50 tiny, simple things you can do right now that are proven to make you happier

This time of year we usually gather with family and friends all together far and wide for a decadent nap-inducing feast. The coronavirus pandemic has altered some of those traditional rituals we usually engage in around the holidays.

This year forced me to really look around and consider all the little blessings in my life, (sometimes hiding in plain sight,) but in relative abundance once I paid attention.

I hope while you enjoy your leftovers you’ll also make your own gratitude list for the tiny miracles that bring you joy each day. It’s a practice worth doing and can improve your mood during a typically difficult time. What are you grateful for this year?

A poll of over 2,000 people found that nine in 10 adults derive happiness from small wonders such as a short line at the grocery store, a thoughtful text from a loved one, or a nice gesture from a stranger. Pay kindness forward to a passerby and you’ll find the benefits can be exponential. Here is the full list.

The Top 50 little joys of 2020


1. Seeing your family
2. Seeing your friends
3. A hug

4. Receiving an unexpected money rebate or refund
5. Getting into bed with fresh sheets
6. Receiving a compliment
7. Getting a great bargain
8. A smile from a stranger
9. Seeing a great sunset or sunrise
10. Receiving an unexpected gift
11. Finding money in your pocket that you forgot about
12. Feeling sun on your face in autumn
13. Birds singing in the morning
14. The smell of freshly cut grass
15. Receiving a call or text from a friend or family member
16. Ticking off something which has been on your to-do list for a while
17. Seeing a rainbow
18. Your favorite song coming on the radio
19. Crunching autumn leaves on a walk
20. A long weekend
21. Great customer service
22. No queue for the till at a shop
23. Finishing a good book
24. Putting on comfy clothes at the end of the day
25. An unexpected ‘buy one get one free’ offer
26. When someone compliments your cooking
27. Someone holding a door open for you
28. That smell just after it has rained
29. Waking up early and realizing you have hours left to sleep
30. Receiving a card or letter rather than a text
31. Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend when you thought it was a weekday
32. The feeling after sorting a drawer or cupboard
33. Getting a quick reply to a customer service query
34. The satisfaction of eating a homegrown vegetable / home-baked bread
35. Keeping on top of your bills
36. Getting a better deal on your energy and saving money
37. Finding a forgotten stash of chocolate
38. A moment of peace in the bath
39. A quick chat with your neighbor
40. Paying off an outstanding bill
41. The satisfaction of clearing out your wardrobe
42. Taking a nap
43. Getting the last item before it sold out
44. Having all the right ingredients for a recipe in the cupboard already
45. Your hair looking good when you wake up
46. Completing a food shop without forgetting anything
47. Discovering a new series on Netflix
48. Relief of knowing your bills won’t increase
49. Free WiFi
50. The smell of soil when gardening

This year has been trying for many of us. I do urge you to stay mindful of the simple joy derived from leaning into the simplicity of being completely in a moment’s grace. It can be intoxicating.

One thing to help me focus on the good in the world is to choose one day a week where I “unplug.” I turn off all my social media and mobile devices and just get in touch with my inner-child to play in the world. Try to do things you loved as a kid like drawing, dancing, singing, reading, watching cartoons, whatever! When we engage with this playful mindful side of our psyche it can really change our perspective and mood for the better.

A positive mindset and just giving into organic bliss can be good for all of us.

Dr. Perri Klass held an interview with The New York Times recently that I felt wrapped up the prior sentiments best.

“I’m grateful for knitting, which has helped me with my Zoom fatigue, and for novels (especially to Anthony Trollope for writing so many of them and to Persephone books for republishing so many authors I hadn’t previously encountered), which take me into other worlds and other scenes more effectively than anything else (and then make me feel guilty for reading novels when I have deadlines overdue).

But most of all, I think, I am grateful for all those Thanksgivings past, and for the prospect of a better Thanksgiving in a better year — and I’m hopeful that will be 2021. I will not ask people to go around the table and announce what they’re grateful for, but honestly, there will be no need. If we get to that table, we will know.”

Look around and count your blessings, there’s more of them there than you might think.