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As I grow older, I come closer to the realization that my heart no longer feels as powerful feelings as it once did when I was young. I don’t cry my eyes out anymore when I experience some inconveniences in life. This means that I’m now having much higher of a tolerance for stress and more likely to overcome negative events. However, along with that, I no longer feel an electrical current passing through my body whenever I’m happy or pleased. And so, I find this a pity: whenever my “happiness bottle” is empty, it is now harder to fill up (without the vibrancy of emotions I used to have).

This is why I learn to appreciate little things in everyday life that bring me happiness.

By paying attention to these simple happy moments, little by little, I make my “happiness bottle” full again. I wouldn’t call myself an optimist, but I do take pride in my resilience, which I build stronger through this process. Moreover, although practicing gratitude towards the taken-for-granted blessings we have in life doesn’t keep us away from unwanted events, it encourages us to avoid accentuating the significance of negative situations, and hence, we learn to find our balance during hard times. Dr. Glenn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, emphasized that major events such as going on holidays or getting promotions are not necessarily prerequisites for a happy, balanced life. “Rather it is the small, and often unexpected, pleasures in life that can make us smile each and every day to help us build happier and more meaningful lives for ourselves and for others”, he added.

Research by DoubleTree with 2,000 adult participants revealed that little things such as finding money you don’t know you have and getting in bed with fresh sheets are ultimate mood boosters. I also have my list of little (specific) happy things which I could gather recently:

  1. Suddenly remembering an old melody. This one makes me thrilled to bits. I was doing my assignments when Enchanted by Taylor Swift suddenly came to mind, which I used to listen to during middle school daydreaming about my crush. I rushed to YouTube to search for the song and ended up listening to a playlist of early 2010s hits. Every time I heard a familiar melody, my heart was filled with pleasure, bliss, excitement, and some indescribable feelings from nostalgia.
  2. Revisiting old posts and photos and reliving happy old memories. This is something I can stay up until 2 a.m. to do. I derive great pleasure from laughing and cringing at the goofiness. Reminiscing the precious memories is also a lot of fun.
  3. Talking to my mom for 3 hours. I started treasuring our conversations even more after I left home for college. I’m fortunate enough to have a mom with whom I can share my honest feelings. Talking to her and sometimes just staring at her usually helps me find peace of mind.
  4. Listening to holiday songs. Absolutely cures my rainy-day blues.
  5. My friends resting their heads on my shoulder. I might be clumsy at showing affection, but physical touch is absolutely my love language. I feel so trusted when this happens.
  6. Having good food while watching favorite shows. The experience is just two times better.
  7. Someone drew a heart beside my name when I ordered hot chocolate at Starbucks. Warmness from strangers can become a serotonin boost.
  8. Heading to bed after getting all the work done.

Someone drew a heart beside my name when I ordered hot chocolate at Starbucks

And the list goes on!

This is not a guideline to being happy. It is rather a reminder to cherish the little happy things in everyday life and fill up your “happiness bottle” with them. Hope this message finds someone in need and may everyone begin 2022 with positivity and good energy.