Each day is a chance for us to start anew. We can find joy in life from being with our loved ones, our job and the smaller things, like a hot cup of coffee, or a walk in the park on a sunny day. The challenge of how to find joy in life is to know what makes us happy and pursue these things in our daily life, wherever possible.
If you feel like your life doesn’t contain much joy lately, you can take some steps below to create a more joy-filled life:
1. Show Kindness
One of the best ways to bring joy into your life is to bring joy to others. When you show kindness to other people, you’ll get what’s called a “Helper’s High” where you’ll feel more positive as well as the person you’re kind to.
Volunteer or reach out to someone who has been struggling. Even simply smiling at a stranger can brighten his or her day. There are so many ways to be kind. Once you begin going out of your way being kind to others, you’ll notice that you’ll feel more joy in your daily life.
2. Make a List of What Makes You Happy
To find more joy in your life, identify everything that makes you happy by creating a list. Now, include one item off this list in your life every day.
If you’re unsure where to start, develop a journaling habit. Every day, write down what made you happy and what you’re grateful for. Through journaling, you’ll learn more about yourself, and you’ll practice more gratitude, which increases your happiness by about 25%, according to Dr. Robert Emmons, an expert in the field of gratitude.
Turn to this journal when you’re feeling down so you can remind yourself of all the things and people in your life that bring you joy.
3. Live in the Present
Sometimes, we resign ourselves to an unhappy situation because we believe if we suffer now, we’ll reap the rewards later. We continue working at the job we hate because if we just stick it out for the next five years, we’ll have the mortgage paid off, and then we can find another job. We work toward a goal or dream and tell ourselves that we’ll finally be happy once we achieve that goal.
We might also pine for the past, wishing we could return to that time in our lives when everything was better. But you don’t have to wait for a future date that may never come, or focus on the past that you can’t return to. You can choose to be happy now. You can choose to appreciate the good things you have in your life right now. Concentrate on your breathing to clear your head. Take in your surroundings. You’ll find beauty and joy in the life around you if you only look.
4. Appreciate the Little Things
Take time to appreciate the little things in life that make you happy. Some of them can include:
- Snuggle With a Loved One or Pet
A little physical interaction can increase our joy. Whether you choose to cuddle with a pet or a partner, a good snuggle can help you feel happier and more relaxed. Dogs love curling up with their human companions, so watch a movie or Netflix with your furry friend or loved one by your side.
- Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
While coffee made its way into America way back in the 17th century, millions of Americans still enjoy the taste of it on a daily basis. Many people stop at coffeehouses to enjoy their favorite beverage and catch up with friends. Go on a coffee date, or treat yourself to a steaming cup of joe, while you get some work done. Drinking coffee also has some additional benefits, like helping you burn extra fat and preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to Healthline.com.
- Play Like a Child
Splash in a puddle, swing at a playground, sing out loud, make a snowman, jump into the ocean, play a board game, blow bubbles, fly a kite—these are just some of the ways you can regain your childhood joys.
6. Get Active
Exercise releases endorphins. These endorphins make us happy. When you exercise regularly, you’ll lower your stress levels, sleep better and be healthier and happier.
You don’t need to engage in high-intensity workouts that leave you sweaty and drained. Fun, moderate-intensity activities can release endorphins as well. Walk your dog, ride a bike, go swimming, or dance like no one is watching. Inviting a friend to join you can make the activity even more fun and motivate both of you to get active.
7. Have a Good Laugh
They say laughter is the best medicine for a reason. The very act of smiling and laughing makes us happier. Find a friend, movie or TV show that you know can always get you laughing.
Though it may seem odd at first, you can also force yourself to smile or laugh when you’re by yourself. A fake laugh can turn into a genuine laugh and make you feel better.
8. Try Something New
A common cause of the feeling of emptiness is boredom. If your life has gotten a bit stale, try something new. Do you have a bucket list? Have you always wanted to do something but haven’t taken the leap? Now’s the time.
If you’ve been feeling restless at your job, try a side hustle. You can dip your toe into a new field without fully committing, or leaving your day job too quickly. If you have a crush on someone, ask him or her out on a date.
Leave your comfort zone behind and push yourself a little. You’ll be proud of yourself for taking a chance. You may find a new hobby you really enjoy, or have an incredible experience that you’ll never forget.
Add some or all of these ideas over time to help you find joy in life.
What brings you joy? Let us know below. We would love to hear from you.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys drinking tea, dark chocolate, and rainy day snuggles with her daughter. She enjoys sunny days, too, but finds they are less conducive for snuggles. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.