Daily Express

Simple pleasures

With the cost of living soaring, Kim Jones asks the experts for their top feel-good tips that will boost your mood without breaking the bank


As the cost of food and fuel soars, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 54 per cent of us have cut back on non-essential spending.

That means those little luxuries that bring everyday pleasure might be off the menu for a while.

But not all enjoyable things involve splashing the cash, says Clare Gogerty, author of Simple Pleasures.

“In fact, the most precious and rewarding pleasures in life are not measured by money,” she says.

“It can be the unexpected joy that arises from hanging out a line of washing on a breezy spring morning or the deliciousn­ess of biting into a warm slice of buttery toast.

“Nature is a constant and reliable source of mood-boosting pleasure too, from the simple task of planting a seed or watching leaves caught in the wind to the thrill of seeing a bird of prey in the sky.”

Here our experts reveal why the best things in life really are free.


Why restrict fairy lights to Christmas? “Pretty bulbs transform the gloomiest corner into something delightful, puncturing gloom with shimmering, winking light,” says Clare. “In the garden, outdoor solar lights draped on a pergola turn a humdrum patio into something enchanting.”


Something as simple as taking up a loose hem on a pair of trousers or sewing a button back on to a shirt can give huge satisfacti­on.

“With every stitch you’re showing long-neglected clothes some love and giving them a new lease of life,” says Catherine Erdly, founder of resilientr­etailclub.com.

“What’s more, you’ll know you’re not contributi­ng to landfill by throwing away damaged clothing, which is a win for the planet.”


Walking around your neighbourh­ood and admiring the beautifull­y curated front gardens is a breath of fresh air. “From spring to autumn, you’ll see pretty petals, alluring shapes and bright colour,” says holistic coach Ani Naqvi (anicoachin­g.com). “Admire the lush colourful climbers and window boxes bursting with blooms

– from roses and cherry blossom to sunflowers, tulips, daffodils, orchids and bluebells.

“We’re surrounded by such beauty, even in bustling cities.”


Remember when the stabiliser­s came off your first bike? It was such a thrilling feeling – as if you could fly.

“Find that same feeling of freedom once more when you take to two wheels,” says Gillian McMichael, author of Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self. “When you can, head off on your own and cycle into the countrysid­e. With an open path in front of you, you’ll get a supreme sense of freedom and a feeling of joy as the wind blows against your face. “At the top of an incline, let your feet go free of the pedals and allow your legs to stretch out, freewheeli­ng down with a huge smile on your face as you catch your breath.”


Libraries are a place of wonder and awe. “All that knowledge, right there at your fingertips – all the potential places you could travel to, written on the pages that fill the shelves,” says life coach Nichola Henderson (coachingby­nic.com).

So why not head to your local library and spend some time browsing?

“Let yourself look without searching, allowing instinct to guide you without conscious thought about what you ‘should’ be reading,” she says. “Soak up the unique atmosphere and enjoy where it takes you.”


Feeling exhausted and having a 4pm slump? When your energy levels start to dip in the afternoon, put on your favourite uplifting tunes and let rip.

“Dancing freely helps to reduce stress and floods the body with natural endorphins – our feel-good hormones – waking you up better than coffee can,” says Kate Taylor, founder of awakeningf­estival.co.uk.


An early morning sound walk can be a meditative sensory experience.

“Leave your phone and headphones at home and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature,” says Anaya Grover, founder of Men Do Pilates (mendopilat­es.com).

In the morning, there’s a stillness that means wildlife comes out of hiding.

“Bask in the pretty birdsong and the harmonious tunes around you,” she says. “And feel calmed by the sound of wind rustling leaves on trees, all of which play their own tune too.

“Poplar trees are particular­ly noisy – their leaves sound like maracas being shaken if you take time to listen.”

Admire lush colourful climbers and window boxes bursting with blooms

Kneading dough can be five minutes of mindfulnes­s where nothing else matters


Bad weather is no reason to be in a bad mood.

“Put on your waterproof­s and wellies and feel exhilarate­d being out surrounded by the wind as it whips up leaves around you,” says Karen Webber, marketing expert at goodnessma­rketing.co.uk. “Or lean into it on an exposed hill and watch the trees sway in its power.” Who wouldn’t love the wildness of it all, she says. “After a wild walk, head home feeling refreshed, ready for a warm bath, then snuggle down under a blanket while you listen to the rain pelt down outside.”


Making your own loaves at home is relaxing and fills your home with the most wonderful aroma.

“First, there’s the kneading of the dough by hand – you can’t do anything else when you’re at that stage, so it can be a quiet five or 10 minutes of mindful focus where nothing else matters,” says Rhiannon Abbott of theepsomba­kehouse.co.uk.

“Then, there’s the appetising aroma as the bread bakes, watching it rise in the loaf tin. And finally, that sense of achievemen­t when a golden loaf comes out of the oven. You’ll think, ‘Wow – I created that’.”

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