Joy. We have moments peppered throughout life that we get to experience that most euphoric emotion. Maybe for you it was getting married, the birth of a child, traveling to Paris, scoring the winning touchdown, getting that coveted job, or nailing a performance. But the truth is, joy is all around us. We just need to hone in on the happiness and appreciate even the most ordinary moments fully. Here are 8 simple steps to finding JOY in the little things.
- Buy it. I know what you’re going to say…money can’t buy happiness. But it can. You won’t find it from buying things like clothing, electronics and shoes though (well, maybe from shoes, but thats just me). What you should spend money on is experiences. Things like vacations, concert tickets, dinners out, or tennis lessons. Things that you can build anticipation of before the event, provides a source of pleasure during the event, and you can continue to recall the event after it’s over and it still makes you happy.
- Do nice things for people. Giving to charity brings more happiness than spending money on yourself. And doing nice things for the people around you – neighbors, friends, family actually makes you the happiest. And when you can combine the two – it’s a joyfest.
- Fake it. Yes, there are enough fake people in the world, but hear me out. When you’re in a bad mood, the act of smiling, even if its forced, will cheer you up. The reason could be that smiling slows down your heart rate during stress and relaxes you. It works. Try it.
- Keep getting older. Its been proven (for women) that happiness has it’s biggest dip around age 40 but comes back in bucketfuls around 50. This could be that women in their 40’s tend to put themselves last among all the demands they face. Which brings me to…
- Put yourself first. Why wait to get older? Prioritize yourself NOW. When you feel good about YOU – the way you look, your body, your mindset, it makes everything around you that much brighter and happier and it’s easier to see the joy in the little things. And whatever you do, don’t waste any spare time on someone who doesn’t make you happy.
- Change your outlook. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look. Think about it. If you keep reacting the same old way, you are going to get the same old results.
- Enjoy your commute. So many people look at their commute to work as a waste of time or a pain in the neck. Traffic. Public transportation. Getting up earlier than you should have to. But look at all you can get done on the way to work. Besides listening to podcasts or reading books ( providing you are not driving of course!) you can also speak to friends and family, plan your next vacation, detail out your next big idea, make an online photo album, organize your to-do list, send out e-vites, write out your Christmas cards and the list goes on…
- Be spiritual. There is a lot of joy to be found in believing in a higher power and appreciating all of the many little miracles and moments around you. Trust God.
- Forget self-improvement. Focus on whats already great about yourself. It’s a more effective route to joy than trying to fix what’s not. Come up with a list of your top 5 strengths and constantly apply them in every day life. People who do this experience less depression and more happiness.
Spread the JOY!