Every day has something good to offer us. But sometimes being able to spot the good, the joy, the simple pleasures or whatever word you use to describe the small good things in life, can be difficult. But, there are ways we can increase our capacity to find the good in every day and even increase the amount of good in our lives.
Compiled here are some simple tips that only take a little bit of time and can help us maximize our ability to spot the joy and the good small things. And like most things, being able to find the good gets better with practice.
Journaling can truly take on any form you’d like. There are so many different methods and types of journaling. You could write in a gratitude journal or a happiness journal. But if this isn’t your style of expressing yourself, simply put your pen to a page or your hands to a keyboard and let flow whatever flows.
Regardless of the type of journal you start, you’ll experience surprising insights as you go. You might say something seemingly no big deal at the beginning like, “this morning I had a cup of coffee,” and realize by the end of it how comforting and soul-filling that simple cup of coffee was. That even though it’s something you have every day and usually rush through it as you move on to the rest of the day, it still brings you some happiness.
You’ll realize as you go how much joy and comfort you get from the little things you do every day, and you’ll find more appreciation and gratitude for the big-good things in your life too.
Share your day with someone
Talking over your day with someone you trust and enjoy talking with is a great way to explore the day’s events, and sometimes having a second perspective helps you see things you wouldn’t have on your own.
Ask someone else about their day
You never know what someone will share with you, and how it might inspire you in your own day. Not to mention, connecting in this way is a powerful thing for both people involved. So, truly listen and give that person your time and attention and you’ll both be better off for it.
Read about it
There are so many lists that outline simple pleasure or good things in life. Inspiration is only a few clicks away. In addition to this, there are many books about positivity. You may notice things in these lists that you never really considered to be a simple pleasure. It might be just the refresh in perspective you need when struggling with spotting the good things.
Reflect on the things that made you happy as a child
Odds are there were small things that made your little self excited about life. If you spend some time remembering those happy exciting moments, you may just find that those same types of moments make you happy. Like making dinner (remember how exciting it was when you first started helping in the kitchen?), running to the park, blowing bubbles on a summer day or going to visit a friend or family member. I bet if you look into some of your favourite memories, you’ll be able to find something that still brings you some joy and can be added to your day.
Do something creative
While you're busy creating you won’t realize it but, your mind will be able to wander and give you a break from the things that add stress or frustration to your daily life. Creating something gives you an opportunity to mentally reset and refresh from life, and not to mention it offers a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when you complete a project or master a new technique (like that guitar chord that has been taunting you for ages, or finishing that painting you started once upon a time and then abandoned).
Take a few minutes to quiet your mind and be in the moment. There’s no need to be looking back or looking forward while you’re meditating. When you’re finished, you’ll find a new sense of clarity and ease of mind. Suddenly you’ll be able to identify the good with little effort—or maybe even find that today the good was the act of meditating.
Moving your body helps ease stress and release endorphins, both of which help ease your mind and put you in a better mood. When you’re in a more positive mood or mindset it’s easier to see the little joys surrounding you.
Disconnect from your device
Your phone, laptop and tv can pull you out of reality and distract you from not only noticing the good but even from bringing the good into your life. Maybe that binge-watching time would have felt more enjoyable had it been spent on something else (like journaling, getting creative or meditating).
Watch something enjoyable
At the risk of completely contradicting myself, I’ll add the suggestion of watching something that makes you laugh, that helps you relax or that teaches you something new can be a source of good. Sometimes we just need to do something we’d normally consider “mindless.” If you’re in a bad mood and struggling to find the good, maybe you can find it in a video or a light-hearted tv show.
Like the many lists and books about gratitude that exist, there are also many videos on it too. These can offer a calming presence on days where seeing the simple pleasures is feeling tougher than normal.
Take time to reflect each day
There’s a quote that has always stayed with me and helps me find a little solace on hard days,
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
This quote helps me because it makes me reflect on my day, regardless of my mood, and identify that “something good” that’s happened. It also makes me pause and see how the good appeared in my life, and how I can create regular habits of these things so that the good in each day becomes more and more prominent.
All of these practices have something in common. In addition to helping you identify the good, they each can become a form of good and joy within themselves. Sharing your thoughts and time with others, expressing yourself, moving your body, or giving yourself permission to act like a couch potato without guilt are all wonderful ways to feel the good in life.
So, I say aim for one of these a day, and before you know it, you’ll be seeing something good in each day.
How do you find the good in your days? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are really struggling to find the good and are struggling with your mental health, please know that you're not alone. Though I am by no means an expert on mental health, I know there are resources that can offer you guidance, support, and comfort (like this website of resources and helplines). Please take care.