Are you lacking in the joy department?
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
When you look around, does it seem some people are bubbling over with happiness and things just always seem to work out for them? Do you wonder what do they have that you don't? You are not alone and read on to find ways to sprinkle joy in your life.
I don't actually know anyone who conscientiously tries to be unhappy. I'm sure they are lurking but overall most people want a shot at joy and happiness. There are so many different situations in life that deplete us on the joy scale. We have also heard that each situation is what we make of it. Meaning how we react will determine how miserable we will become. All that sounds good in theory however, not intentionally finding the silver lining for every situation can seem much more appealing and easier at the time. But, if we want to be healthy overall we do have to make that conscious effort to build joy into our day.
A little over 10 years ago I gave birth to my daughter, Avery. I soon realized I was suffering from postpartum depression. I was slipping even though I had everything I always wanted, a loving husband and, now, two healthy children. But joy was being sucked out of me at an extreme rate. I visited my neighbor one day and she said "Heather, you have to say your daily affirmations." I looked at her with a giant question mark on my face and wondered what she was talking about. She explained that at least ONCE a day but ideally multiple times a day I needed to thank the universe for all my blessings.
This was an extremely hard task for someone who was suffering from depression. It's truly hard to find goodness when you feel defeated. I did as she said day in and day out. The positive change that was happening was so minimal that for a while I thought it was hogwash until one day I didn't have to remind myself to thank the universe. I was just doing it automatically. What I soon realized was by saying in my mind all the amazing blessings I had in my life, they were slowly replacing the negative thoughts. There truly was something to the mind over matter belief. That someone CAN change the stories in their head where good DOES overpower bad!
Once you become more sensitive to all the things you do have vs. the things you don't, you will start to find joy all around you. It's literally everywhere. Do a challenge with yourself, pick a number like four, for example. Your challenge is to find four moments of joy in that given day. I promise you will not have to search very long. When you go to the store and your favorite song comes on the radio, seeing children laughing uncontrollably, finishing that book you started, getting a text message from a friend all count as moments of joy. By doing this challenge you are literally boosting happy hormones and replacing feelings of comparing, anger, bitterness, sadness and so on. Start today to rewrite the stories you are telling yourself everyday on loop.
Once you see the positive effects joy has on your spirit it is easy to execute more ideas like now spreading kindness through acts of service. This could range from giving a loved one a cup of coffee to volunteering in your community. The sky is the limit on spreading joy to others. You may feel like how can I possibly fit in that visit with a friend or family member but when you do the joy is twofold in return. The joy you feel spreads to the person you are talking to and they spread it to the next person and on it goes. The thing to remember is, the same can be true for irritability. When you are in a foul mood those emotions can easily be spread to others if you don't harness them. So take the time to gage where your emotions are before unleashing them on others.
After you have tried these exercises for some time, you might find that you are slowly surrounding yourself with positive people. Kinds of people who don't drain you but build you up. You might be more inclined to check out a new workout class and meet like minded people. People who help you see the positive in your life and make you laugh. In my opinion, there is nothing better than laughing. Not taking yourself or life too seriously is a major ingredient for joy.
Start right now to make a conscience effort to choose joy! Set different challenges for you and your family everyday to MAKE joy a presence in your lives. Don't listen to those old stories that have had a hold on you for far too long. Choose joy for your health and wellness but also for the happiness of those around you. Remember, this is a daily practice so if you fall off the joy wagon just know we ALL do but be sure to get yourself back on. Work on it diligently to the point where it's no longer work but an involuntary action. I promise you will not be wondering what the smiling person on the street has that you don't for much longer. You will in fact smile at the person and say he/she was a moment of joy to add to your counting challenge.