“I’m sorry that you were having a rough day last week.”
My friend’s comment caught me off-guard. I blinked at her, trying to figure out what and when she was talking about.
Seeing my confusion, she went on to say, “I saw your post online last week.”
An alarm went off in my head. I appreciated my friend’s support. It was my post that made me pause. The day she was referring to was a normal day for me. It’s not that my life is unusually crazy. (Maybe it is, but that is for a different discussion.)
I told the story about my day focusing on the irritable and frustrating moments. Why is that?
There are two possible explanations both of which are a problem:
- I overly focus on the irritable moments, or
- I don’t experience much joy every day.
These two might be related. If my life feels like drudgery because it is “all work and no play,” then I don’t have many good events to talk about. If I am used to focusing on the frustrating events, then I won’t recognize the joyful moments.
Often, we think of joy associated with vacation or pampering. What about the time between? What about now? Seems like we waste a lot of time waiting for mountain top moments to experience joy. Today is where we spend most of our time. As I thought about this, I wondered if I even know how to intentionally create joy. To add joy to my life, I would need to be able to answer these questions:
- What are the little things that make the day go well?
- What is pleasurable?
- What makes you relax?
- How do you feel content?
Do you know the answers to these questions? These things often get lost in the busy-ness of our schedules.
- Sitting quietly while drinking your coffee.
- Sharing a smile with someone you love.
- A longer hug.
- Complimenting someone else and seeing their grateful smile.
- Wearing comfortable clothes.
The trick is to build them into your life, make them habit, and then notice them.
Choose joyful acts that are easy to do and fit will in your life. If you have a bowl of cereal every day, you can add raisins if that gives you joy. If you drink coffee or tea everyday, choose a brand that is delightful to drink.
Find the things that make you feel good and do them every day. I love good chocolate. I hide a stash and have a small piece everyday. During the winter, I drink homemade hot chocolate daily. I love the feel of fluffy socks, so those are the kind I buy. When you build the joy into your day, you don’t have to fight to add it.
Seeing the joy in the busy-ness of life requires a bit of a mindset shift. It won’t happen accidentally. You have to look for the joy every day. Ideas for if you have trouble with this:
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Take turns sharing something you are each grateful for at the dinner table.
- When you can’t sleep, think through your day and name every thing that you are grateful for. Focus on the small details such as waking up, a warm bed, being able to breathe, etc.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but joyful moments are easy to miss. Our lives are made up of the things that happen on normal days. When you add small moments of joy throughout your day every day, you change how your life feels.
Having more joy is its own reward.
As if that is not enough, think about the impact on your relationship with your partner. Imagine how they would feel if you were more joyful. Instead of focusing on the ways that they screw up or miss opportunities to be helpful, you would:
- Have joy to share with them.
- Be more relaxed.
- Look for ways they make your life better.
- Encourage them to seek joy as well.
- Match your choices with your intention: to be happier.
Even if your life is incredibly busy, you can fit some joy into it. Sprinkle joy into your life instead of making your life stretch to fit more time into it. You will be happier and those around you will enjoy it, too.