• Charlotte Thorogood

The best things in life are free

I’ve thought about it long and hard and I really think that Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson were on to something when they released their hit song ‘The Best Things in Life are Free’ back in 1992.

It’s the things that we take for granted that can make us smile the most. There are so many wonderful, enjoyable, meaningful "free things" that are essential to well-being and happiness.

I’ve gathered just six of my favourites:

Walk in the fresh air

Time out just to walk in nature is always time well spent. There’s nothing like a bit of fresh air to lift your spirits. My favourite time to walk is when you catch the sunrise – I mean, it doesn’t happen too often! It’s like a piece of art forming right in front of you every time. No sunrise or sunset is the same and they just give you a few moments to just reset yourself for either the day ahead or the next day.

Invite a friend over for a cup of tea

… And a bit of cake if you really are feeling generous! Time is probably one of the most precious things we can give. Chatting something over with a friend means so much more than a gossip on the phone or a quick text here and there. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that. Let’s also not forget that laughter is one of the very best medicines – and even that is free!

A hug

When you’re feeling blue, there’s nothing like a big warm hug to make you feel a little bit lighter inside. Hugs relax us right from the inside and give us a bit of a fuzzy feeling. Plus there’s a bit of science to it too! Hugs release a slightly magical hormone, oxytocin, which can really affect our mood. So go on, share the love and give a hug when it’s needed.

An afternoon nap

They don’t happen often enough, but when they do, aren’t they just the best! Sometimes your body really needs that 40 winks and every now and then you’re allowed to just be a little bit lazy on a Sunday afternoon… Just 20 minutes is enough to make you feel more alert.

Just watching the world go by

It doesn’t cost a penny to just observe. Wherever you are, just watch. It might be the birds flittering around from tree to tree without a care in the world. It might be in the park watching a family scurrying around and bickering over something absolutely unimportant. Sometimes it’s good for the soul just to have a chuckle at all that goes on when you stop for a moment.

A letter when you least expect it

Who doesn’t love receiving a little something in the post – when it’s not a bill! Okay, this one comes with the price of a stamp but I think it’s probably worth it.

Opening a letter is one of life’s little pleasures – it might be the surprise of not knowing who it’s from or it might be that lovely feeling that you know someone has thought of you.

Enjoy the free stuff. We remember the good days, the good times. Our natural state of mind is to be lost in thoughts, driving ourselves crazy with excessive thinking. We waste our time and energy thinking about too much. I urge you to remember what made you happy as a small child; being outside in the fresh air, playing, laughing and joking. All the stuff that’s free. Don’t over complicate life.

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