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101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy

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I spent much of my young adult years trying to figure out “my thing” in life.  Ya know, that one thing that makes me happy and would continue to bring fulfillment and joy to my life forever more?

Was it performing at open mic nights?  Writing poetry?  Salsa dancing?  Maybe I was a musical theater enthusiast or perhaps I was meant to be a world traveler?

I enjoyed all of those things, but none of them felt like they were “my thing”.  They all seemed to fall short.

I had the idea that there had to be this one thing that makes me happy and it needed to be something grand.  It had to light me up inside and ignite a passion in me.

But what if it could be more simple?  What if I didn’t have to find that one big thing that makes me happy?  

Instead, what if it was a whole bunch of little things that brought me joy and the cumulative effect of all of them together is what would make me happy?

In this post, learn why being able to find joy in the simple things in life will contribute to a greater sense of overall happiness and why creating your own happy list is important. I also share my list of 101 simple things that make me happy and hope you’ll find inspiration to create one of your own!

Related:  “5 Surprising Books on Finding Your Passion In Life”

101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy

What things make me feel happy?

I remember the day a few years back when my husband asked me this simple question –

“What makes you happy?”

I had recently exited the baby/toddler years of being a stay-at-home mom and was trying to figure out what I would do next.  My youngest would be starting preschool and I was contemplating returning to my former career, despite the fact that I had always found it unfulfilling, or going down a completely new path.

This lack of direction left me feeling depressed and down on myself, struggling with my sense of identity and purpose.

Who am I outside of being a mom?  What do I like to do?  What makes me happy?

I had a really hard time answering any of those questions and realized then and there that I practically had no margin for what brought me happiness in my everyday life. 

Maybe I had forgotten, but more honestly, I don’t think I ever really knew in the first place.  

What brings me joy?

It took some time for me to figure out what makes me happy.  I did actually return to my former career for a short time before eventually losing my job during COVID.  

This was the best thing that could have happened to me because it was during this time at home that I finally managed to figure out what brings me joy in life and more importantly, how to infuse those things into my everyday.

It was also during this time that I realized that it was okay if I hadn’t found “my thing” and that the choice to feel happy was mine.  

Feeling happy had so much to do with cultivating a positive mindset and I could do this by learning to bring joy into my daily routine through all of the things I enjoyed –  like writing, exercising, reading, music, and spending time outdoors.

I didn’t need to find that one big thing to find true happiness.  I simply needed to look to the small and simple things that brought me joy and learn how to weave them all together to create a happy life that I enjoyed living each day.

How do you find things that make you happy?

It’s not always easy to figure out what makes you happy in life.  Sometimes it’s not that obvious and requires a little self-reflection and brainstorming on your part.

One of the best ways to get started is to create your own list of things that make you happy.  It may be a mix of material things, activities you enjoy doing, as well as the simple pleasures in life and small things for which you’re grateful.

What are 5 things that make me happy?

If it feels difficult to make a long list of what makes you happy, just try to simply think of 5 things to start.

You can also try some stream-of-consciousness journaling in which you write down everything that comes to mind when thinking about what makes you happy.  Don’t hesitate or judge anything that comes up for you – just write it all down. You may find that it’s really not so hard to come up with more than 5 things!

For more suggestions and tips on how to create your own personal list of what makes you happy, check out my post “How to Create a ‘What Makes You Happy List’”, in which I share some additional advice and a few go-to things from my own happy list.  

101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy 

But in case that’s not enough for you, I wanted to provide you with this massive list of all my favorite things that make me happy.  It was also a personal challenge to myself to come up with this list!

I hope it will inspire you to come up with your own list of things that make you happy, or at least, to find a good amount of simple joys in my list that you also enjoy!

Keep this list (or your own) to refer back to whenever you’re having a bad day and need a little pick-me-up, or in tough times when your mental health could use a boost.  Having a list of happy things is a great way to lift our spirits whenever it’s needed.

  1. Waking up early for my morning routine
  2. Journaling for clarity
  3. The quiet of morning
  4. Taking a long walk 
  5. Listening to and learning from podcasts
  6. Sitting on my favorite porch swing (my happy place!)
  7. Reading for personal growth
  8. Riding my bike around the neighborhood
  9. Keeping an uncluttered house
  10. Writing outside on a beautiful day
  11. Dessert after dinner
  12. Smelling that “spa” scent (this essential oil balm smells just like it!)
  13. Hearing one of my favorite songs on the radio
  14. Taking a break from social media
  15. Being outside in the fresh air
  16. Curling up with a good book
  17. Keeping a gratitude journal
  18. Hearing good news from a loved one or friend
  19. Road trips with my family
  20. Catching up with old friends
  21. Crushing my to-do list
  22. The feeling of a clean house
  23. Quiet time to myself
  24. Date nights with my hubby
  25. A long hot bath on a chilly night
  26. Lying on a freshly made bed
  27. Quality time with my kids
  28. Having a good hair day 
  29. Enjoying a hot shower while listening to a relaxing playlist
  30. Extra creamy ice cream (mint chocolate chip is my favorite!)
  31. Cozy blankets touching my face
  32. A family bike ride
  33. Lazy Sunday mornings
  34. Intimate conversations with friends
  35. Helping someone work through a problem
  36. Keeping up my healthy eating habits
  37. The smell of my children’s heads (they each have their own unique scent, despite using the same shampoo!)
  38. Riding my Peloton
  39. Mindset work – I love learning how my brain works and making it “work” for me
  40. The feeling that comes after completing a hard workout
  41. New Kids on the Block (yes, still – don’t laugh at me!)
  42. Watching the snow fall and feeling cozy inside
  43. Early morning walks on the beach
  44. The comfort of red wine in the winter
  45. The refreshment of white wine in the summer
  46. Listening to 90’s “chick” music (Alanis, Jewel, Sarah Mclachlan, The Cranberries – I love them all!)
  47. Live music events – concerts, open mic nights, cover bands
  48. Beach vacations
  49. Getting really good sleep
  50. Seeing my children excited and happy
  51. Bingeing my favorite show
  52. Watching a movie by myself
  53. Enjoying a self-care Saturday
  54. Cooking a meal that my kids love (it’s rare)
  55. Moms’ night out with girlfriends
  56. Enjoying a spicy margarita with chips and guac!
  57. The feeling of grass on my bare feet in summer
  58. When summer turns to autumn
  59. Watching my boys play soccer
  60. Having the house all to myself
  61. Those first few sips of hot coffee in the morning
  62. Lounging by a pool at a beautiful resort hotel
  63. Hearing my kids’ laughter
  64. Chai lattes in the fall
  65. A crisp autumn morning
  66. Sweater weather
  67. Having my hair stroked or played with
  68. A back rub from my hubby
  69. Snuggling with my kids
  70. Sunshine and warm weather (I hate the cold!)
  71. Feeling grounded after yoga
  72. Going on a family hike
  73. Feeling appreciated by my family
  74. Trying a new restaurant
  75. A warm breeze against my skin on a summer night
  76. Snatching all the Twix bars from my kids’ halloween candy (even better when they start offering them up to me)
  77. Looking through old photos of happy memories
  78. Candles (specifically fall or winter scents)
  79. Waking up before the alarm goes off and feeling energized
  80. Reflecting on my goals and progress
  81. Traveling and exploring a new destination
  82. The first sleep in your own bed after a vacation
  83. Warm, fresh bread
  84. Accomplishing something meaningful to me
  85. Waking up before the alarm and realizing there’s more time to sleep
  86. Putting on cozy socks on a chilly day
  87. Birds chipping outside my window
  88. Watching the leaves on the trees rustling in the breeze
  89. A cheerful greeting from a stranger
  90. Getting a compliment
  91. The smell of hazelnut coffee
  92. Movie theater popcorn and candy
  93. Delicious thin-crust pizza
  94. Seeing my feet in a clear blue ocean
  95. Listening to songs that bring forth memories
  96. Finding money in unexpected places
  97. Feeling an authentic connection with someone new
  98. Sunshine on my shoulders
  99. Wearing flip-flops
  100. When it stays light until after 9 pm in the summer
  101. Positive feedback and comments on my blog posts (drop one below!)
101 Things That Make Me Happy

What makes you feel happy?

Whether you take inspiration from my list of 101 things that make me happy or generate your own ideas entirely, I hope you take a few moments to reflect on what makes you happy in life.

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything big. Being able to find joy in the simple, little things is what can really make a difference in your overall feelings of happiness.

AND making a list of those little things is a wonderful act of self-care.  Think of it like always having your own personal happy list in your back pocket.  It’s ready for you to whip out whenever you need to uplift your mood, even if you don’t literally carry it with you.   

Now please do us all a favor and leave a comment sharing something that makes YOU feel happy.  It may be just what someone else needs to see today.  ♥️

Did you like this post?  Check out some others along these lines:

How to Create a ‘What Makes You Happy List’

8 Tips to Never Settle for Less Than Your Best Life

60 Simple Acts of Self Care for Busy Moms

12 Intentional Ways to Take Care of Your Soul

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3 thoughts on “101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy”

  1. I love sitting on my patio and taking in the warm weather, looking at nature and reading a book.
    Carly, you sure tapped into so many ways to feel happy that people for granted instead of a sense of appreciation. Positive mindset is so important,
    Great blog post!

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