How to Cultivate More Joy, Everyday
The Dalai Lama says “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” First off, he seems like the happiest guy around, so I trust him. Secondly, I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve always been a bubbly girl, but I have days where I want to crawl into bed and pout myself to sleep, at two in the afternoon. We are human. Emotion, even the ‘undesirable’ kind has more value than we like to believe.
Of course we’d rather feel bliss, joy, and love, but when sadness does enter our experience, we must allow ourselves to feel it. Emotions are neither good, nor bad. They are a part of us, and by accepting them fully, we can let them go.
Now back to the bliss, joy, and love. How can we feel more of these, more often? Like our smiley friend says, happiness is the result of our own actions. Here is a list of everyday ways you can create more joy in your life.
1. Wake up with gratitude
Have you ever woken up in a great mood, and the day seemed to go your way? This isn’t so much coincidence as it’s setting the tone for what’s to come. When we begin our day with joy, we start momentum for more of the same to follow. As the law of attraction states – like attracts like.
So how can you wake up fresh, if you’re not a morning person? Gratitude.
Think of one thing you are grateful for, it’s okay to start simply. I am grateful to be alive. Speak your gratitude aloud, in your head, or scribble it in a journal. The magical thing about gratitude; the more you practise it, the more you realise you have to be grateful for.
Here’s an example: I am grateful for this warm and comfy bed, for clean air in my lungs, and a body that can carry me wherever today may bring.
2. Love notes
When you catch someone smiling at their phone a little too hard… yet thinking they’re discrete. Love it. Expressions of love make us feel warm and gushy inside. The thing is, we’re much better at expressing love to others, than we are to ourselves. So, how about little reminders of how special you are.
Write kind words on your bathroom mirror: Smile, you have a beautiful one. Set a daily alarm on your phone with a positive message attached: Hey babe, you’re rad. As simple as that.
3. Ask yourself – what makes me happy?
This may seem obvious, but how often do we take the time to think about this. Grab a pen and paper and jot down things that make you happy no matter what. If you’re having a hard time, think about what made you happy as a kid.
The first thing that popped into my head was ballet, so why hadn’t I taken a class in years? My bestie says long rides on her motorcycle are her happiness constant. Incorporate as many things on your list, into your daily life as possible. You can be flexible – I’ve started dancing in my bedroom and am ecstatic about it.
4. Ask yourself – what doesn’t make me happy?
Mindlessly scrolling Instagram. Late night TV. We all have activities we feel like crap after, every single time. So let’s stop them, or at least try. Similar to your happiness list, taking the time to consciously acknowledge what doesn’t serve you can make all the difference in changing these behaviours. Now when I find myself mid Insta stalk, I am aware of how it will make me feel, and (usually) ditch my phone.
5. Consciously Create Your Living Space
Dan Buettner is the National Geographic writer behind The Blue Zones of Happiness. He studied the world’s happiest cultures, and believes a huge predictor of happiness, is living somewhere you love. That doesn’t mean you must move to paradise, but you can make small changes to our immediate surroundings today.
Create a positive space you feel relaxed in; your own personal sanctuary.
Cleaning and decluttering may be in order. Maybe, painting the walls a new shade, or hanging photos that make you smile. My favourite ways to bring peace into a space: house plants and natural candles.
6. Take care of another
Last winter I nearly killed my first plant, a Ponytail Palm named Sami. I vowed to bring her to life, and one year later, she happily lives a few feet from my bed. It may sound silly, but one of my happiest memories, is the moment I realised Sami had recovered.
Caring for something outside of ourselves can have a beautiful impact on how we feel. Watching a plant grow is a nice reminder that this world is full of beauty, and we are simply one tiny part of it.
7. Say No
When it comes to our social life, saying no can be tricky. Overcommitting comes from a place of positive intention; we don’t want to hurt or neglect those we care about. The next time someone asks you to make a plan, try to identify how you really feel. Being honest from the start can prevent you from getting burnt out. Exhausted and happy don’t usually go hand in hand.
8. Eat Well
High vibration foods like fruits and vegetables, fill us with high vibrating emotions – happiness, joy, and love. If talk of vibrations is a little too Bohemian, try this. How do you feel when you eat well? It’s as simple as that.
9. Say I Love You
The word love has been shown to stimulate frontal lobe activity in our brain, an area associated with feelings of wellbeing. The more you express love, the more powerful the effect. Research has found with increased frequency, positive words like love can affect the parietal lobe, which changes how we perceive ourselves and others. Pretty cool.
So whether you love your sister, mom, or pup let them know. Every day.
10. Move Your Body
Elle Woods said it best. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. The key is finding a form of movement you love. If you have yet to discover your favourite workout, walking is always a great place to start. Exercise outdoors for an extra dose of happiness.