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24 Ways to Create Joy

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

Most of us are very action oriented. We constantly make goals to achieve: go to the gym more, eat healthier, budget better, move up on the career ladder. Despite diligent efforts, are goals may sometimes feel more unachievable. Then, perhaps, we call ourselves a “failure”, a “hopeless case”, or other self-damaging words. I've been there, done that.

Of course goals of better eating, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, lifting more weights, ordering less take out, going for a walk, drinking less, etc. are all good and beneficial for us, but do you ever stop to think about how much joy they bring you?

What if, we instead take action/s right now, today, each day, each week, each month this year to bring more joy into your life?

Did you ever stop and ask yourself: How do you define joy? How much time do you deserve to be joyful? Can you find joy within a moment of what you are doing? It is difficult to slow down to experience joy in our busy world, but aren’t you worth it?

Perhaps you find #joy in listening to music, learning an instrument, painting, doodling, spending more time with family or in nature with awareness and gratitude while you allow your senses time to take in the sounds, smells, sights, and how these make your body and your emotional self feel.

Being with Joy

Ask yourself, “What helps me to forget about the what, why, and when of life so that I can feel and truly be in a moment of joy?” To “be” in the moment means to feel completely immersed in what you are doing. Your mind isn’t being overtaken by thoughts and worries and you feel a lost sense of time. The joy you are experiencing is not fleeting but penetrating you deep within in which you feel peace, love, or pure happiness.

Joy Makes Us Healthier

The more joy and laughter a person feels and experiences in life, the healthier he or she becomes. The immune system improves, heart disease drops, feelings of optimists increases, #sleep improves, stress hormone levels decrease, #anxiety decreases, patience increases, muscle tension decreases, and aches and pains decrease. Dr. Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by a Patient, wrote about how humor and laughter (along with high doses of Vitamin C) healed him from crippling pain from ankylosing spondylitis. After reading this book, I made a point of watching I Love Lucy reruns on a daily basis. It was something I looked forward to and it brought me great joy and laugher. That half-hour was my daily #therapy.

Joy Changes Our Perspective

Taking action to do something on a regular basis that brings you joy, even if for a few moments, can be life changing. It can lead to a way of being. Like attracts like. You begin to seek other people who bring you joy, you become a magnet for other joyful people to enter your life, you see through rose-colored glasses more often and somehow the world looks a little different and brighter, more manageable.

Finding meaning and purpose in a day through joy shifts our focus from pain and ruminating thoughts, worries, and fears. The more we focus on joy, the more we are telling our nervous system that it can regulate itself and not be in fight/flight/or freeze mode. Then our minds and hearts can open to finding and enjoying the possibilities of each moment and each day.

#Physicalpain and/or emotional pain and #anxiety does not have to leave you devoid of joy. That is one aspect of life, not your whole life. We have control over how you want to perceive each day and how to add joy into your life. We may not feel joy every day, and that is okay. It is about trying and looking for it even in the most mundane of circumstances. Like an investigator with a magnifying glass, let us look, examine life to discover where we can find that space---that opportunity---to bring in joy. It can be while stuck in traffic and singing as loud as possible to a song, or finding a funny GIF while at work when needing a good laugh, or stopping, pausing, and just resting awareness on the heart for a moment of nourishment. Joy is nourishing and contagious. Let it permeate you, even if for only a few minutes.

Engaging in a spontaneous or planned action that leads to an internal experience of great pleasure only has to be a few minutes a day to be effective. Experiencing joy does not have to be time consuming.

What will bring me joy today?”

When you wake up with this question, it can give you a head start in the day. What can you do to bring happiness into your day? How can you more enjoy your work, your relationships, or tedious errands? It can be as simple as watching a funny video on YouTube for a break at work. For me, I take time out every day to play with my seven-year-old daughter. I stop, watch her, and allow my heart to fill with love and appreciation for her. This brings me incredible joy and creates a precious memory that I can call on later if I need some cheering up.

Joyful Ideas. 

Below are 24 ways to bring more joy into your life:

1. Create Your Sacred Space