The other day I asked my friend “Mr Google” (or it could be Mrs Google – after all we women know everything!!) a question. “Show me how to find joy”. Seriously, that was my search term. So if that showed up in anyone’s stats, it was probably me! 🙂
Anyway, as usual Google was a fount of wisdom and in a nano-second spat a heap of answers back at me providing me with reading material from a variety of sources including talk-back radio shows, rabbis, newspaper columnists and countless bloggers.
As the antithesis of joy is sadness (and I would imagine that there are very few people in the world who wish to live in a state of constant sadness), I thought it would be an interesting idea to source ways that people find joy in their lives. Of course, finding joy is going to be different for every person since we are all so vastly different ourselves. Let’s get started on some of the more philosophical points that I came across:
1. Don’t worry. That is something that is harder to do than it is to say. However, worrying can’t change the situation you are in or the life you are living right now.
2. Recognise that you have done all you can in any given circumstance and then let it go.
3. You can choose to sink and go under or dig deeper and carry on. Or you can be like the frog in the bucket of cream that just kept swimming around and around until he churned the cream to butter and then hopped on out. I guess it’s about making the best of your current circumstances.
Now let’s look at some practical things we can do to lighten our lives and find joy:
1. Play with a child with child-like abandon. If you are reading a story, change your voice to suit the characters. If you are playing on the floor with cars and trucks, make car noises and screeching brake sounds (just don’t overdo it or you’ll hurt your throat). Pretend to be a character during imagination play. Dress up and have a tea party. Rediscover your inner child whilst playing with a child.
2. Show kindness to others. Pay it forward. Suspend a coffee. Help pay the grocery bill of the person in front who has had to put items back because they don’t have enough to pay. Buy a sandwich for a homeless person. Give flowers to someone.
3. Adopt a pet. Go to an animal shelter and bring home a new friend (or two). Give them a second chance at life and then make time to play with them. Having a pet has been proven to lower stress levels.
4. Count your blessings and be grateful. Don’t wait for one month each year to do this. Make it a practice every day of your life.
5. Spend time with those you love. Make time to tell them how you feel. Enjoy each other. Make memories.
7. Sing out loud! (I’ve already covered the health benefits of this in my post This Morning I Sang
8. Dance. Dance for yourself, by yourself or with others. Move to the music. Dance with abandon.
9. Exercise. Go for a walk and breathe in the fresh air. Play a team sport. Go for a run (if you can).
10. Take notice of your surroundings. Be in the ‘now’. Listen and see and make mental notes of this.
11. Meditate. Enjoy the silence. Quiet your mind. Breathe in and out and visualise the calming of your life.
12. Play ‘spotto’ when you are out driving. In our home we get to tap/punch others in the arm each time we see a yellow car and call out ‘spotto’. The rules are that the first person to see the car and call out has punching rights. Change the game to suit yourself. You could look out for the letter ‘S’, pink cars, butterflies or other things.
13. De-Clutter. Do this in your home and your life. Donate items that you no longer need (or sell them on eBay if they are worth something). Get rid of the things in your home and life that don’t serve any real purpose.
14. Watch sunrises and sunsets. Admire the colours and the beauty. Enjoy the tranquility of this time of day.
15. Create something. Whether you sew, crochet, knit, paint, art journal, write poetry, write novels, cook…. anything at all. Enjoy the creative process.
16. Walk in the rain. Don’t worry about getting wet. I still remember the exhilaration I felt earlier in the year when I went walking in the stormy rain as ex-tropical cyclone Yasi bore down the coast. We were staying on the Gold Coast and decided to walk to the nearest McDonalds. We arrived wet, bedraggled, windswept and incredibly happy.
17. Be silly. You don’t need alcohol to do this – just good company. I have fond memories of myself and two friends dancing up the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane singing “We’re off to see the Wizard” just like Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion did in the “The Wizard of Oz”. (I must add that we were teenagers at the time but you don’t have to be a specific age to do silly things).
18. Enjoy good company and good food. Have a bbq or dinner party. Tell silly stories, reminisce and laugh.
19. Love yourself. Buddha said “You yourself, as much as anybody in the universe deserves your love and affection”. Be kind to yourself. Stop beating up on yourself for making mistakes or not being the person you think you should be.
20. Learn from your mistakes and move on. If we never made mistakes we would never grow. Find joy in the growth process.
21. Listen to music you enjoy. Personally, when I am feeling low I find classical music uplifting. My tastes in music are quite eclectic so I listen to whatever I am in the mood for. Listen to whatever brings you happiness.
22. Smile. It’s impossible to be sad when you are smiling.
23. Watch a funny movie or read a funny story.
So that is some of what I have found (and discovered myself). How do you find joy?