Why you should indulge in simple pleasures
One of the easiest ways to integrate minimalism into your self-care routine is to indulge in the simple little things.
One emotion that can cause a lot of unhappiness in our lives, if not kept in balance, is desire.
Human beings have an inherent longing to survive and thrive which shouldn’t be ignored, as it is part of our evolutionary fabric.
Theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggest that there are a number of physiological, psychological, and social desires that are deeply ingrained in us.
On the other hand, research has shown us that wanting and even receiving more of certain things won't make us happier over the long run.
The hedonic treadmill is the theory that explains this. Even after major positive situations (e.g. such as getting a new car) we eventually get used to the stimuli and return to a base level of happiness.
Then, our expectations rise and we end up wanting something more than what we currently have (e.g. an even newer car) which can lead to a perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction.
So what can be done to strike the proper balance between nurturing our innate needs and goals while not being tricked into the “rat race”?
If money, success, and objects are superficial forms of happiness, what yields more significant and lasting levels?
One happiness habit that works is to indulge in simple pleasures — and this is not just a "less is more" cliche.
It is a foundational element of positive psychology with research-backed studies starting to reveal more about how and why it works.
Here’s how you can incorporate this tip into your self-care routine:
Take a moment to read some of the latest research on simple pleasures so you can understand the science behind the claim and get a sense of the most common simple pleasures.
Reflect on and write down your own list of simple pleasures. It can be as short or long as you want.
Schedule a block of time (minimum 2 hours) where you can indulge uninterrupted in one or more of your simple pleasures.
Save your list and periodically refer to it especially during times of annoyance, anxiety, and anger.
An example of a simple pleasure that we love is making it a habit to laugh more.
We routinely find activities to engage in that help us experience this positive and healthy emotion as much as possible.
Only do this if “reading a book” is one of your simple pleasures, otherwise devote any free time to working through your list!
Much of his work has been lost but as the father of the simple pleasure concept it’s worth getting a primer on the life and ideas of Epicurus the philosopher. Here are a few texts to start with:
Have you heard about the Hygge trend? We all know the Danes are the happiest folks in the world, and apparently simple pleasures is their secret.