Life is a rollercoaster full of ups, downs, twists, turns, and surprises. Some surprises and winding paths can make us feel excited, alive, and ready for more. Yet others can leave us feeling breathless, scared, and questioning everything. Yet through the inevitable challenges that life brings us, there are ways to learn how to find joy in your life and make the ride more enjoyable, despite the obstacles.
How to Find Joy In Your Life
1. Allow yourself to process
How do you feel at this very moment? Sad, angry, stressed, overwhelmed? No matter how awful you feel, allow yourself to process what is happening within you. When we avoid the past and unpleasant emotions, we unconsciously create more suffering. Therefore, the best method to ease the pain is to process how you feel through journaling, meditation, or labeling your emotions to allow the feelings to arise and pass.
2. Look for little moments
Instead of consistently focusing on your future goals and the things you haven’t manifested yet, look around you and bask in the simple pleasures. For example, pet your dog’s soft fur, focus on the colors of a beautiful sunrise, watch the wind blow through the trees, or eat a juicy fruit with all of your senses. These micro-moments are what create true happiness and joy. Acknowledge them and be grateful for their existence.
3. Remove the pressure
Often when we’re trying to build joy, we place so much pressure on ourselves. We lean into self-criticism and think, “What is wrong with me?” “Why am I unhappy?” and “I should be able to experience joy naturally”. These statements do the exact opposite; they create more suffering and self-hate. Instead, remove the pressure by practicing self-forgiveness and accepting that you’re human. Some days you’ll experience moments of pure happiness, and others, you’ll want to hide away from the world. Both states are acceptable.
4. Connect to your body
If you’re standing in line for a lot longer than expected, rather than getting upset, connect to your body. For example, what does that level of stress feel like? Tight chest, clammy hands, or tense shoulders? Connecting to your body in moments of stress and pain provides a grounding way to process your emotions. Over time, you discover that icky feelings don’t last forever.
5. Do what you love
You probably can’t travel every day or swim in the ocean every hour. Heck, none of us can. But there are things you can incorporate into your daily life that light you up. For example, maybe you love walking, spending time with your friends, exercising, meditating, or connecting to nature. Whatever you love, make it a priority, and joy will ooze out of you.
6. Focus on the positive
It’s easy to get swept up in the vicious cycle of wanting something to end or wanting something to manifest in our lives. But this cycle only adds to our suffering. To get out of it, start by focusing on the positives. For example, what are you grateful for? Perhaps you have a supportive group of friends, a safe home, consistent food, and clean water, or maybe you love your career. Think about the good already present in your life. Even if it isn’t perfect, it’s still worth noting.
7. Challenge yourself
Everything is constantly changing. It’s unavoidable. So, instead of beating yourself up for the inevitable, spend time creating a basket of positive tools to help you cope with the ebb and flow of life. For example, if you lose a job, fight with a loved one, or receive bad news, pull out your coping system. Take a bubble bath, call a friend, watch an uplifting movie, take a yoga class, or get a massage. Change how you react to help you feel better both physically and mentally.
8. Eliminate negativity
Does your social circle uplift or drain you? This is a very important question to reflect upon when learning how to find joy in your life. For example, if your loved ones operate at a low vibration, their negativity will, unfortunately, attach to you like a magnet. Conversely, if your friends support and empower you to build your happiness, their innate joy will rub off on you. Indeed, the saying is true “You are the company you keep”.
9. Give without restriction
When we help others and connect to something greater, we feel better. In fact, it’s backed by science. Giving releases oxytocin, the love hormone. And even if you can’t donate money, don’t worry. There are many powerful ways to give, like volunteering, helping a stranger or friend in need, giving a compliment, or holding the door open. Give without restriction, and don’t think twice about building joy in others.
10. Anchor in the here and now
It’s no surprise that we live in a chaotic world. We operate on over-drive, always running from one thing to the next. We never seem to slow down and connect to the world around us, void from our phones, to-do lists, goals, etc. Yet the best antidote is to unplug, focus on the present moment and practice the art of mindfulness. It will allow you to savor your life and relish in pure joy.
11. Listen to yourself
You and only you know what you want and what you need to feel better. So, spend time trusting that inner voice gently whispering words of encouragement and support. Even if you have a habit of seeking external validation, look within first before you ask your friends and family. When you learn to trust and listen to yourself, you’ll discover that you hold the roadmap to building your joy.
12. Imagine what you want
We often avoid visualizing what we want because we’re afraid of the disappointment that comes along with failure. Even if we’ve manifested six out of our ten dreams, we remember the four we didn’t. But visualization is a powerful tool, and imagining what you want is key to manifesting it in your external reality. So, go for it and allow yourself to dream big!
13. Focus on meaning
What is your purpose? That butterfly feeling in your stomach that pulls you out of bed no matter what kind of a day you’re having? Is it studying law to improve climate change initiatives, traveling the world, or helping others heal from intergenerational trauma? Whatever your purpose is, focus your daily efforts on that one thing that provides significant meaning in your life. When you do, your joy will increase tenfold.
14. Move your body
Exercise provides far more long-reaching benefits than simply losing weight or achieving your fitness goals. It provides a warm hug for your soul by releasing several mood-boosting endorphins and hormones with each sweat. And every time you move your body and get your heart rate up, you’ll receive a nice break from any challenges or pain clouding your mind. So, roll out your yoga mat, hit the gym, train for a half-marathon or go for a long walk and feel the beauty of movement.
When we encounter obstacles, we often run away or seek something external to help us forget. While avoidance feels great short-term, it inevitably creates more pain long-term. So, the best way to learn how to find joy in your life is through acceptance, reflection, and positive coping mechanisms like the ones in this list. Keep trying, and you will feel more joyful each day.
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