Finding Joy in the Darkness
Joyful moments are sprinkled all throughout our life. Yet in day-to-day circumstances, and in the midst of adjusting to a world of new normals, finding joy in the darkness can sometimes feel elusive. Often, things can feel overwhelming, like a never-ending to-do list that just keeps growing. Nevertheless, experts say that adding just a spark of joy can reduce our risk of chronic illness, strengthen our immune system, and combat stress.
Find Joy Every Day
Joy is an emotion often experienced after intentional cultivation rather than a fleeting feeling following spontaneity. For example, creating intentional time with friends, family, or your partner can usher in joy. In fact, Dr. Philip Watkins says that some of our most intense experiences of joy occur in relationships. In addition to building healthy, loving relationships, joy can also result from living a life with meaningful goals and purpose. Consider adding some of the following practices into your daily life.
To Promote Finding Joy, You Could:
- Write a joy bucket list. List out all the things you can think of that make you happy. Then, think of creative ways you can put that list into action, and make it happen! Drive to the ocean or lake if the water makes you smile. Test drive a fast car, or go see a funny movie.
- Make new daily habits. What is a pleasurable habit you can incorporate into your day? Maybe it’s drinking tea or coffee in a colorful mug, wearing a certain outfit or lipstick, or sitting in silence in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes.
- Express gratitude. Gratitude fuels well-being. Start a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar to reflect on, record, and appreciate the highlights of your day, no matter how small. Do this as a daily habit to double up on finding joy!
- Look for connections. Call a friend or a loved one, or reach out to a therapist to help you gain a different perspective and help you build connections with people around you.
- PLAY! Schedule 5-10 minutes two times a day to play. Hula hoop, dance to music, walk outside, run, hopscotch, draw, etc. Create your own adult recess. Make an appointment with yourself and have fun!
- Help someone. Donate blood, plant a tree, or volunteer at a food bank. Finding something you’re passionate about, and volunteering to serve to meet that need can help us get out of our minds and focus on how our presence matters to those around us. Serving can be a catalyst for other unexpected moments of joy.
- Practice spirituality. Meditate, pray, and read from your spiritual practice. Find a place for you to connect with your faith, and engage with people who share your same beliefs.
For more ideas on how to find joy in your life or to discuss any other matter in more detail, schedule an appointment with Dr. Melissa Hunter here.