Inside: What are your simple joys in life? Here is why intentionally listing them is helpful and 77 ideas to get you started.

Life can feel heavy and overwhelming at times. It takes intentional effort to slow down and notice the good that exists in the world.

While the news continues to focus on every sad story and any possible thing that has gone wrong, you can choose to balance your thoughts by looking for the good and creating your own gratitude practice.

Practicing gratitude can be as simple as listing things that bring you joy and make you smile.

Read on and we’ll look at:

  • why you should create a simple joys list
  • how to practice noticing the little things
  • 77 of my simple joys in life
writing in journal

Why Create a List of Simple Joys in Life?

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Six years ago I was going through a stressful time in my life. A mentor of mine suggested that we read through One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp.

We met weekly to talk about the book and challenged each other to come up with an increasing number of things we were thankful for and write them down in our gratitude journals.

Here are some of the benefits I experienced from creating that list of simple joys.

Get out of the comparison trap

With the constant barrage of social media and advertising, it’s easy to compare your life to the curated ones you see online. This can cause you to feel unhappy and dissatisfied with what you have because it appears that other people have it all together.

No one wins in the comparison game. In fact, it steals your joy.

A wonderful benefit to creating your own list of simple joys in life is that it causes you to focus on the things you do have. It shifts your perspective from one of lack to one of gratitude.

It will make you happier

As you practice looking for simple joys and writing down what you’re grateful for, it will increase your happiness.

Studies have shown that gratitude is closely related to greater happiness and contentment.

When you’re intentional with noticing what you’re grateful for and writing it down, it helps to shift your mindset and improve how you’re feeling. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself for a month and see what happens.

Having a list of positive things to remember when life feels more challenging is a great gift you can give your future self.

You’ll notice more things to be grateful for

When you feed your mind with positive thoughts, you change how you see the world.

As you practice noticing the little things to be grateful for, it eventually becomes a habit. The habit of looking for gratitude trains your mind to find more things to be grateful for.

Have you ever noticed that when you are car shopping you suddenly notice a lot of certain types of cars on the road? When you increase your level of awareness of a particular thing, you begin to notice more of it even if it was something that was there all along.

When I was initially creating my simple joys in life list, it felt challenging to come up with my goal number for that week. However, the longer we continued to practice it, the easier it became and the more things I noticed.

writing a list

How to Notice the Simple Joys in Life

There are a variety of ways you can begin to notice the simple joys in your life. The following tips will help you to make it an ongoing practice in your life.

Slow down

We live in a frenzied world where people seem to be constantly busy. Slowing down can sometimes be a challenge.

It takes intentionality and saying no to good things in order to protect your schedule and create margin in your life.

It’s hard to notice the simple joys in life when you’re too busy to slow down and look for them.

Set aside time to reflect

Along with slowing down is setting aside a specific time to reflect. Create space for thinking about your simple joys in life.

Time has a way of getting away from you if you aren’t purposeful in how you use it. Decide if setting aside time to reflect works best as part of your morning routine or your evening routine.

It’s a great way to start or end your day by thinking about even just a few of the things you’re grateful for.

Whenever you decide to do it, stick with it and make it a habit. If you get stuck, consider moments in your day when you felt the happiest and the most at peace. Think about the things that were meaningful to you or that brought a smile to your face.

Start a gratitude journal

Reflecting on positive things is one piece to the puzzle, but actually taking the time to write down what you’re grateful for will make an even bigger difference.

The act of writing down your simple joys in life helps to solidify those thoughts in your brain. It also gives you a written record for reference later.

We live in a negative world so choosing to focus on gratitude may not always feel easy. However, as you make a habit of writing in a gratitude journal, it will become second nature to you.

Gratitude won’t necessarily change your life circumstances, but it can change your perspective and how you feel about them.

simple joys in life

77 Simple Joys in Life

This is my (not exhaustive) list of simple joys in life that make me smile. Maybe some are the same for you. Or perhaps some of my ideas will spark ideas of your own.

1. Listening to rain hit the roof

2. A child’s giggle

3 An unexpected act of kindness

4. Seeing a beautiful sunset

5. Receiving a compliment

6. Sunshine through a window

7. The number 7

8. A pen that writes well

9. The smell of trees and earth in the forest

10. Watching This Is Us

11. Planning a vacation

simple joys in life

12. The smell right after it rains

13. The sound of birds chirping

14. The perfect tea latte

15. A text from a loved one

16. A smile from a stranger

17. Your favorite coffee mug

18. A meme that makes you laugh really hard

19. Picnic movie night in the living room

20. Breakfast for dinner

21. Reading a new book

22. Vacuumed floors

puppy

23. Watching a playful puppy

24. A vase with your favorite fresh flowers

25. Laughing until you cry

26. Setting a personal record in Taboo

27. Coming home to a clean house

28. Neighbors who become friends

29. Accomplishing a goal

30. A freshly made bed

31. Watching the British Baking Show

32. Playing family games

33. A summer thunderstorm

simple joys in life

34. Stargazing

35. Trying a fun new restaurant

36. Solving an escape room puzzle

37. A great cup of coffee

38. Finding the exact item you were looking for on sale

39. Catching up with a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile

40. A new notebook

41. Cinnamon rolls

42. The Holderness Family winning the Amazing Race

43. The sound of waves crashing

44. A song or smell that brings back good memories

simple joys in life

45. Finding the perfect meme to send to a friend

46. The crisp air of autumn

47. Eating food someone else made

48. A nature walk

49. Enjoying a water view

50. Friends who become family

51. The smell of freshly baked cookies

52. The change of the seasons

53. A soft & cozy blanket

54. Meeting someone who immediately gets you

55. Decluttered spaces

sleeping

56. A good night of sleep

57. Trying a new recipe that turns out great

58. The smell of your favorite hand soap or candle

59. Completing a task that you’d been avoiding

60. Someone else washing the dishes

61. A fire in the fireplace

62. Eating dinner outside on a warm summer evening

63. Homemade vanilla ice cream

64. Relaxing at the beach with those you love most

65. Reading a quote that resonates with you

66. The taste of ripe summer fruit

baby sleeping

67. Holding a sleeping baby

68. The smell of clean laundry

69. Unexpectedly running into a friend at the grocery store

70. Listening to a helpful podcast episode

71. Singing along to your favorite song

72. Doing something thoughtful for someone else

73. A baby’s smile

74. Finding a missing item

75. Hitting a pinata

76. Carrying on your favorite childhood traditions with your kids

77. Marking a task off your to-do list

simple joys in life

What are your favorite simple joys in life? Share them in the comments section!

Now it’s time to create your list of simple joys in life that make you smile. I’d love to hear some of them.

Creating your list of simple joys and making a habit of gratitude will change your life for the good!

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12 Comments

  1. Reading this list just made me slow down and reflect I am committing to journalling more and writing things down. Thank you!

  2. Great post! We all need this reminder and your list was beautiful. I am immediately thinking of my dog snuggling me, a hot cup of tea while I write, getting lost in a sewing project and sitting in the sun looking at a big puffy white cloud against the bright blue sky!

  3. The smell and feel of really old books, the warmth of a fire on a cold winter night, silk on your skin, my fiance’s hands, the summer sounds of crickets and frogs, See’s chocolates, strawberry daiquiri juice, lawn swings, furry purry kitties, rocks minerals gems and fossils, vintage clothes, cinnamon streusel coffee cake, beachcombing, board games, Josh Groban’s romantic songs, the Piano Guys, Shakespeare, a good romance novel, homemade potato salad and devilled eggs, baklava, gorgeously impractical fabrics, the first blossoms of spring, roses in full bloom, dandelions, stargazer lilies, stars in the country, rescuing earthworms after a hard rain, picking home-grown grapes, playing with snails, ballroom dancing, candlelight kisses, Wind Song and Muguet de Bois perfumes, silver fox beards on older men, laugh lines and dimples, comfortable shoes and silly socks, lilacs, humor, chocolate milk, antique lace…. too many things to list!

  4. Laura Shomshak:
    I love your list! It made me smile just to read so many of my favorite things I’m grateful for, so I guess that I can add Laura Shomshak’s list to my gratitude list!
    Thank you!

  5. Loved your list. One of my simple Joy’s is playing wordle every morning. I love the challenge, my bowling league, and seeing my pup enjoying her walk. I can almost see her grinning as she runs along. Thank you

  6. Curled up on the sofa, with a sleeping cat, watching one of my favourite programmes. Fresh toast, butter and marmite. A neighbour calling for a chat. Silently saying thank you to the universe for all the things I have to be grateful for x

  7. One of my favorite simple joys is sitting alone and remembering happy memories. One that came to mind today was the time years ago when my boyfriend (future husband) and I celebrated New Year’s Eve by kissing in the new year. We live on the East coast. We had the crazy idea to kiss in the new year for each U.S. time zone and did.

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