The coronavirus pandemic has brought a renewed appreciation for the ‘little things’ in life – such as a hug from a relative or watching the sun set, a study has found.

After a tough 2020, researchers found that simple contact with family or a smile from a stranger – when not wearing a mask – is enough to bring joy to an average day.

For nine in 10 adults, little things like not having to queue at the checkout, getting a call from a loved-one and receiving an unexpected compliment can change their day.

Others said they experienced a burst of happiness when hearing birds sing, waking up at the start of the weekend or paying a bill.

The poll of 2,000 adults also found that 67 per cent think these seemingly minor things are more important than ever following the tumultuous events of this year.

Harriette Luscombe, from Sainsbury’s Energy, which commissioned the study, said: “It’s great to see people getting more from the simple things in life.

“2020 has been a tough journey for most of us, with a lot of big celebrations and moments cancelled, so we’re all finding joy in appreciating the little things in life instead.”

The study also found that 64 per cent of people find joy in things they rarely found pleasure in before.

For a third, simply seeing their family means more to them now, than it did pre-pandemic.

It also emerged that the average person will experience five little moments of joy a week – whether it is seeing a rainbow or receiving a card or letter rather than a text.

More than half felt they used to take these little things for granted, but now have a new perspective on what is important, with 68 per cent wanting to protect this newfound appreciation of life’s little joys.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, also found that despite three in four often procrastinating to get little bits of life admin out of the way, these seemingly mundane tasks now give them a sense of fulfilment.

And 28 per cent find joy in ticking something off their to-do list, with 43 per cent the last few months to tackle niggling tasks such as sorting bills, paying credit cards or shopping around for insurance.

Harriette Luscombe for Sainsbury’s Energy added: “We tend to put off life admin for days – months even – but it’s another one of those little things that once it’s done, can feel like such a big win.

“In our index, receiving an unexpected money rebate is among the top five things that people see as a little joy, showing personal finances can have a huge impact on our lives.

“That so many people have used the recent months to prioritise ticking things off their list shows 2020 has been an opportunity to get our finances in order and seek out the best deals.

“Finding an energy provider with fixed prices means you can tick that piece of admin off your to-do list and have one less thing to worry about.”

Sainsbury’s Energy offers fixed prices with all its tariffs, so customers don’t need to worry about rising energy costs for the life of their energy plan. Find out more here:

The Top 50 Little Joys of 2020:
1. Seeing your family
2. Seeing your friends
3. A hug
4. Receiving an unexpected money rebate or refund
5. Getting into bed with fresh sheets
6. Receiving a compliment
7. Getting a great bargain
8. A smile from a stranger
9. Seeing a great sunset or sunrise
10. Receiving an unexpected gift
11. Finding money in your pocket that you forgot about
12. Feeling sun on your face in autumn
13. Birds singing in the morning
14. The smell of freshly cut grass
15. Receiving a call or text from a friend or family member
16. Ticking off something which has been on your to-do list for a while
17. Seeing a rainbow
18. Your favourite song coming on the radio
19. Crunching autumn leaves on a walk
20. A long weekend
21. Great customer service
22. No queue for the till at a shop
23. Finishing a good book
24. Putting on comfy clothes at the end of the day
25. An unexpected ‘buy one get one free’ offer
26. When someone compliments your cooking
27. Someone holding a door open for you
28. That smell just after it has rained
29. Waking up early and realizing you have hours left to sleep
30. Receiving a card or letter rather than a text
31. Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend when you thought it was a weekday
32. The feeling after sorting a drawer or cupboard
33. Getting a quick reply to a customer service query
34. The satisfaction of eating a homegrown vegetable / home-baked bread
35. Keeping on top of your bills
36. Getting a better deal on your energy and saving money
37. Finding a forgotten stash of chocolate
38. A moment of peace in the bath
39. A quick chat with your neighbor
40. Paying off an outstanding bill
41. The satisfaction of clearing out your wardrobe
42. Taking a nap
43. Getting the last item before it sold out
44. Having all the right ingredients for a recipe in the cupboard already
45. Your hair looking good when you wake up
46. Completing a food shop without forgetting anything
47. Discovering a new series on Netflix
48. Relief of knowing your bills won’t increase
49. Free WiFi
50. The smell of soil when gardening


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