11 Ways to Invite More Joy Into Your Life
When is the last time that you were filled with joy? How happy are you right now?
I often talk about joy. The joy I find in the magic of nature. The joy I find in creating and sharing art. I talk about keeping Joy Lists and I call myself a "Joy Collector".
Of course, like everyone, I don't always feel joyful, but I do believe I have the power to invite more joy into my life.
Here are some ideas of how to do it:
Get outside! When the weather is beautiful, take advantage of it. When the weather is not good, do what you can (wear warm boots, take an umbrella...) to make it bearable. Taking daily walks is a great way to make this happen. Bonus if you're walking with a friend and/or a dog (or two).
Pay attention. When I am fully present I am able to feel the most joy. Be aware of what sensations you're feeling. Keep your eyes open to the beauties and magic that surround you. There is so much magic in this world (like this and this).
Surround yourself with flowers. Plant a garden if you have the space for it (you'll have the added bonus of garden visitors like birds and butterflies, too). Pots on a balcony, a windowbox or a houseplant on the windowsill are great if you don't have a yard. If growing real flowers is a challenge for you, treat yourself to cut flowers (your local flower farmer will thank you) or cultivate a "garden" of floral art or fabric in your home
Limit screen time. This can be a hard one, but I think it's important. Especially if you find yourself feeling bad by comparing your life to what you see online. And with your eyes on a screen you're likely to miss some of the magic that’s going around you, too.
Write in a journal. Even if what you're writing in your journal is not joyful, connecting with yourself, how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking can help you to release negativity and invite joy. A journal gives you the freedom to be 100% yourself. It's a wonderful place to show some self-love and for pep-talks. Joy and Gratitude Lists fit perfectly between the covers or a journal, too.
Read or listen to a good book. Books and stories have always been my thing. Getting lost in the magic of words is one of life's greatest pleasures. It's why I ended up a librarian before I started painting. Thanks to public libraries everyone has access to books (and movies and magazines and newspapers and music...). Audiobooks are great for when your eyes and hands are busy (in Lilla Rogers' Creativebug class she recommends them as a way to block out our inner critics). Podcasts are another option. I recently discovered the podcast Levar Burton Reads and am looking forward to having him read to me.*
Reach out and make connections. Spend time with people you like, with people who laugh and make you feel good. If possible, limit your time around negative people and do your best not to let them bring you down. Cherish each day with those you love. Our days together are finite.
Share your life with a pet (or a few!). Matthias and I have two cats and two dogs. Each and every day they make us laugh. Each and every day they share snuggles and hugs and love. There are many, many homeless animals waiting to be adopted into loving homes. My days would be so much less joyful without my boys.
SLOW DOWN. This one is hard for me. It's a message the universe often has to shout. I'm often in a rush. Being in a hurry, putting pressure on myself to get on to the next task makes me anxious and it keeps me from fully enjoying what I'm doing. When I get to the end of a day and wonder just was it that I did all day, I know I've been going too fast. Even when life gets busy, I know I can slow myself down. It takes awareness. I’m working on it.
Learn something new. As I mentioned the other day, trying new (or different) things is good for your creativity. Learning something new is joyful, too. Bonus points if it includes making something with your hands.
Take a break. It's important to give yourself a rest. Take time off. Let go of obligations for a while. Wind down and regenerate.
What about you? What ways do you invite more joy into your life?