The term “luxury” may conjure up images of silk robes, superyachts, and five-star resorts, but experiences and items don’t have to be extravagant to qualify as luxurious. Some of life’s little joys also fit the bill, and can offer mental health benefits to boot. 

“Incorporating little luxuries into your life is an easy ‘self-hack’ that prioritizes your well-being and enjoyment,” psychologist Robert Cuyler told Verywell Mind. “By indulging in small, meaningful pleasures, you can reduce stress, boost your mood, and cultivate a more positive outlook.”

That happens in large part due to increases in dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter that plays a role in several vital functions, including sleep, pain processing, and learning. So what counts as a little luxury? It could be a nightly ritual, delicious snack, or comfy item of clothing. The criteria is pretty broad, and it’s all dependent on you. 

“It’s important to remember that little luxuries are personal and subjective,” said Cuyler. “What feels indulgent to one person may not have the same effect on another. The key is to find what works for you and make it a consistent part of your self-care routine.” 

In fact, beyond the boons that come with more dopamine and less stress, small indulgences provide us the chance to understand more about what makes us feel good. 


“A treat is actually an opportunity to get to know yourself,” author Gretchen Rubin, who explores the topic in her bestselling book Better Than Before, explained to InStyle. She uses bubble baths as an example: “We’re told in popular culture that baths are this relaxing thing. I actually hate them! To me, they’re messy and boring. Instead, when I hear, ‘You should do something relaxing,’ I think about playing a rock album that I really love.”

How to Incorporate Little Luxuries Into Your Life

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Start by acknowledging that there is nothing selfish about self-care. While, by definition, little luxuries are things that you don’t necessarily need to survive, as a whole, they’re indispensable. “[Taking care of yourself] is necessary for maintaining good mental health and being your best self for others,” Cuyler emphasized to Verywell Mind. 

Next, be intentional about adding in these enjoyable moments to your day. Don’t wait until you’re facing down your favorite candy bar in line at the grocery store to begin going back and forth with yourself about whether to get it. Planning ahead has the added bonus of giving you something to look forward to — whether it’s a solo sunset drive after work or a decadent dessert after lunch — and ensures your act of self-care won’t get overlooked in the day’s busyness.  


Once you’ve identified some small pleasures (see below for inspiration) to take part in, set yourself up for success to ensure they become part of your routine. According to Wendy Wood, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, 43% of all human behavior is habitual — and what better habit to pick up than self-care? Wood told Nice News that one of the best ways to turn an action into a habit is by making it easy for yourself. 

That could mean scheduling a simple walk around the block rather than a full-on hike that you’re more likely to skip, or subscribing to a magazine or snack box, so your treats come right to your door.

Little Luxury Inspiration

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Walking in nature
Doing a crossword puzzle
Dark chocolate
Reading a chapter of a book
Scented candles
Fancy tea
Sitting on the grass in a park
Korean face masks
Cozy socks
Pillow spray
Dancing to your favorite song
Using colored pens to journal or take notes
Fresh flowers

The list goes on and on. We recommend trying a variety of little luxuries and seeing which ones make the most impact. Enjoy!