Simple pleasures are what neuroscientist, Ken Mogi describes as the joy of little things, the appreciation of sensory pleasure – one of 5 pillars of ikigai he writes about in this book, The Little Book of Ikigai.
You can use simple pleasures as a way to find a little piece of ikigai each morning before you start your day.
No matter where you are in the world, if you make a habit of having your favourite things sooner after you get up (for example, chocolate and coffee) dopamine will be released in your brain, reinforcing the actions (getting up) prior to the receipt of your reward (chocolate and coffee). – Ken Mogi.
If you make a habit of experiencing and appreciating the simple pleasures of life, each and every day, then you are bound to feel happier and more content.
5 Senses To Enjoy Simple Pleasures
Enjoying simple pleasures is really about being mindful of our five senses. Take coffee for example; you can use all your five senses to enhance the experience of enjoying your morning cup of coffee.
Sight – the sight of your favorite coffee mug or roasted coffee beans can trigger positive emotions and comfort.
Hearing – Hearing your kettle boiling can give you a feeling of coziness, and the sound you make as you hand grind coffee beans adds to the anticipation of that first sip.
Smell – Almost better than the taste of coffee, is the aromatic smell of freshly ground coffee beans. Stop and breath it in.
Taste – that first satisfying sip of coffee, not only tastes wonderful but also triggers the release of dopamine. Take time to savor it.
Touch – clasping your hands around your coffee mug on a cold winter’s day is yet another simple pleasure to enjoy.
Being In The Here and Now
As the coffee example illustrates, to find and experience simple pleasures we need to be in the here and now, another one of Ken Mogi’s pillars of ikigai. And to be in the here and now, it helps to be aware of what you appreciate. So we can say simple pleasures begin with appreciation – appreciating the small things, being mindful to enjoy them and also being grateful for them.
Try to use all your 5 senses to enhance the sensory pleasure of the little joys in your life.
Simple Pleasures To Enjoy
A cup of green tea.
The smell of roasted coffee beans.
The warm embrace of a family member.
The purr of your pet cat.
An early morning walk.
An invigorating cold shower.
The excited tail-wagging greeting from your dog when you arrive home.