…No, not that kind of micro-dosing. I have no knowledge of magic mushrooms or psychedelics. But I do know ways to micro-dose on joy and pleasure that can enhance your life…every day.

I don’t really believe in bucket lists. There is something grasping about thinking you have to do or achieve something before you “kick the bucket”. Aspirations are great. It is wonderful to plan a special event or save up for that big adventure. I encourage those big, fun one-time plans. But…we live in the every day. How about taking little steps that cost little to nothing to make that special?

Small changes can have big impact. I decided to follow the model of a good friend who reads a book for half an hour each morning. Wow! I start the day differently – slower and more thoughtful. I choose what I want to take into my mind and heart after waking. My brain is not filled (yet) with news, the radio, the barrage of information we receive on our devices each day. For me it has been a game-changer.

This new pleasure was heightened by my first book choice: the beautiful and life-affirming Book of Delights by the poet Ross Gay. His project to write essays about delight for a year intrigued me and got me thinking. How much do we intentionally notice or create moments of delight every day? How can we all do it?  

I started to notice. After my daily swim I used to reach for my phone as soon as I opened my locker. Why? I don’t have little kids or elders any more. None of my messages are so urgent that they can’t wait. Instead – now I pause. I sit wrapped in my towel, drink some water and feel my body humming from the exercise, my mind relaxed and happy. My phone stays put away until I leave the building. Satisfaction and delight.

There are so many ways to notice every day joy and beauty if we want to. The leaf in that picture cost me $4 and its sculptural exuberance has made me happy for weeks. I often buy inexpensive flowers for myself. I can enjoy even a few blooms from the corner grocery that cost no more than a bag of apples. My daughter and I have matching turquoise mugs. When I drink from mine in Ontario I think of her drinking from hers on the BC coast. It is a daily reminder of her – a link that lights up my day.    

After cataract surgery people initially marvel at the clarity, brightness and vividness of colours. What a gift to be able to see anew what was already right before our eyes. Part of creating more joy in our lives is in doing that: noticing what is lovely and pleasurable and pausing to savour it.

Small doses of delight are acts of self-kindness. They won’t shorten drawn-out divorce settlements, make your aggressive boss nicer or point you in the career direction you need to go next. But attuning yourself and creating these moments will give you a little lift and maybe a bit more resilience and strength to face those challenges.

What are your daily doses of delight? Don’t know? Find them!