Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you retained the same sense of joy you had as a small child? For starters, you’d probably feel a lot less overwhelmed. Studies have shown that incorporating moments of joy into your day-to-day life can help you recover from stressful situations, solve problems, and fend off disease — not to mention that making an effort to feel joyful can also aid longevity. Best of all, you can find little sparks of joy in the things, places, and people you connect with every single day.
We asked members of the Thrive community to share the ways they find and spread joy, to provide you with a bit of inspiration.
Reframe the way you look at negativity
“I find joy each day in perspective. When something goes ‘wrong,’ I remember that if a door closes, it simply wasn’t my door to walk through. When I get rejected, I see it as redirection. Instead of trying to prove myself, I try to improve myself. If I fail at something, I take note of what I learned. The story in our head is everything. We become what we believe. And I believe that joy can be found in silver linings. Once we know where to look, we’ll serendipitously see more joy than ever before.”
—Siobhan Kukolic, author, inspirational speaker, and life coach, Toronto, ON, Canada
Practice “backyard awe”
“I create daily moments of joy with the practice I call ‘backyard awe.’ It’s easy and can be done anywhere, in as little as two minutes. It requires slowing down and tuning your senses to notice the small details around you. First, slow down and feel your feet on the ground. Take a deep breath. Secondly, open your senses, feel your skin, take in the smell, open your eyes, listen to the layers of sound, note the taste in your mouth. Then, notice something you are drawn to and take in the smallest details — the stamen of a flower, a water droplet on the leaves, the pattern of the bark of a tree. Lastly, share your backyard awe moment with a friend, or take a photo of it and share. I’ve taught this method of appreciating small, beautiful details that infuse a sense of wonder to all of my friends. We now share them with each other daily as a ritual of connection and joy.”
—Candra Canning, leadership and culture coach, San Francisco, CA
Let others know you’re grateful for their presence
“One of my all time favorite ways to spread joy is to authentically and genuinely tell someone you’re happy to see them. Of course, you have to mean it! But really pausing when you meet someone for coffee, a visit, or in a meeting, and making eye contact and telling them you’re grateful to see them makes them feel good, and will make you feel good, too! In our digital age, it’s so easy to lose human connection. These little moments go a long way. Clients always tell me how this makes them feel so welcomed and included in groups I lead — and it makes me feel good too, so it’s a win-win.”
—Gillian Goerzen, health and fitness coach, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a few hours of shelving books at the library, trash pickup at the local park, sorting fruits and veggies at the food bank, or chaperoning a school field trip. Without fail, a little time spent just helping out in my community makes me feel connected, useful, and hopeful — and that always fills me with joy.”
—Deirdre Blake, content director, Los Gatos, CA
Find a workout that strengthens your physical and mental well-being
“My pilates practice is my joy time each day. It gives me a chance to truly unplug for an hour, and focus on my mind-body connection. The studio I practice at has a wonderful sense of community. Having people who are supportive of me and whom I can provide support and encouragement to deepens that sense of joy!”
—Cindy J., nonprofit executive search and HR consultant, Boston, MA
Try something new
“There’s a true power in novelty — in doing, trying, or experiencing something new. Our brains are automatically excited by the thrill, the exhilaration, the slightly scary — but in the best possible way — the curiosity, and the delicious passion that comes from trying, doing, experiencing, and tasting something new, or even the same old thing in a different way. All it takes is one tweak, step, or shift. That’s all we need to reignite and excite our brains, and to find and spread joy, every single day.”
—Rachel Ellner Lebensohn, creator and founder, Delray Beach, FL
Make joy the focal point of your day
“I focus my day on finding and spreading joy as much as possible, as I believe joy and love are what life’s all about. I notice the leaves on the trees against the blue sky, or gorgeous blooming flowers. I say hello to the people who help me at the coffee shop, and also the people in line with me and strangers on the street. I stop and notice the moments of beauty and ease in my day, and I reflect back on the beauty, love, fun, and connection I’ve seen and felt during the day.”
—Lisa Kohn, author and executive coach, Wayne, PA
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