For some reason, we have this underlying cultural belief that joy is a destination at the end of a long road. We have put into a place rather than a feeling. Let's break a few barriers here. First off, to put happiness on a road map is putting it away from you, and it is causes a separation between "you" and the feeling. In order to feel joy, you have to embrace it right here and right now.
Really, though. Take a quick moment and take a big deep inhale, look around, see what's right in your world. Smile from the inside out. Feel that? Kind of nice, right?
We also tend to want to make the feeling of joy a HUGE thing rather than simply letting be what it wants. For example, being joyful does not mean that you are dancing about the streets on a crazy high. While this image is wonderful and it is joy being expressed, we can also be joyful in a quiet moment when the sun hits the trees just right. Or when you are snuggled up by the fire. Maybe it's just a quick burst of bliss when you see someone doing something kind. Joy is big, small, and everything in between.
So here are 11 things you can do every day to experience more and more and more joy.
1. Open Yourself up to Experience Joy
In order to experience bliss every day, you have to open yourself up to it first and foremost.
You will have to take control here and know that your happiness is in YOUR hands. Your joy is no one's responsibility. And vice versa- you are not responsible for the joy of others. It is a conscious choice to allow this wonderful feeling in and it does take some practice. Remember that bliss, joy, happiness is a learned behavior- it is not circumstantial.
So, try this! Each morning, wake up knowing that you will experience pure joy today. Wake up knowing that you are going to allow in an abundance of joy. Meditate on that feeling and feel yourself smile from the inside out. Relax your muscles and allow the joy to ease its way in. Just smile and know that you are joyful now, because you choose joy now. Just smiling for 30 seconds will make your mind match it! So give it a shot.
2. An Attitude of Gratitude
Another KEY element to your happiness is gratitude!
And this goes for all things. Wake up and be grateful for another day in this life. Be grateful for the rising of the sun, the smell of your coffee (if you're into that), the family and friends that surround you, your furry family, and the list goes on. It does not have to be about the big things, in fact, being grateful for the little things makes you appreciate more.
Gratefulness is also something to embrace when it comes to your fears, your insecurities, even your past experiences. Be grateful for the things that got you here today. Be grateful for the lessons, for the service these things provide, for keeping you safe. Once you can acknowledge these things and the gifts they gave you, you can being to let them go with more ease and grace rather than putting up a fight.
3. Take a Moment to Connect
Put your devices down, close your apps, shut it all off for even just a moment in your day.
Connect with present moment you are in right now. Open up your senses and be mindful- feel the breeze, the warmth of the sun, the texture of your clothes, the embrace of a friend or loved one, your pet's fur. Take in the beauty of what's around you, whether you are outside or in an office, there is always something beautiful there. Taste and savor the food you are eating, feel the textures, the flavors, the energy it provides. Listen to the sounds of the world for a moment: the birds chirping, people laughing, the rain. Really hear life's music. Connect to the divine and feel all of life's connections to you. Allow your soul feel divine love.
4. Reconnect with your Inner Child
Embracing the wonderment of a child brings so much happiness.
It's all about being curious about life and everyday moments again. Remember when everything was new and so exciting? Put on those goggles again and see the world in a totally new perspective.
Each day, find five unexpected things or moments that drew you in. Again, look for these things in every size- tiny to ginormous! It can be as simple as a crack in the sidewalk you never noticed before and now you hop over it, or maybe its a color that suddenly inspires you. Let yourself get inspired by the world again! Practice looking around with fresh eyes each day for even just 10 minutes. See how it inspires you!
Oh, and more importantly, have fun with this!
5. Get Outside!
Fresh air, nature's music, charming your senses, vitamin D, what more can I say?
Make time every day to get outside for a little while. I don't care if it is drinking tea or something special on your porch or a full blown camping trip! Just make some uninterrupted time to be in nature. Did you know just being by running water increases joy? That's an easy fix right there!
Being outside in nature encourages mindfulness, and that is a pretty simple thing to add in your routine. Maybe it is simply eating lunch outside. Or creating a routine that includes taking a walk sometime in your schedule.
While outside, open up all your senses. Breathe deep and listen. Let yourself feel the elements, the grass, a tree. Smell the air or a flower. Just be here for a little bit and let it work it's magic.
6. Schedule in YOU Time
This is a routine adjustment for most of us! And with our busy schedules we get it in our heads that we don't have any time for us.
WARNING: I'm going to burst your bubble.
If you think about all the extra things you find yourself doing, you will find that you do, in fact, have some time to sneak in. Think about all the time you spend on your phone, your apps, your social media accounts stalking people, taking selfies, doing things you don't really need to be doing. If you remove some of that, you got yourself some you time! And this, my friend, is SO important to your well-being.
On the daily schedule- add in an hour or so of quality time for catching up with you. This can be literally anything from icing your tired legs, a hot bath with calming essential oils, meditation time, pampering yourself in any way, whatever helps you unwind and get in touch with you.
On the weekly schedule- Add in a day, or just a half day, of you-time. And with this, you can of course add in family, friends, pets, whoever, if you want to share your time. Just get out and do something that makes you smile! Hike, catch a movie and dinner, go for a long drive, shop, dance, anything!
Monthly Schedule- Make time to get away from it all. Whether you plan a weekend/couple days, or just one day, give yourself a little time away from the stress. This can any scale of course. You can rent a beach-side cabin with your S.O., family, friends or maybe it's just making a spa day where you eat cleanly, make DIY spa treatments, be lazy, whatever.
All of these things to add into your schedule will help you de-stress, balance your work and personal life, and it will help you savor your time more. I think we often forget how much we need to give ourselves quality time. We forget that we have our own needs that need to be met with balance and self-love. And let's get real: Stop feeling guilty for taking solo time to catch up with yourself! We are a culture of go-go-go and be social, take care of others, but we often do this while neglecting ourselves. And then we wonder why we burn-out so much? Give this a go and see how much better you feel!
7. MOVE MOVE MOVE
You guessed it!
Exercising brings up the best in us! just moving and sweating for a few minutes can bring up all those endorphins and good hormones that we love! It lowers stress, makes us happier, and the results are pretty great...so what's the hold up?
And here is something to consider: If you hate your workout routine, maybe it's time to change it up! You do not have to run forever or do those crazy HIIT workouts to get a result. Do what you actually enjoy doing. Maybe it's more laid back like yoga, or going for a hike, a walk with friends, whatever. It is in your hands and you should not feel worse when you go do this thing. Do what you love! And remember to be patient and love yourself.
Make a commitment to your health in all ways. No more excuses.
8. Dream and Take Action Steps
Dream big! Write down your dreams, aspirations, and goals and really step into them for a while.
Actually place yourself there for a while, what are the feelings? How does it feel (bring in the five senses) to be in that dream career, that dream home, that dream car, vacation, future life, etc? Now that you have that down- do this each morning and be grateful for this dream as if it already manifest.
Step two? Take action every day that helps you get there. One tiny baby step is still a step in the right direction! Maybe it is practicing speaking up more, or volunteering somewhere, maybe joining a webinar about a topic that interests you, or practicing putting yourself out there, talking to strangers, whatever. You know what to do! And if you need inspiration, take a quiet moment, breathe deep, relax, and ask for a task to do that day. The answer will come and it may be weird, but give it a go!
9. Set Your Space
Create a place that nourishes and supports your inner peace!
It's time to get down and dirty! De-clutter your space, minimize, get organized, and maybe even re-decorate.
Your space is a reflection of your mind, and it may be time to let it support you rather than add more stress. So get to it! I am sure by now you've heard about de-cluttering and minimizing and its importance. So let's also talk about decor. It may be time to update your home and personalize it to you and your family if you are in that boat. And I get it, having kids certainly makes this less easy BUT I really suggest you give it a shot. Even if it is just one room where you can go and find peace. Make a little Zen-Den for yourself!
Consider your home to be your living, breathing altar. Think about what you want to bring in. What about what you do not want in your home? Deep cleaning will help you feel a new movement. Just clear out that stale, stagnant energy. Then maybe move some things around, take down that picture you've never loved or that painting, move a vase. How does it feel? Maybe it's even time to paint that wall! Just see where this takes you and, of course, do what is realistic for you at this time!
10. Be Kind Always
Act only with kindness.
Be kind to everyone. Show love and compassion even to those who don't reciprocate. Remember that everyone is going through something that you have no idea about. So that person who snapped at you, or didn't respond to your text, who ignored you, who didn't smile back, or who glared when you said something friendly? Don't forget that like you, they are human, and they are challenged too. Just because maybe they didn't handle something like you would does not mean they are bad. In fact, take that word out of your vocab! Calling that person "bad" or saying they did something "bad" only fuels their already charged emotional state and it only hold that place for them. Instead, take out the judgement on your part. Hold them and visualize them in a higher, brighter state. See them happy, see them fulfilled, and then let them go from your mind. Let it be.
If someone wrongs you, or if you have been wronged, practice radical forgiveness. I am not saying stay in a place of abuse or being taken advantage of. I am saying, accept the situation for what it is, stop pretending there is nothing wrong, get out, move on, but do not keep feeding energy to this negativity.
With "toxic" people to you. Also, stop labeling them as "toxic." They just don't work with you or make for a balanced relationship of any kind. So instead of adding drama, let this go. Release yourself and create new relationships.
11. Fall in Love With Yourself
Last and certainly not least: allow yourself to fall deeply in love with yourself.
For most of us, this is a challenge, trust me, I know.
So how do we do this? Well, the list above is a good starting point! To me, falling in love with yourself is about releasing the need for approval, releasing the thing we have been told about ourselves by others, and just being. This is about being true to ourselves. And this takes time and practice as all things do.
Allow yourself to be you- the raw, real you. Take yourself on a proverbial date and really get to know this amazing you. Find out what you actually love, what you actually dream of, where your insecurities linger, what you've become, and where you want to go. And let your heart melt a bit. Honestly, you are SO much more amazing and wonderful than you probably give yourself credit for.
Take on these practices for at least a little while and just see how it goes! Be patient and kind with yourself through this!
Set a goal for yourself, give joy a chance. Grab some people to try out these ideas with you!
We'd LOVE to hear how and what you do! Comment below or get in touch to share your experience.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!