We have all heard the saying “It’s the little things that count,” and we probably have all experienced “little things” counting on more than one occasion. In terms of how this adage applies to our health and well-being, research is showing that little daily practices can change the way the brain functions. Little practices taken every day can protect us against the effects of stress, lift our moods, and provide us with emotional resilience.

Because being a parent is a demanding and time-consuming job, little practices are welcome, and finding pleasure in life is one of the little practices we all can do to improve our mental and physical health. Finding pleasure on a daily basis doesn’t mean that you ignore the hard aspects of life. It simply means that you notice the good stuff in your life and then take a moment to delight in it.

When you take the time to find and bask in pleasure, you activate the calming, soothing parasympathetic system in your brain while quieting down the fight-or-flight system and the stress-response hormones triggered by that system. Noticing what is sweet in life lifts your mood and settles your fears while also strengthening your immune system and balancing hormones.

To find the little pleasures in your life, start with your senses. What tastes delicious? What smells divine? What beauty is in your view? What wonderful sounds do you hear? What feels good to your touch? Then you can move to the mind. What do you like to think about or remember?

Bask in these little pleasures. Enjoy yourself!