Finding & Embracing Joy

For just a moment, stop what you’re doing and think about your the joy that is currently in your life.

Go ahead, I'm happy to wait while you think for a minute...

So...How much joy are you experiencing in your life these days?  Is it overflowing and spilling out of your every pore, or are you having to search the back corners of your mind to find something that inspires joy these days?

I hope it’s the former or at least somewhere closer to that end of the spectrum!  If not, don’t give up or feel like a failure!  Life has a way of running hot and cold and at any given time we aren’t always in a sunny spot.  We might be standing in a shadow, but that’s okay.

I have another question for you…did you notice that I asked you about ‘joy’ and not ‘happiness’?  Probably not…most people use these words interchangeably and assume they’re the same thing.  But, they’re not!

Happiness comes from external circumstances.
Joy comes from within.

To some extent, you can’t control happiness.  Sure, you may opt to do things you enjoy which will inevitably increase your happiness.  But, when life throws you a curve ball as in some sort of loss, a missed opportunity, or one of those days where nothing seems to go right, how happy do you feel?  Probably not that much.

But, joy is all yours.  You control your joy…nobody else!  I like to think of it as the light within us that shines out, and even in the times where life tosses us those curve balls, we have the power to keep that light shining and still feel joy.

@@In the absence of happiness, you can still feel joy.@@

Now, if I were to ask you my original question again…how much joy are you experiencing in your life these days?  Is your answer the same?  Or, can you now see some of the things you were thinking of as joy-stealers before are actually external circumstances that are interfering with your happiness?  If that’s the case, can you look within instead and see that light of joy in spite of those external circumstances?  If yes, then you’re in a good place!!

 

Finding Joy in your Life

There are many things you can do to strengthen the joy that is within you, or to grow the joy if you’re finding it lacking.  And do you know what the wonderful thing is about all of these options?

Every single one of these are free! 

It won’t cost you a thing to try out each of these ideas.

Also, most of these ideas don’t even take much time!  So you can’t blame time or money on ignoring your joy.  It’s your choice and completely in your power to make major shifts in your life simply by shining your light a little brighter.

So, how do you do that?  With these simple ideas...

Be Grateful

Gratitude is nothing more than noticing the things that bring you joy and being grateful for it.  Those who regularly practice gratitude tend to be infinitely happier and joyful than those who don’t.

At first, it may seem weird to try to think of things to be grateful for, but I promise in just about every situation, you can find gratitude.  A friend of mine recently wrecked his car (he was fine and no one else was injured).  You might look at that as a horrible thing to happen, but as it turns out, his car is almost 10 years old and he planned to buy a new one soon anywayt.  The fact that this happened before he bought his new car is something to be very grateful for!  It would’ve been even more sickening if this was a brand new car.  

If this isn’t something you’re used to doing, it may take practice and It may require you to adjust your attitude.  You have to be grateful for what you have right now instead of feeling like life isn’t fair, or wasting time comparing yourself to others, or the poor-me, feel-sorry-for-me attitude that a lot of people have.  
     Related Topic:  Why You Need to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Do something for others

Whenever you do something for other people, especially RAKs, it always makes you feel good.  It doesn’t have to be big or cost anything.  Help your elderly neighbor carry in her groceries, pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line, offer to babysit for one of your friends so she and her husband can enjoy a night out together….it doesn’t matter…just do something for someone else that you know will bring them happiness and I bet it’ll bring you instant joy.

Do what makes you feel good

This may seem obvious, but so many people go through the day doing things that don’t make them happy or make them feel good.  If that’s you and you don’t feel you have much joy inside, is it any wonder?  Figure out things you enjoy and find ways to do them on a regular basis.

Silence the inner critic

We all have that little voice that critiques everything we do or tells us we should lose 10 pounds or something else that makes us feel bad.  If you want to increase your joy, you have to silence the inner critic.  The next time you hear her pipe in uninvited, tell her to go to hell and carry on with your merry self!
     Related Topic #1:  Think You Can't Do Something? Think Again! 
     Related Topic #2: 6 Ways to Banish Negative Self-Talk Forever

Take a moment out for yourself

If you spend any time around here, you know I’m a strong advocate for 'me-time'!  It’s not selfish to need and want a little time for yourself…it’s essential to your well-being.  To raise your level of joy, know that you’re worth taking a little time out to yourself every day.  It doesn’t have to be hours of ‘me-time’ (although, sometimes, yes, take a full afternoon to yourself!), it may just be 15 minutes, but carving a little time to just be you will help you find more joy in your life.

Honor your Faith

Everybody’s faith is different but in whatever form it takes for you, make time to honor it.  That may mean going to a traditional church, or it may mean setting aside time for meditating and yoga.  Diving in deeper on whatever you believe will help you strengthen and grow your joy.

Love and be Loved

Whether it’s a partner, your child, other family members, or friends, find the love around you and savor it.  Then turn around and give it right back to those around you.  Giving love and experiencing love can be a sure fire way of igniting the joy within, so don’t hold back on dishing it out to others!

Laugh

Every day find something to laugh about - a movie, a comic strip, cute animal videos on YouTube, whatever, just find something to laugh about every single day.  This will keep you young, reduce stress, and…you guessed it…raise the level of joy in your life!

 

Final Thoughts

For some people, taking on some of these ideas will be ‘easy’, but for others it may take some work.  To find joy, you need to know yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. 

If you’re not happy with where you are in your life right now, you have the power to rechart your journey. If you aren’t finding joy in your life right now - move, get a new job, leave a dead end relationship, work to restore a waning relationship, make more time for yourself, etc.  It might require big changes, time, and money, but life is short and ever single one of us deserve to live a joyful life.

What have you always wanted to do in life that you’re not doing now?  Figure that out and then find a way to make it happen!

How is your joy these days? Is your inner light shining bright or do you need to challenge yourself to make it even brighter? I'd love to hear, so leave me your thoughts below!

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