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The Beginners Guide to Finding Joy Every Day
I spent a lot of long and frustrating years waiting for life, for my husband, for my kids, for my job, for my parents, for my house, for food to make me happy. And, guess what, none of that did!
I can feel your lack of surprise coming at me across the world wide web.
I mean, I was happy. I had a great life, but I wasn’t happy.
I felt like my happiness was completely based on what was happening around me that day. And it was, kind of, except that it wasn’t. I was restless and felt like there should be more. I needed to feel more.
But then something changed in my life. I met a woman who most certainly did not have an easy life, AND she never hesitated to let me or anyone else who was in earshot of her know how hard her life was. It was draining. It was tiring to listen to her. It seemed as if nothing was ever going to be enough to make her happy. Sound familiar? I realized that listening to her was like listening to me. But I still didn’t know what to do about it.
I wondered why this woman couldn’t be more like my neighbor who was one of my favorite people to hang out with.
I wondered why I couldn’t be more like my neighbor.
This woman was the definition of joy: always seeing the bright side, always ready to have some fun. She was the kind of person you would call if you were having a bad day or having a party.
And then, one day it hit me, she was making a choice. Even in the face of life circumstances were way more difficult than mine. And she was dealing with it and sometimes she got angry and sad and frustrated, but most days she was finding joy. And making a beautiful life for her family even in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties.
I never asked her how or why she found joy the way she did. Maybe it wasn’t even a conscious decision, but it was the beginning of my path of discovery. Every day I have a choice and every day I can find JOY
What is Joy?
If you look up joy and happiness in the thesaurus you will see that they are synonyms or they mean the same thing. Which they do, mostly. But I define them a little bit differently.
Happiness is the feeling you get from external circumstances.
- I got a raise.
- My husband remembered our anniversary.
- These jeans are making my backside look Ah-May-Zing.
This stuff is cool and amazing and I love it when things that make me happy happen and I hope for them every day. Especially the part about those jeans.
Joy is the way your heart and soul feel regardless of anything going on around you. You can have joy even on the crummiest of days. Like missing the bus in the rain or getting a medical bill in the mail that insurance doesn’t cover or fighting with your mom.
Joy is about you. Joy is a choice. And maybe most importantly of all to know, joy is a practice. Because you’re not going to get it right all the time. And that’s okay. And knowing that brings me joy, too.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
How to get started finding joy every day
The first step to finding joy is awareness. Once I realized that how I felt each day was a choice I made, I began making that choice to feel joy.
So begin today. Make the decision to feel joyful whenever you can.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Smile at a stranger
- Find something you enjoy doing and do it
- Take time to breathe
- Plan one thing that you can do today and get it done
- Don’t overschedule yourself
- Do something kind for someone else
- Spend time nurturing your most important relationships
- Notice beauty in the world around you
- Get up and dance
Tips for Finding More Joy
If you are committed to having more joy in your life every day, the most important thing to remember is that you will not be perfect.
You will be angry, frustrated, sad and overwhelmed. (Maybe all of those feelings at once!)
It does not mean that you have failed. It means that you are learning a new skill. And learning a new skill is sometimes hard, but it definitely takes time and effort to master. You may never completely master joy, I know I haven’t. But it is worth it, I promise you.
Think of joy as a muscle. It may be weak now, but with time and consistent effort, it can be strengthened and soon you will surprise yourself at how easily joy flows through you every day.
Commonly Asked Questions About Finding Joy Every Day
How do I find joy when life is hard?
This is a hard question to answer because I believe that life is always hard. It’s true that some people have it easier than you, but it isn’t too difficult to find someone who has it harder than you.
It’s in the expecting to get to the easy part of life (which doesn’t actually exist) that a lot of our difficulties come. So if you can accept that life is hard, but that you need to find joy anyway, you can start your journey to finding joy.
How can I bring joy to others?
- Send someone a handwritten thank you note.
- Spend time with them doing something they want to do.
- Pay complete attention to them when they speak and ask questions to show that you are listening.
- Give them a sincere compliment.
- Let them know you believe in them, that they matter to you.
How can I find more joy?
- Laugh every day, even if you don’t feel like it. Especially if you don’t feel like it.
- Go outside and breathe.
- Pay attention to the little things that go your way, like finding a close parking space.
- Call your best friend, especially if you haven’t seen each other in a while.
- Start a life appreciation journal.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Finding Joy Every Day
I call joy my secret weapon. When I choose to laugh instead of yell, when I go outside to watch the sunset instead of turning on the TV, or when I take the time to call my sister instead of scroll mindlessly through Facebook, I grow closer to the kind of person I want to be, a joyful one.
If you have any more tips on finding joy in everyday life, leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!