Picnics, Good Books, and Home Cooking: A New Study Finds These Are Life's Simplest Pleasures

Kelly Vaughan
·2 min read

There's nothing like eating a home-cooked meal, feeling the sun on your face, or enjoying a delicious picnic outdoors. According to a new study commissioned by Small Luxury Hotels of the World, these are just a few of life's simplest pleasures. "Our list found many of life's pleasures are ones often found on [vacation], such as seeing a stunning view, waking up to sunshine, taking long walks and discovering new places. It's on our travels that we're able to experience an abundance of life's simple pleasures which have a longer-lasting effect on us. Now that it looks as though coronavirus restrictions are starting to slowly lift, we're hoping people will be able to enjoy some of these pleasures at home and abroad before too much longer," said Richard Hyde, managing director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, in a statement.

woman leaning out car window sun on face
woman leaning out car window sun on face

Adam Hester / Getty Images

Unfortunately, 63 percent of those who responded to the study said that they don't have enough time in their day to take advantage of the small pleasures in life, and 40 percent said that work obligations are the reason why they can't enjoy these simple pleasures. However, when participants did get some time for themselves, these are the activities and experiences that they enjoy the most.

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Time spent in the outdoors—whether that's at the beach or in the countryside—means that people are able to revel in some of life's simplest pleasures, such as seeing a butterfly, seeing flowers and trees blossom, spotting a species of bird you've never seen before, hearing the wind blow through the trees, and even getting to enjoy a dip in the pool, all of which were experiences that topped the list. Long walks, spontaneous outings, and simply being somewhere new also brings immense joy.

People also find comfort in slow mornings. A few of the top-rated pleasures in life are not having to set the alarm at the weekend or on a day off, staying in bed on a Sunday morning, and sipping on a coffee or tea in bed. However, people also love the feeling of sleeping in a freshly-made bed or one that is large and incredibly comfortable. The smell of toast in the morning also makes individuals supremely happy, especially on a quiet weekend morning.

A nice dinner—whether it's dining out or having dinner made for you—also topped the list of one of life's simplest pleasures. Bonus points if you get to discover a new food while you're at it or finish with a slice of cake. Other small but meaningful moments include receiving a compliment from a stranger, donating to charity, meeting new people, getting a delivery in the mail, and finishing a really good book.