Whole Health

A Few of my Favorite Things: My Petite Joys

I have been struggling a bit lately with my attitude. There have been many days when I have felt too short tempered. Too many days when I feel too impatient with those that are dearest to me. Too many days when I just don’t want to do anything. I so easily get caught in the mindset of “once we’ve achieved this goal, or once we’re done dealing with this obstacle or burden in our lives, I’ll be happy. Then life will be good. Then I can rest.”

But the truth is, we will all experience multiple obstacles throughout our lives. Obstacles in life are like laundry and dishes. It’s not something on a to-do list we can check off once and be done with. We can pretty much expect that once we’ve over come one obstacle, we should be ready for the next. I feel like what it really comes down to is that I have been in need of an attitude adjustment and change of perspective.

Happiness is an inside job.

Petite Joys

Creating our own happiness is definitely one of those things that falls in to the category of “Thing that are Easier Said Than Done.” There are so many cute catch phrases about happiness, but I have yet to find one that comes with an instruction manual on how to make that happen. I did learn (or re-learn) the hard way just this week though, that much of our happiness is dependent upon our perspective. And our perspective can be manipulated by ourselves, by creating healthy habits and thought patterns.

One such healthy habit we can employ to consciously shape our perspective is keeping a list of things that make us happy – a list of our petite joys. I’ve heard the suggestion that when you find yourself in a mood, pull out your journal and read over your list of petite joys. But if I’m gonna be real about this, I am never, I repeat, NEVER, going to pull out my journal when I’m in a nasty mood. Never.

What I find more effective for myself when it comes to breaking and creating habits (and our though patterns absolutely are habits), is to create triggers and redirections in my mind. It’s just like when a smoker is trying to quit, they get a craving, and they chew gum or work out instead of having a smoke. The trigger is their craving. The redirection is chewing gum or working out. I also gave an example of how I do this in my post Why I Make New Year’s Resolutions. I detailed how each time I found myself mindlessly cruising Facebook (trigger), I’d pick up my book instead (redirection).

So how do I make this work with changing my thought patterns? Each time I find myself dwelling on inconveniences and annoyances in my day, I try to pick one thing off my list of things that make me happy, and I dwell on that instead. I may not feel immediately happy, but with time and practice, it eventually reshapes my thoughts and my attitude.

A Few of My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

A great example of this concept is the song My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. There is such a pearl of wisdom to this song. Perhaps it isn’t always fears we are trying to fend off with thoughts of things that bring us joy, but depression, or complacency. Having a tangible reminder to fall back on when our thoughts turn dark can help us to reframe our perspective and retrain our brain and thought patterns. In short, it is an excellent way to control our moods and attitudes. So, here is my list of petite joys.

My Petite Joys

  1. Screen doors
  2. The sound of rain
  3. The smell of rain
  4. Dishes by hand with grandma
  5. Kneading dough
  6. Overcast skies
  7. The smell of campfire
  8. Fog
  9. Thunderstorms and lightening
  10. The still and dark hours of the morning, before everyone else has arisen
  11. Persimmon trees and how their bright fruit stands against a grey sky in the dead of winter
  12. The feel of another language on my tongue
  13. The weight of piano keys beneath my finger tips
  14. Cattails
  15. The word infinitesimal. It’s such a long word, but means something very, very small. The irony tickles my funny bone.
  16. Oak trees
  17. The fresh, crisp air of fall
  18. The sound of the ocean
  19. A perfect line of poetry
  20. Picking the perfect blackberry, fresh, plump, and ripe off the vine, and eating it
  21. Marking things off the To-do list
  22. Warm clothes fresh out of the dryer
  23. Popping bubble wrap
  24. Clear and starry night skies, far from the city lights
  25. The sound of crickets
  26. How my hands smell after picking tomatoes fresh off the vine
  27. The joy and excitement of witnessing the seeds you’ve sown sprout
  28. Dark chocolate
  29. When someone plays with your hair
  30. Listening to my favorite songs in the car. Way too loud. And belting it out like I know how to sing.
  31. Fireflies
  32. The smell of your child when you kiss the top of their head
  33. Waking up at 2 am feeling like you’ve already slept 8 hours, realizing you’ve got hours left to sleep, and passing back out. Best. Feeling. Ever.
  34. Chai
  35. A good book
  36. Down comforters
  37. Sea otters
  38. Homemade chocolate pudding, hot off the stove top
  39. Creating something
  40. New sheets and freshly shaved legs
  41. A good stretch
  42. The smell of a wood burning stove on a cold winter’s day
  43. Potato bugs and fuzzy caterpillars
  44. A brisk walk
  45. Working with your hands
  46. Going home to Mom and Dad’s
  47. A perfectly flaky, homemade pie crust
  48. Wrapping Christmas gifts
  49. Fat babies
  50. A tall stack of pancakes
  51. Scrabble letters

Wow, I feel chillaxed just writing this.

Further Reading

For more ideas on how I create my own happiness, check out my post A Sincere Evaluation of how I Spend my Time. Check out my post Why I Make New Year’s Resolutions for more ideas on how I try to break and create habits.

Questions of the Day:

1. What are your top 3 petite joys?

2. Do you have your own list of petite joys?

10 thoughts on “A Few of my Favorite Things: My Petite Joys

  1. I love this post! It is so important to create your own happiness and to be grateful for all things. Staying connected to your joy is very important. My top 3 petite joys are:

    1. Dancing (anywhere, anytime)
    2. Long drives on sunny days
    3. Crafting & creating (sewing, knitting, blogging, etc.)

    Thanks for this post. It made me smile this morning!

    1. Tiffany, I completely agree. I find it amazing that the more we show our gratitude, the happier we tend to be. I love hearing other people’s petite joys. It reminds me of more things I could add to my own list. I’d definitely rate dancing and long drives on sunny days up there towards to top as well!

  2. This is a nice way to appreciate the little things in life. My favourite on your list is popping bubble wrap. I’m not sure what “cattails” are? Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. I love popping bubble wrap lol. I’ve been trying to figure out how to attach a picture of cattails for you, Phil, but I give up. Another name for cattails is bulrushes.

  3. I don’t have my own list, but I do like this concept. I would say top 3 joys: 1. walking in silence 2. Looking up (especially in cities) 3. bacon 🙂

  4. Aw! This brightened my day and reminded me to be grateful. My 3 petite joys:
    1. Coffee (form pretty much anywhere)
    2. Fuzzy blankets
    3. Cute sandals

    I have tons more!

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