We’ve been told time and time again that the best things in life are free. Now a new survey has proven that this sentiment is (if you’ll pardon the expression) bang on the money.
Whether we’re drinking deep from that all-important first cup of coffee, sinking into a hot bubble bath, polishing off an entire bar of chocolate or luxuriously enjoying freshly-laundered bed sheets, it seems as if we’re definitely creatures of comfort. Which means that, yes, our spirits can be well and truly lifted by some of the littlest everyday things that cost very little – if anything at all.
According to researchers, the average Brit enjoys 17 uplifting moments a week – and almost all of them can be categorised as being ‘the simple things in life’.
Think tucking into fish and chips at the seaside, belly-laughing with friends, breathing in the scent of freshly cut grass, finishing a great book and hearing the words ‘I love you’.
Better still, it seems as if we no longer need to feel ashamed about crawling home after a long day at the office, popping our feet up and reaching for the pizza menu: ordering our favourite takeaway for dinner is also high up there on the list of everyday things that make us feel really good about life.
After polling 2,000 adults, Müller Milk researchers were able to compile a list of the 30 greatest simple pleasures in life.
- Sleeping in freshly cleaned bed sheets
- Hearing the words “I love you”
- A kiss from someone you love
- Putting your feet up after a long day
- Being intimate with your other half
- A belly laugh with friends
- Eating fish and chips by the seaside
- A hot bubble bath
- Sitting in a beer garden on a sunny day
- Sitting in front of a real fire
- A cuddle with your children
- Ordering your favourite takeaway
- The smell of freshly cut grass
- Realising you’ve lost weight when you hop on the scales
- Eating an entire bar of chocolate
- Winning a tenner on the lottery
- Hearing a baby laugh
- Drinking wine looking out at a beautiful view
- Finishing a book
- Someone laughing at your jokes
- Finding a fiver in a pocket or handbag you haven’t used for ages
- Waking up to birds singing
- Watching Match of the Day without knowing the results
- A glowing school report
- First cup of coffee of the day
- Swimming in a warm sea
- Watching your children play
- Dancing to your favourite song
- Finding a pound left in a shopping trolley
- A friend request on Facebook
Speaking about the findings, a Müller spokesman said: “It goes to show big grand gestures are not always needed to make us happy and fulfilled.”
However, experts have previously revealed that there’s nothing simple about simple pleasures.
Writing in Psychology Today, Professor Nicole Mead recruited 122 participants to complete an experience-sampling study over the course of six days. Each morning, they participants were asked to reveal the goals they wanted to work towards – and, each night before bed, they filled in a diary revealing whether or not they had achieved them. They were also asked to, throughout the day, log whether they were experiencing a simple pleasure, a small annoyance or neither.
When Mead analysed the results, she found that an everyday experience that makes you feel good about the world is essential when it comes to making progress on your daily goals, particularly when life feels challenging and stressful.
“Modern day life is full of struggles and challenges, which erode the very psychological resources we need to make progress on our goals: positive feelings,” explained Mead.
“Simple pleasures have the power to restore those feelings of positivity and happiness, giving you the energy and perspective you need to pursue the difficult but important things in life.”
All the more reason to take a step back and smell the roses (or freshly cut grass), eh?