I look around and see so many people going through life without joy. Many will tell you that they have little to be joyous about, but I would disagree. Experiencing joy comes down to a matter of perspective, meaning what you choose to focus on and want to see. I’ve learned that joy doesn’t have to be hard to manifest in your life. Having joy also doesn’t require you having a perfect life. Most of us can create it by simply making a conscious effort to have more happiness.
Let me be real with you right out of the gate – joy is an important mindset.
It’s not just about what happens to you.
You have to realise that believing that, is the trap. Oftentimes people believe that their happiness and joy are the natural outflows of a perfect life. In other words, when you have everything sorted then you’d be happy and filled with joy.
But that’s not necessarily true.
There are many people I know who have “perfect” or “good” lives but they are miserable.
They have money to pay the bills. They live in their own house. They have friends. They have a partner or spouse. They have healthy children. They have food to eat. Every now and again they get to overindulge and treat themselves with dining out or having a special cuppa something somewhere. They have a car to drive. They have access to doctors and other professionals to help them when they are struggling.
Yet, they still manage to find reasons to be miserable.
Now, if you are someone like that, I’m not sharing this to put you on a guilt trip but, it is all about perspective at the end of the day. Oftentimes we simply choose to focus on the wrong things that naturally create unhelpful emotional states within us.
Our circumstances do impact how we might feel but know that your reactions to events, circumstances, people, and situations are also a huge part of it.
I need you to know that even though joy may feel impermanent or fickle at the moment, you can attract it and make it more stable by doing a few things differently.
And in this post today I want to share with you 5 simple things you can do to create more joy in your life.
All I ask is that you give it a try and see how it goes. Do it for a couple of weeks, and see whether it’s making any difference. I would love to hear about your experience.
5 Easy Ways to Create More Joy in Your Life
Make a change.
It doesn’t matter what some people tell you, good change is good.
Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or take a professional cooking class, you can make changes in your life that lead to joy.
The reason why “change” is good for your overall mental and emotional state is because it feeds back into the intrinsic human need of “variety.”
Variety is all about adventure, changing it up, something new, risk, anticipation, surprise, and excitement.
We all, to some degree, have a need for something to mix things up in our lives.
It’s obviously important that we know our boundaries with this, as too much change in a short space of time can be overbearing, but little, frequent, good interruptions to our boring schedules can be positive.
You just need to know yourself and control this is much as you can.
What I would say however is you must avoid allowing fear to stop you from making changes.
Joy tends to be on the other side of fear.
Can you imagine how you’ll feel when you finally take the class you’ve always wanted?
Can you imagine how you’ll feel when you switch careers to something you love?
The change doesn’t have to be huge. You can take small steps toward your dreams.
Just realise that much of your happiness depends on you. You can’t expect your life to get better by doing nothing every day. So make a change to take you in the direction you wish to go.
Start small, but start. Sitting around playing with your thumbs won’t fill your life with joy, I can promise you that.
It’s easy to focus on the day-to-day stress and lose sight of the simple things that you’re thankful for.
So here’s my challenge to you:
Make a list or keep a journal of all the good things in your life. Every morning and every night (before bed), write down three things that you can be truly grateful for. Their size doesn’t matter.
Review it each day, at the start and end of the day.
This will help you find peace and joy on a daily basis by shifting your focus to ALL the things in your life, and not just the negative ones you’re struggling with at the moment. You’ll be reminded and see that your life isn’t made up of just negative moments. There is a lot of good in it.
But what we choose to focus on plays a huge role in how we feel and therefore what we do.
Your gratitude list can include ordinary things such as having a home, a bed, or breakfast every morning. The key is to focus on the areas of your life that make you feel happy.
Make a happy board.
Similar to a vision board, a happy board is filled with things that make you happy – right now – rather than goals that you’re working toward.
For example, if the beach is one of your favourite places, fill your happy board with images of beaches. If you like forests, have pictures of beautiful forests. If you love having people around you, have heaps of pictures of people laughing together and having a good time.
You can make it on paper or design it on your computer.
The key is to use the space to add things that bring joy to your life.
As you do this exercise you might find that you’re reminded of things you used to enjoy doing as a kid but have since stopped doing them.
It’s interesting how certain activities of our childhood fill us with so much joy, even by just thinking about them, but we don’t build versions of them into our lives as adults.
For example, I used to love spending time in the water swimming. I could do it for hours, especially in natural, cold mountain pools or river streams.
Yet, even though I live in a place surrounded by water I never seek out natural swimming holes to just experience that sense of freedom and connection with nature again.
After realising this, however, I did take up sprinting again.
I used to sprint all the time as I loved running fast. By getting my weight under control and training hard again, I managed to get back into competitive masters sprinting and absolutely loved it. It fills me so much with joy and happiness going through the paces training and the nerves of competing. It fills you up.
You have to find your version of this. And it starts with creating a “happy board” however, filled with pictures of all the things you truly enjoy (or used to enjoy) that fill you with happiness.
Also, the added benefit of doing this is that this exercise can act as a manifesting agent and help you get more of the things you love.
Stop the flaw focus.
One of the things that hurt your ability to have more joy is a focus on your flaws or mistakes.
As people, we seem to have a natural tendency to focus on the negative things about ourselves rather than the positive. Unfortunately, the cost of doing this to our happiness and joy is pretty high.
It is virtually impossible to feel a great sense of joy and excitement in your life when you’re constantly thinking about all the things that are “wrong” with you.
If you want to experience more joy in your life you’ll have to find a way to change this.
It’s also important to realise that focusing on your flaws or mistakes applies to both internal and external influences.
Yes, it is true that we are sometimes our own worst enemies, but oftentimes we have external influences in our lives that keep reminding us of our flaws.
Therefore, if others are concentrating on your flaws, then it’s time to move on and find new friends.
Likewise, if you’re paying too much attention to your own flaws, then it’s time to change your mindset.
It’s important to practice self-love and acceptance each day. Recognise your flaws without focusing on them.
Remember, there is a big difference between “selfishness” and “self-love.”
When you’re selfish, you’re only focusing on yourself at the expense of others.
Self-love on the other hand also means focusing on yourself, but it’s more about taking care of yourself and being kind to yourself so that you can extend the same love to others.
You cannot give what you don’t have. Self-love gives you what you need in order to show love.
You can’t experience happiness if you’re constantly blaming yourself and making yourself feel awful. It’s important to learn how to forgive yourself to have joy.
Learn to let go of the guilt and shame that has built up in your life.
If there’s anything in your mind right now that you’re still blaming yourself for, YOU HAVE TO LET IT GO.
No good will come from holding onto stuff that is in the past. No matter how bad you feel about them, or how much you beat yourself up, nothing will change what happened.
But, you CAN change what is happening today and tomorrow.
The choices you make today are important for today and your future. Those are the things you need to focus on. Not water that’s under the bridge. There is no point in doing that.
Let me ask you this, what’s the point of having the freedom to do with your life what you want but you’re imprisoning yourself through the thoughts you’re keeping in your mind?
What good is it to be out of prison physically but you’re locking yourself up mentally?
No, I challenge you today to practice forgiveness and stifle your inner critic for good.
View forgiveness as a way to use self-love on a daily basis and set your life free.
Listen, joy doesn’t have to be a fleeting moment you only feel on occasion.
No, let joy be a bigger part of your daily existence.
Use these 5 strategies and start enjoying your life more. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You only get this one; some make the most of it.