Life these days can be pretty tough – so much to do, so little time (you know the daily grind scenario – we've all been there). Life can be pretty repetitive and to be perfectly honest, can really get you feeling down and out about life.
So, how can we “fix” this? Well, I'm here to tell you about this little thing called 'joy'.
Joy (noun) – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Synonyms: delight, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, gladness, glee, exhilaration...(I could could keep on going, but I think you get the picture).
Henri Nouwen sums joy up perfectly with this quote (we highly recommend this be your daily mantra)...“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday.” Regardless of our circumstances, sometimes hard to do!!
Now, how does one go about injecting a bit of joy into their life? Why not make yourself a nice cup of coffee and mull over these few suggestions.
Start your day off on the right foot;
Mornings can often be the hardest part of your day. But, by changing your morning routine, you can potentially change the course of your day! Instead of the blaring beep of your alarm, why not try a softer, more gentle sound? Maybe start your day with some gentle yoga or a nice healthy breakfast with your family.
Bring silence and stillness into your life;
Try turning down the volume on all the 'noise' in your life and allowing yourself to be still, we allow ourselves to be in the present moment. You will become more relaxed, grounded and hopefully you will feel your stress melt away.
Make time for activities you love;
Any time you do something you love, it makes you feel good and can help to brighten your day. Why not make a list of things you enjoy doing and plan where you can fit them into your schedule (even if it's only for a few minutes)?
Often the happiest and most joyful people focus on being grateful. Think about what is going well in your life. Do you know people who you love and appreciate? Do you have a comfortable house? Do you love your job? You may surprise yourself with all the joy that already exists in your life...you've just forgotten to appreciate it.
Live with forgiveness;
Are you holding onto a grudge? If you feel wronged by someone or you've hurt another, work through it. Forgiving someone (or yourself) doesn’t mean you condone the behaviour; it means giving yourself emotional freedom. Make a lifestyle of living free from hurts and grudges. You will feel strong, clear, and empowered.
Random acts of kindness;
Doing something nice for another person, like offering a compliment or paying for their lunch, can bring both of you a lot of joy and happiness. Choosing to encourage those around us and celebrate their successes is often one of the best ways to find joy.
No matter what is going on in your life, show up in an open, and good natured way. Try not to complain, and work on being patient, kind, and agreeable in your day-to-day life.
Allow yourself to buy or do something you’ve really wanted for a while – it can be as simple as a having a chocolate bar if you’re dieting or getting the pair of shoes you've been eyeing off for ages.
Ultimately, all you need to do is recognise what brings you joy and embrace it. Then you need to make room in your life for what is positive, light, and life-affirming...and voila – you will be on your way to mastering the art of joyful living.