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How to Remind Yourself to Choose Joy Every Day
Choosing joy over anger, irritation, frustration, sadness or boredom isn’t easy. It’s a life long process. And while joy has become my default choice more and more often as I practice it. I am still far from perfect. And I am learning every day. Every day that I choose to react differently is a win for me and the kind of person I want to be. And it’s also another chance to teach my kids by example how to be the kind of person I hope that they will grow up to be.
Choosing Joy is a Lifelong Practice
Some days I am tired and frustrated and just want to throw myself a pity party. Other days I don’t want to choose joy, I want to rip someone’s head off and lose my temper because sometimes it just feels so good to lose it or to dish back to someone what they are throwing my way.
“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”
Why Do I Fail to Choose Joy?
Most of us were never taught that there was any choice in our emotions. I know that I learned from a very young age that emotions rule our lives and that there is nothing I can do about it. I learned that were were slaves to every passing feeling and they must be acted upon.
It wasn’t until I learned about the 90-second rule for emotions that I really began to turn my life around. I began to realize that reveling (or wallowing) in whatever feeling it was was a choice. And if feeling like garbage was a choice, why not feeling joy?
Some of my Favorite Things that Spark Joy
When I found Ingrid Fetell Lee’s new book, Joyful, at the local library, I knew I had to read it. And once I had finished reading it, I knew I had to own it. My now dog-eared copy sits on my desk and I refer to it almost daily.
As I started to feel those uncomfortable emotions and then let them go instead of inviting them in for tea and a permanent place to live, I found that I needed to start journaling more intentionally so that I could clear out some of the junk in my head and choose joy more easily.
Having a journal and actually using it also gave me a place to record those moments of clarity when I chose joy instead of an easier and uglier emotion.
I love the inspirational quotes in this journal, but honestly, my favorite part of journaling was using the pretty pens. I have tried almost all of the gel pens available, from expensive to cheap and these gel pens are my favorite by far. No smudging, gorgeous colors and they last FOREVER!
Common Questions About Choosing Joy
How Do You Find Joy in Everyday Life?
- stop worrying
- stop waiting for happiness to show up
- appreciate the small stuff in your life that’s going right
- laugh more
- make a plan for joy
- write a love letter to your life
What Does it Mean to Choose Joy?
Choosing joy means no longer being held hostage by your reactions to a situation. Instead of reacting, you are acting: you are making a choice. You are choosing to see your circumstances in the best possible light. Or you are choosing joy by changing those circumstances. There is some stuff out of our control. Let that stuff go and see the joy in doing that. But when something in your life needs to change, there is great joy in moving forward and changing it!
What Things Bring You Joy?
The specifics of what brings joy vary greatly from person to person. But if you are stuck and just don’t know where to start looking for joy, try out one or more of these ideas!
- get outside
- dance to a favorite song
- buy yourself some flowers or chocolate
- watch the sunrise or sunset
- take a moonlit walk
- do a good deed (bonus points if it’s anonymous)
- color in a coloring book
- wear your favorite color
- read a book
- clean out a drawer or a shelf
- browse the local library
- visit the local animal shelter and play with a puppy or a kitten
- close your eyes and breathe deeply
- write a comment on a favorite blog
- write in your journal
- eat cake!
- catch up on a favorite show
- put down the device and spend some time offline
- write a note to a friend
“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Choosing Joy
Choosing joy isn’t always easy but it is simple. It’s all under your control. And often it may be just about the only thing in your life you do control. And when you choose joy it multiplies, not only in your life but in the life of those around you. The more joy you choose, the more joy comes into your life. It’s a win/win!
What ways do you choose joy in your daily life? Let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!