9 simple ways to bring more joy into your life

Image credit: Ian Schneider, Unsplash.
  • What if the social pressure of having more and more pushes us to look for joy at the wrong places, while simultaneously exhausting our finances, polluting the environment, and trapping ourselves in the clutter?
  • What if instead of searching for joy in an endless array of new toys, we work on our joy skills first?
  • What if we stop pursuing stuff and goals and allow ourselves to be there and just feel joy?

1. Focus on something pleasurable for 20+ seconds

We are wired to notice threats because that’s what helped us survive for millennia. Survival of the fittest often means the survival of the most anxious. Alas, this negative mode of thinking is present even when we’re not experiencing the immediate danger. We need to give ourselves an extra push to notice the beauty, otherwise, it often slips under the radar.

2. Replace FOMO with JOMO

One major killer of joy is our tendency to always run over our experiences, searching for something new, fabulous, better. Isn’t that what scrolling on social media is all about? Train yourself to take in the positive experiences by slowing down. We’re running in the 5th gear all the time so that we don’t miss out (that’s FOMO) but ironically, we miss out because we are going too fast.

3. Cut the information inputs- be in your physical and emotional body

Joy is an emotional and visceral experience. Because most of us live in our heads and not in our bodies, because we push our emotions away as hindrances, we are not in a good shape to experience joy. One big contributor to such a mental state is our endless input of information: latest news, social media updates, trivia, articles. Our minds are overloaded and our bodies and emotions are abandoned.

4. Acknowledge the perfection of here and now

Right now, you may have problems. You may be acutely aware of how messed up the world is. You may be genuinely worried about the future. But right here and right now, at this very moment, you are probably OK.

5. Come to your senses

A common exercise to get into creative space is coming to your senses.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What smells do you feel?
  • What taste do you feel?
  • What are you touching?

6. Allow yourself to feel joy

As mentioned in the first quote, what often separates us from our joy is permission, allowing ourselves to feel it. Watch your self-talk when you want to experience joy. What happens? Are you telling yourself to hurry up, to get something productive done, that joy is trivial, that you should look for something else, that you are bored, that you still have so much more to do?

7. Breathe

A simple, yet essential activity that we do all the time, consciously or not, is breathing. It is the key to mindfulness and the essential element of yoga and many other spiritual practices. A shift in breathing can shift our energy in no time, help us process our emotions, and be present. Breathing is always available (and necessary, of course) and it is an inherently joyful activity. No matter where you are and what you’re up to, taking a few deep, nourishing breathes can bring you joy. Plus, you’ll be transported into here and now, which is where more joy can be found.

8. Make everyday activities more joyful

With a few simple tweaks, any activity that you do can be made more fun and enjoyable. You can whine about having to clean your house or you can blast your favorite music and do it with joy. You can dread your board meeting on Zoom, or you can grab a nice coloring book and enjoy beautiful shapes and colors while listening to updates from your colleagues.

9. Enjoy what you already have

Instead of buying a new gadget with one click or falling for yet another sale, make a good inventory of all the fabulous things you already have and enjoy the heck out of them.

  • Outfits you haven’t worn in years
  • Cosmetic products that you only use on a special occasion
  • A box of orzo pasta waiting for the perfect pasta salad recipe
  • Unread books on your shelf or Kindle
  • Perks of your digital memberships you forgot about

Before you go…

If you are on Medium you are probably obsessed with creativity, just like me. I made a FREE ebook “100 ways to be creative today”, with 100 creative prompts, most of which require 5 minutes or less, $0, and no special skills. Go HERE to learn more and grab it.

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Milena

Milena

Engineer. Creator. Sustainability researcher. Obsessed w/focus, mental health, sobriety. On the quest to find gentler and more meaningful ways to live and work.