How to create joy in your life every day.
Joy is an emotion that is uplifting and gives you a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. So it's not a surprise that it's good for your health and well-being.
Is it possible to feel joy every day? And can you recall a moment of joy you had today, or even yesterday? If you're drawing a blank, that's okay. In this blog post, I'll discuss why joy is good for you and how to create more joy in your life every day.
What joy can do for you.
For a long time, I wasn't aware of what it was that sparked joy in my daily life because I was busy working, taking care of my kids, and trying my best to care for myself and spend quality time with my husband.
While there were plenty of happy and exciting times, it wasn't until I started a gratitude journal that I noticed the things that sparked joy in my daily life, which were things that I was overlooking.
I noticed that the things that consistently sparked joy were the small pleasures in my life, like taking a long, warm shower, saying goodnight to my kids before bed, watching a Netflix series with my husband, and sipping a cup of coffee in the morning.
Joy is not a cure-all, but it's important to have moments of joy every day because we live in a society that is exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed.
We have access to the internet 24/7, we're constantly checking our social media feeds for fear of missing out, and there's always something upsetting in the news.
Experiencing joy, along with other positive emotions, on a daily basis can add to your well-being and happiness. People who feel joy and positivity every day are happier and more satisfied with their lives.
These positive emotions set the trajectory for more positive experiences, new opportunities, greater connection, and more resilience in life. Not only that, positive emotions build resilience, which is helpful when times are difficult or challenging.
The following is a list of 10 different ways you can create more joy in your life.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
10 simple ways to add more joy to your life.
1. Create a joy list.
How do we create the feeling of joy each day? One way is to simply write it down. Ingrid Fetell Lee goes into depth about how ordinary things in life create joy in her book Joyful, The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.
Chances are, the "ordinary" things in your life are the ones that bring you the most joy in your daily life.
You can start by making a list of all the things that spark joy from within, uplift you, and put a smile on your face. They can be smells, sights, sounds, and activities that create moments of joy in your life.
Then you can look at your list any time you need inspiration for joy.
Examples of things to put in a joy list.
(Hint: anything that brings you joy!)
- Drinking coffee.
- Eating chocolate.
- Watching a rom-com.
- Listening to a baby laugh.
- Blowing bubbles.
- Watching clouds float across the sky.
- Stopping to smell flowers.
- Doodling in a sketchbook.
- Playing a musical instrument.
- Taking a long, hot bath.
2. Clean up and make room for joy.
In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo has only 1 rule, keep the things that spark joy. Discard anything else that does not. It is a simple rule, but it works.
Studies have shown that a clean, decluttered space could make feel happier and healthier. The reason for this is you have less distraction and fewer things to stress about when your space is tidy and clutter-free.
When you have a clean and tidy space, you create more room for the things that bring you joy in life.
3. Find your people.
Surround yourself with people who support you and lift you up. These are people who you love to be around, make you laugh, and enjoy life. Surrounding yourself with people you love fosters feelings of joy, love, and happiness.
This could be talking to your neighbor, having lunch with friends, going on a day trip with your loved ones, going to happy hour with coworkers, or going on a date night with your significant other.
4. Give yourself ME time.
Having ME time is spending time with yourself. It means slowing down so you can enjoy time by yourself.
It doesn't mean you are isolating yourself from the world. It means you're giving yourself time to unplug and unwind so you can recharge and reconnect with yourself.
Finding solitude can help to reset you, especially when you are very busy.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said that we live in a time of abundance and that we should easily find joy and happiness. There are so many things around us that can give us joy.
Sometimes just have to slow down so we can appreciate and enjoy the moment.
5. Be more intentional with joy.
Sometimes you have to be intentional if you want to create moments of joy. Being intentional is choosing, rather than letting someone else dictate, what you want to do in life.
Living a life that is more intentional is living purposefully because you get to live your life on your own terms. It allows you to become more aware of the things that bring joy and happiness in your life.
6. Express gratitude.
Expressing gratitude for even the smallest things in your life can have a huge impact on your mood. Gratitude increases your awareness of the things that bring joy and happiness in your life.
The best part is, more we do it, the more we experience these moments of joy and gratitude. There are numerous ways to express gratitude.
One way is to write down in a gratitude journal at least one thing that you're grateful for every day. This may be a person, place, or thing. Another is to simply express your gratitude about something to yourself. A third way is to express gratitude to someone directly.
7. Find your purpose in life.
Find what brings purpose and meaning to your life. In his TED talk, James Goebel explained how doing something meaningful and with purpose can help bring joy, even to the most mundane task.
His daughter struggled in math. So he had her build a house, which involved measuring and math skills. She was able to learn math easier and with more joy because it became more meaningful to her.
Your purpose in life is the reason why you do the things you do. It is the unseen force that motivates and inspires you, even when it feels like you're struggling. Having a purpose in life gives you the direction and focus you need to create a life that is joyful and meaningful to you.
8. Smile more.
Smiling has been shown to help lower heart rate, which helps in recovery during stressful periods. In one study, subjects were asked to smile while doing stressful tasks. Those who smiled had lower cardiovascular stress than those who did not.
Smiling even when you don't feel like it can help lift your mood. The simple act of smiling increases dopamine and endorphins, hormones that are associated with joy and happiness. This creates a positive feedback loop in the brain that stimulates more happy hormones and creates a cycle of happiness.
9. Celebrate your accomplishments.
Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. In the book, The Progress Principle, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer conducted a study that demonstrated the power of celebrating small wins while doing meaningful work.
In the book, the author's explained that an employee's inner work life, when optimistic, has a direct, positive effect on the performance, productivity and overall well-being of the entire workplace.
The same principle can be applied to everyone in everyday life. No matter how small the win may be, celebrate it.
This can be treating yourself to a bowl of ice cream after a long day, or giving yourself a pat on the back because you got out of bed this morning.
These small wins are worth celebrating because life is full of ups and downs. Our emotions can be up one hour and down the next. When we celebrate even the smallest progress, we give those celebratory moments more meaning.
This creates greater emotional resilience and motivation for us even when we are feeling low.
10. Help others.
“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.” - Lydia M. Child
Numerous studies have been done on the positive effect of helping others. Helping someone can help to reduce stress, increase longevity, and improve overall health.
In his book, Altruism, the Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World, author Matthieu Ricard shed light on how compassion and helping others can bring you happiness and joy.
In one study done at the University of British Columbia, psychologists found that toddlers under the age of two were happier when they gave treats to others rather than receiving treats themselves.
The children were even happier when they gave their own treat to another rather than give a treat that was not theirs. The children experienced more joy from the act of giving to others than when they received something.
“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” ― Carlos Santana
3 helpful tips to experience more joy.
When we are down, we want to feel anything but. The first instinct is to suppress it with whatever can take us away from the unpleasant feeling. However, these tactics may create more problems than they solve.
In order to create more moments of joy in your life, you have to embrace all your feelings, not just the positive ones. Have you ever tried to push away a negative feeling, only to have it come back much worse?
Although we want to create more joy in our lives, we also want to embrace all of our feelings so that we're not ignoring something for the sake of feeling more joy in our life.
Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings, even the uncomfortable ones. If it's not possible to feel certain feelings, like anger, you can wait until you get home, then allow the feelings to come through.
With practice, you will eventually learn to feel those negative feelings and let them go.
Another technique is to slow down and breathe. Breathing allows you to focus and then relax. If you're doing this for the first time, it might feel like a struggle. With practice, it becomes easier and more pleasant.
Remember to breathe slowly and gently so you don't get lightheaded. Over time, you might find this breathing exercise to be a joyful experience.
3. Get help.
If you're having a hard time letting go of negative thoughts or feelings, you might have to get some help from someone you trust or a professional. This can be a close friend, relative, spiritual leader, or licensed therapist.
“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace - a connection to what matters.” ― Oprah Winfrey
Final thoughts on joy.
Joy is a feeling that can lift your spirits and increase happiness in your life. Experiencing moments of joy in your life on a regular basis has been shown to have a positive effect on your health and well-being.
Joy is all around us and all we have to do is to simply become aware of it. Adding more joy to your life can be as small as writing down the things that bring you joy, surrounding yourself with people that uplift you, expressing gratitude, spending some time by yourself, finding your purpose in life, celebrating your accomplishments, helping others, and even smiling more.
I hope you found these tips to create more joy in your life helpful. Please share any feedback in the comments!