Sunday, May 17, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that brings us joy. A really good creamy bar of chocolate, a nap on a rainy afternoon, a walk in the park with the dogs, a blooming cherry tree, a cup of coffee with real cream, comfort food in the form of chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes (yes this is a family thing) and spending time with my husband.

In a study commissioned by the National Lottery, Dr Richard Tunney of the University’s School of Psychology found that it’s the simple things in life that impact most positively on our sense of well being.

The study compared the ‘happiness levels’ of lottery jackpot winners with a control group, using a ‘Satisfaction with Life Scale’ developed by the University of Illinois. Respondents were asked how satisfied they were in relation to different elements of their life, their different mood states explored, how often they treated themselves and what form this took.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the flashy cars and diamond jewellery that upped the jackpot winners’ happiness quotient. It was the listening to music, reading a book, or enjoying a bottle of wine with a takeaway that really made the difference.

Dr Tunney said: “Modern-day pressures take their toll on everyday happiness. As a result we try to make ourselves feel better and happier through personal rewards and treats. We’ve all heard the saying ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’, and treating yourself is the ideal way to keep spirits lifted when you’re down in the dumps.

So, enjoy life as it is presented to you today. Find something simple that will make your day joyful or plan something special for someone else. Giving to someone most often brings us greater joy than receiving.

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