Today, we’re going to explore how to create joy every day. It’s simple and you can do it. For that matter, why wouldn’t you want to?
Through my recovery from addiction (now, 9+ years sober), I’ve learned a lot about joy (and all things not joy). First, I came to discover that I actually had to choose it for myself. Then, I had to make it a priority and cultivate it on a daily basis (it’s still a priority today and always will be). So, we’re going to talk about that. Second, in sharing my intention cards, teaching workshops and just living, I’ve talked to thousands of people about their joy and learned many interesting things which I’m also going to share with you here.
You are Joy
Before we dive in, I want to tell you that you are joy. Joy is already inside you. Depending on life circumstances, social pressures and your thought patterns, you may have gotten away from this truth. However, I want you to know that it’s not elusive and it’s not just for other people. Joy is available to you but, you have to allow for it. It sounds so, simple but, it’s amazing how that step gets missed.
In the next few sections, I’m going to share some common misconceptions in case you may have been thinking this way. Furthermore, we’ll explore how you can begin to connect to joy more consistently and create a really fulfilling life.
Let’s Start with a Few Happiness Myths
Myth #1 – Joy is For Special Occasions
It seems that we’ve been conditioned to think that we have to work hard to earn happiness and pleasure. We will do the tough day-to-day stuff and feel good when we’re on vacation, at a special occasion or celebrating something special. I want to suggest to you that a really joyful life is one where we connect to joy all the time. In doing so, we allow ourselves to feel it such that everyday becomes richer and special occasions are even better. What if you made each day a joyful occasion?
Myth #2 – Joy is For Later
Similar to the first point but, slightly different is this idea of delaying our happiness. These thoughts can sound like “I will be happy when …” and you fill in the blank. Some statements I’ve heard include:
I’ll be happy when … I have that item (house, car etc.)
I’ll be happy when … I have a certain amount of money
I’ll be happy when … I retire
I’ll be happy when … I have that relationship
I want to remind you that all you have is this present moment and if we don’t learn how to feel joy, it might just elude us – even when we reach these milestones. Joy is for now. It is for every messy step of the way. Life is meant to be lived and it’s meant to be celebrated.
Myth #3 – Joy is For Other People
Somehow, we can get the idea that joy if for other people – maybe they have certain things or life appears easier. Your joy is not conditional on someone else’s experience. When we turn inward, we must remember that joy is available to everyone and we must do the work to connect to our own joy and create it for ourselves. When you find joy within you, you may be very pleasantly surprised with how it starts to show up everywhere.
Simple Steps to Creating Joy
With some of those myths busted, let’s explore how to connect with joy and find simple ways to create it every single day.
Idea #1 – Notice What Brings You Joy
It sounds so simple but, I’ve heard many people be desperate for time to themselves and then simply not know what makes them happy. I have been there myself and I’ve found the only successful way to navigate this is good old-fashioned trial-and-error. Explore what makes you happy and notice what joy feels like in your body. Remember that what makes somebody else happy may not be your thing. Here are some great places to start:
- What music makes you feel good?
- What people do you enjoy spending time with?
- Is there an activity that you love and just lose all track of time?
- What makes you laugh?
- If you had a free Saturday, what would you do?
- Is there a colour you love or a scent that makes you happy?
- Is there something you’ve always wanted to try?
The key is to really experience these things and notice if they bring you joy. If they don’t, move onto the next. However, if they do bring you joy find simple ways to include more of those things in your regular life. Find simple ways to connect to and create joy every day.
Idea #2 – Create Joy in Small Moments
Joy doesn’t mean being happy all the time. We are all on this journey of life with its many ups, downs and surprises. However, in your day-to-day, look for opportunities to infuse life with joy.
Here’s an example from my own life … often I have to sit at my desk and work on unwelcome tasks (admin, accounting etc). I can do this with hunched shoulders and a furrowed brow or I can…
- Wear my favourite clothes
- Turn on music I love
- Make myself a delicious latte
- Put on my favourite essential oil
- Drop my shoulders & smile
- Decide that I will work on this for a pre-determined amount of time & then, take a break
When I intentionally create joy in my environment, I usually end up completing tasks in less than the allotted time, I feel happy because I’ve crossed things off my to-do list and I’ve created an experience that feels good and makes me happy. Try infusing regular moments with a little extra joy.
Idea #3 – Allow Yourself to Feel Joy
I have a couple of things to say about this. First, it’s amazing how we can say we want something (i.e. joy) and yet, when it arrives, we self-sabotage or somehow deny ourselves the experience. Second, joy can actually be a very big feeling and sometimes we don’t even know what to do with it. I want you to begin to allow yourself to feel joy. Turn on your favourite song and allow it to resonate in you. Slowly, turn up the volume on joy. When you feel negative self-talk and old patterns creeping in – choose joy instead. The more you practice this, the more it will become part of what you do. Open your heart and allow joy in!
Joy as an Undercurrent to Life
As I mentioned earlier, joyful living does not mean being naively happy all the time. Rather, it means being in the full messiness of life and choosing joy over and over again. When moments are tough, you may not feel joy but, you can likely take an action that will tether you to your joy. Perhaps being angry, having a tough conversation or a good cry will help you honour how you’re really feeling. By feeling these feelings and letting them pass, you can continue to choose joy and not get stuck.
If you leave with nothing else, I want you to start thinking of joy as a choice and asking yourself in any given moment, what action can I take to create joy? Look for every opportunity to infuse your life with joy.
How you live moment to moment – these are the threads that weave together to form the tapestry of your life. Everything you do matters. Choose to love yourself, be on your own side and know as much joy as possible!
Resources to Help You Create Joy
May You Know Joy and May You Find Joy cards are a great source of inspiration. Pull a card & display it where you can see it. Enjoy how they open your mind and moments up to exploring the many way to connect to joy.
For a deeper dive, The Intention Setting Workbook, is a great way to mindfully connect with the joy you want to create in several aspects of your life. It’s a rich practice of self-reflection and identifying what you want to create.
We’ve also got an awesome May You Know Joy membership. Not only will you learn how to cultivate daily practices but, the joy that this community brings to each other is super cool