The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

Question: What Small Treats Do You Give Yourself?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of small treats

By some odd coincidence, two readers emailed me to ask for the link to this post, an Assay about “small treats,” so I decided to re-post it today:

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of small treats, small pleasures. They’re fun to experience, of course, and I think they also have a very important role to play in happiness.

When we feel depleted and drained, and when we have no time or energy devoted to the things that give us pleasure, we start to feel exhausted, resentful, and angry. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

But it can be surprisingly hard to think of what little treats you want to give yourself. So many pleasures come at a cost: cookies cost calories, movies and books take time and focus, a museum costs the price of a ticket. It’s good to have a list of treats and pleasures that have a very low cost in time, energy, or money.

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For instance, I’ve become obsessed with the sense of smell, and I love the fact that a good smell can be enjoyed in an instant, with no cost. My latest favorite “treat,” which I save for moments when I need a bit of extra comfort or reassurance, is the accord  “Hay” from CB I Hate Perfume. It’s a warm, sweet, summer smell…of hay. I only put it on as a special treat. (Of course, it did cost me something to buy it, but not too much, and never again.)

What small treats and pleasures have you found for yourself?  Be honest! Not things that you think you should consider a treat, or what you wish you considered a treat (you may or may not find going for a run to be a treat), but things that you actually do consider a treat. Even if these aren’t particularly estimable.

Here are some examples that struck my imagination: twinkle lights, audio-books, going to an amusement park, looking through art books, looking through old photo albums, eye drops, video games, people-watching.

I want to lengthen my own list. What would you add?

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Enter your name and email in the sign-up form here, and every day, a name will be picked at random. U.S.Canada, and U.K. only–sorry about that restriction on the give-away.

Also ...

  • I had a lot of fun talking happiness with Marlo Thomas (yes, Marlo Thomas) for her show "Mondays with Marlo."

     

  • Are you dying to learn more about Happier at Home? Of course you are! You can learn more about it here or…

    –-read a sample chapter on the subject of “time” here

    watch the new one-minute book trailer on “Ten ways to be happier at home

    pre-order the book here (buy early and often!)

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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