How to Harness the Power of Joy
Looking for fun and simple ways to add more joy to your life? Read on! 😀
What is joy?
Joy is a internal quality of the heart, a state of happiness caused by the expectation or acquisition of good.
A person can be joyful even in the face of difficulties, like during a pandemic, because joy doesn't come from our external environment or circumstances. In fact, JOY helps us to cope with difficult circumstances.
Joy is a state of being or an attitude that is cultivated (actively worked on) in the heart and mind. We are not born with it and it's not automatic.
Anyone can develop it!
This is why people can smile even when everything is going wrong. The secret? They make themselves smile by expecting or focusing on good things.
There are sad situations that can temporarily take our joy away, such as the loss of a loved one or other stressful situations. But joy can be regained and it's worth doing so in order to have a meaningful life and a good relationship with others.
Don't chase happiness. Cultivate joy instead.
In general, it's better to cultivate joy than to pursue happiness. Happiness is often contingent on external factors. We are happy when we get a new car. But if we crash the car, joy sustains us by focusing on gratitude, we survived the accident and someday can replace the car.
Is it possible to achieve joy now, especially when there's so much uncertainty about the future?
Yes, it is possible to be joyful even now.
But here is a word of caution: We don't want to bury our head in the sand or exude positive vibes all the time as if nothing is wrong in the world. That would be unrealistic and dangerous.
It would be like sitting on a train track overjoyed that we don't see a train coming. Well we know the train eventually comes. So don't be too busy having a good time not to notice or feel what's happening around you or in the world.
One of the benefits of stepping out of your (protective) bubble is that you can take the opportunity to look at yourself and at the world in general and be grateful for what you have. Some have it better than you but way more people have it worse than you!
Cultivating gratitude is one of the simplest ways to create more joy.
I know I need daily reminders of what brings me joy. So here are some practical things you can do to bring joy in your life.
20 Practical Ways to Cultivate Joy
Replace worry with gratitude.
Wait patiently for the good things to come.
Focus on the good now.
Listen to upbeat music.
Sing like no one is listening. (Mariah Carey songs are fun for this. Yes, I'm old. 🤣)
Pray (this should be at the top of the list).
Search for the deeper meaning of life. (Are we really random products of chaos?)
Stay busy doing the right things, like helping others.
Take breaks from the news.
Don't believe everything the media tells you. Think for yourself. Wear a mask.
Cultivate humility. (Have a proper view of oneself. Not too high, not too low)
Speak truth with others.
Have a clean conscience. (Cultivate a higher standard of morality than the world.)
Keep fresh flowers around you. If you don't garden, find a friend that does.
Take a hot bubble bath with real bubbles + essential oils like lavender.
Read a good book (funny, cheerful)
Watch a good movie (funny, cheerful)
Watch a comedian (our favorites are Sinbad and Brian Regan.)
Once in a while treat yourself to something, like a delicious snack or a mini-vacation.
Last but not least...
20. Create a joy journal!
A joy journal is a notebook that you fill with things that bring you joy.
I came up with this idea when I found a gift a friend made me years ago. She bought a notebook with blank pages, gave it a theme and filled it with pictures, postcards, quotes and sayings about colors. It made me smile to look through it. She reminded me to see the world for its beauty and not to miss even the tiniest of details like the shades of colors in nature or the hue of an afternoon sky. You get the picture...
So I bought myself a notebook with a cover that inspires me.
I plan on filling this notebook with clippings of articles, pictures, sayings, quotes, breathing exercises...anything that brings me joy.
Fill your journal with visual, happy thoughts to focus on.
Your joy journal project should be fun. There's no pressure to do it everyday. Just whenever you come across something that brings you joy you put it in there! Make it extra fun by getting your friends to make one too.
Joy is like a fire. 🔥 We need to keep putting wood on it if we want it to stay strong.
OK, now let's be real...
The list above is a good start and is useful for making your daily life more joyful and I'm sure I have left out many other good ideas.
But, what if you've lost your joy and can't seem to get it back? Then it's time to examine where your focus has been.
If your focus is on material things, this is artificial joy. For example: my 7 year old son keeps saying, "I promise mommy, this is the last toy I will ever ask for in my life." 😜 He doesn't understand yet. New toys make him happy for a minute but having kind, loving, caring parents will give him joy for life.
Here's a thought: people who are truly joyful have strong values, know who they are, have purposeful goals, are kind to others and live by right standards! Cultivate these and you'll never be short on joy.
Now it's your turn to go light up your joy! 🔥
Make your own list of reasons to be joyful.
Start your own joy journal.
Share what brings you joy on social media.