 more minutes” please don’t miss this other video and think about it next time you want to press the snooze button:

I hope you liked this post, enjoyed the videos, start having longer sleep nights and consequently, more pleasant days. Do you sleep enough? Have your sleep habits changed over time? –I’d love to hear your comments, have a good night 🙂