• Small acts of self-care and mindfulness can make all the difference to our experience

  • Gill Hasson offers some simple tips to help you find calm and joy in the small things

‘I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.’ – Anne Frank

Beauty; it’s the quality or combination of qualities present in something or someone that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Beauty can be found in shapes and colours, designs and patterns. It can be found in a view – a landscape, a cityscape or a seascape. Beauty can be found in art and architecture, a poem, a painting, a person, a face. Beauty can be found in a sound – music and song, the wind and rain.

Why does an appreciation of beauty matter? It matters because beauty can give you a sense of calm and peace. Beauty is uplifting and inspiring.

Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. What do you perceive to be beautiful? What sights and sounds, tastes and smells please you? Consciously look for and appreciate instances of the beauty of what we are naturally a part of, concepts such as: music and art, wildlife and the miracles of nature. You can write down your ‘instances of beauty’ as and when you come across them.

Although you can admire and enjoy beauty without feeling a need to do anything about it, you could start a collection of photos of things you find beautiful – anything from a view or a sunset to the details of a flower, a shell or a feather – to gaze at whenever you need a lift.


Five senses meditation

Whenever things feel off balance and out of your control, the five senses meditation can connect and engage you directly and immediately with the present moment, allowing you to feel grounded, no matter what’s going on around you.

1. Look – really look – around you and notice that you can see

  • Search for something that you don’t normally notice, like something tiny or something up high
  • Notice colours, shapes, symmetry and patterns

2. Be aware of something that you can feel. Notice the texture – the rough or the smooth, the hardness or the softness, the warmth or the coldness – of something

  • Feel your feet in your shoes
  • Rub lotion on your hands
  • Put your hands under running water
  • Take a hot or cool shower
  • Take a piece of clothing, a blanket or a towel and knead it in your hands or hold it against your face
  • Pop some bubble wrap

3. Breathe in a smell

  • Scented flowers – roses, jasmine, lavender and honeysuckle
  • Herbs and spices
  • A scented candle
  • The smoke from an extinguished match

4. Taste something

  • Bite into a lemon or lime
  • Suck on a mint sweet
  • Eat some corn flakes, crackers or crisps; something that also has a distinct texture and makes a lot of noise

5. Listen

  • Listen to music
  • Read something out loud: a poem, a song or something from a book
  • Listen to someone else talk – on the radio or an audiobook or podcast

Indulging in small pleasures

There’s a wealth of small pleasures which can bring you moments of comfort and joy every day. We all have things that we enjoy, that give us pleasure and moments of happiness. Life is a collection of moments and the more happy moments we have, the more often we are happy!

What, for you, makes for small pleasures? Maybe eating the froth on the cappuccino is a small pleasure. Maybe it’s eating a perfectly ripe peach or pear. Perhaps you get pleasure from the flowers that you’ve picked from your garden. Or you enjoy foraging for wild blackberries in the autumn. As odd as it may seem to other people maybe one of your small pleasures is time spent ironing pillowcases?

What about a lie in? An afternoon nap? Or a foot massage? A bubble bath or a hot shower? Perhaps it’s sitting in front of an open fire or sitting in the sun or a walk in the rain. Is car dancing one of your favourite things? Spotting dogs who look like their owners?

When you make an effort to take notice of what’s happening around you that pleases you, you’ll be surprised at just how many things give moments of pleasure.

Gill Hasson is the author of Moments of Comfort: Embracing the Joy in Life’s Simple Pleasures

Further reading

Self-care for the Christmas period

Setting self-care resolutions for the New Year

What exactly is mindfulness?

Using mindfulness to help with depression

6 beginner's meditation tricks to get you started