Who doesn’t want to experience more joy in this life? Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t anything to be joyful about. Or maybe you can’t remember the last time you were really happy.
Just waiting for joy and happiness to show up isn’t likely to yield great results. Like so many things in life, finding joy is a proactive thing. So here are eight steps you can take to bring more joy into your life.
1. Put It on Your List
Seriously. This simple step can help put the joyful thing back in the forefront of your mind. On your to-do list, refrigerator, dry erase board, or even a dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror, make a note to find joy. Then you’ll kick-start your mind and start looking for the happy things.
2. No Self-Condemnation
Believe it or not, many of us feel guilt or embarrassment at being joyful. Maybe we think “now isn’t the time” or “how can I be joyful when there’s so much pain in the world?” But the bottom line is, being joyful in the midst of sorrow and difficulty is an art, and an admirable one. Just because others aren’t happy doesn’t mean you have to join them. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about being happy – give yourself permission to be joyful anyway! You might find that it “spreads.”
3. Have a Silly Moment
Did you just have a ridiculous experience or funny thought? Share it! Text someone, tweet it, or post it on a social networking site or in an online group.
4. Laugh at Yourself
Really – think about how funny you must have looked or sounded just then. Find the funny stuff in your situation – look for humor in off-the-wall places. Take a moment and look at yourself and your circumstances from another point of view.
If you have any kids nearby, go outside and play with them, or find a way to play indoors if you can’t go out. It doesn’t have to be a sport – all the better if it isn’t. Free play like imaginative role-playing, exploring the woods, rolling down a grassy hill, or playing tag are all fun ways to get back to your playful side.
Just smile at people and animals – a dog in the park, a child in a stroller, an older couple holding hands. Smile at the things you see around you and experience the joy they offer.
7. Say Thank You
Thank someone each day (or regularly at least) for how they make you feel, what they’ve done for you, or how they have made your life better. This will help you both feel more joy!
8. The Joy of Nature
Getting outdoors and appreciating the fresh air, fields, woods, rocks, wildlife, or whatever you have available is a wonderful way to experience nature’s joy. It can be on the beach or in the mountains, or anywhere in between…just get outside for a bit each day if you can, or at least weekly. You don’t have to “do” anything – just be outside and take it all in.
Don’t be afraid to be joyful! You may find that people really like to be around you because you are so upbeat.