In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to find joy in life.
For most of us, life is not a series of endless hedonistic pleasures. In fact, most of us would not want our lives to be non-stop pleasure rides. But we do not want our lives to be pleasure-less drudgery, either. We need to find a comfortable level of joy in our daily lives.
There are plenty of reasons why we sometimes fail to find joy in our lives. Busy work and family schedules can make it difficult to find time for ourselves. Isolation and loneliness can make us feel like life is passing us by. Serious financial and health problems can leave us struggling for the essentials, unable to even think about joy.
But we must find joy in life. A little pleasure in our daily schedule can be enough to make life exciting and fun. You do not need money, companionship, or time to find joy. In this article I will provide you some easy methods of finding the joy in your day, every day.
How To Find Joy In Life
Reviving Past Pleasures
You have experienced joy in the past – otherwise you would not feel its absence now. In fact, I am willing to bet that you have a lot of joyful experiences to draw on.
Find a paper to write on, and list at least ten things that brought you joy in the past. They can be small things (e.g., sharing a smile with a stranger) or large things (e.g., an exotic vacation). List as many as you can.
Now review your list. Which of these joys can you repeat right now? You probably cannot go on an exotic vacation this instant, but you can make a mug of hot chocolate if that brings you joy. Identify one of your small joys that you could engage in right now, and do it right now.
If you do not have any immediately repeatable joys on your list, then you need to list more of them. You have a whole life of enjoyment to drawn on, so dig deep. You should be able to come up with a pretty lengthy list.
The next step is to plan to experience joy each day. Sometimes pleasurable experiences come into our day on their own, by chance, but sometimes they don’t. If you really want to experience joy every day, you need to make plans.
Before you go to bed at night, plan at least one thing you will do the following day to experience joy. Doing this makes it easier for me to get up in the morning and face the world, and I am confident that it will do the same for you. Sometimes the anticipation of a planned joy is as pleasurable as the experience itself.
Creating New Pursuits
The joy you experience does not have to consist entirely of repetition of past pleasures, though. You should also make an effort to experience new things. Doing so will provide a special type of joy, which we can refer to as adventure.
Here’s an example: A couple of years ago, as part of my daily pursuit of joy, I decided to develop a taste for dark chocolate, which I am told is healthier than milk chocolate, but which is more of an acquired taste. I decided that I would buy one dark chocolate bar each day. Every bar would be different than the one before, and they would all be chocolate bars that I had never tried before.
The experiment was a complete success. I looked forward to my dose of dark chocolate each day, and truly enjoyed every moment of my chocolate-tasting experiences. I continued this pursuit for several weeks, until it became difficult to find any dark chocolate product I had not already tasted.
Here are a few other idea for “new pursuits” you can pursue:
- Sight-seeing. You do not have to go somewhere exotic – try visiting a local museum or park for the first time.
- Read a book you have been meaning to read.
- Go see a new movie.
- Call an old friend.
- Attend a public lecture (e.g., at your local library or a nearby university).
- Take a class.
- Paint a room in your house.
- Plant vegetables.
- Drive a new route to work, even if it takes a bit longer.
Note again that the joyful experiences you plan do not have to be exotic, expensive, or social. You can brighten your day with a simple, cost-free experience that is yours alone. Trying something new will brighten your day.
Taking Pleasure in the Ordinary
Have you ever met a really negative person? Some people can find negativity in the world, no matter what happens to them. You and I want to be the opposite of that.
If we learn see the positive in every situation, then we can take pleasure in the ordinary, mundane details of our lives.
For example, we all go to sleep every night (or nearly every night). Some people are stressed out when they go to sleep, wondering if they will be able to get a good night’s rest. Others are consumed with thoughts about the responsibilities they have the following morning.
Personally, I enjoy sleep for its own sake. I love lying down in bed at night, knowing that I can finally just relax. And then I enjoy closing my eyes and watching whatever images my mind creates until I fall asleep.
Sleep is not the only regular activity we can re-characterize as pleasures, though. Here are some others:
We all eat just about every day. It can be a chore, or it can be a pleasure. Why not stop to notice how delicious your fresh milk is? Or how satisfying your corn chowder is? There is no reason to skip these pleasures.
I used to think that fitness types were crazy. I would see them out running or jogging and looking miserable. Some of them probably do feel miserable, but when I started exercising regularly I learned that exercise feels good. It has a meditative quality that I have learned to enjoy, and that you can enjoy, too.
3. Speaking with other people.
At work or home, most of us interact with a number of people. Especially at work, the people we interact with are not always people we have chosen to interact with. Some of them are jerks, and virtually all of them have hang ups of one type or another. We can enjoy interacting with these people if we (a) make them our friends or (b) at least learn to see them as interesting characters who inhabit our world.
Most of us commute somewhere on a regular basis, by car, subway, bicycle, or foot. There are ways to make this a pleasant experience. I like to listen to audiobooks on my MP3 player. Other people prefer music. Still others like to read as they travel by subway. Find a little bit of pleasure to inject into your commute.
My morning shower is one of the best times of the day. It is so relaxing. If you bathe instead of showering, I bet you feel the same way. This is an experience you can really enjoy. Add special soaps or bubble bath if they will make the experience more pleasurable for you.
One beautiful aspect of these daily pleasures is that they take absolutely no extra time out of your day. These experiences are already a part of your day. You just need to learn to find the joy in them.
I truly understand what it is like to be in a place where it feels like there is no joy in your life. But I have discovered that there is joy in our lives if we just know where to look for it.
After reading this article, you have three powerful approaches to finding joy: (1) recreate past joys, (2) try new things, and (3) find the joy in your regular daily activities. In each case, you should plan every night to experience joy the following day.
Feeling joy every day is not selfish – it is an important part of living this life. No matter what your circumstances, or how constrained your money, time, and other resources are, put forth the effort necessary to enjoy your life. You can do it!
Thank you for reading this article on how to find joy in life and I really hope that you take action my advice. I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.