How to increase joy in your life focus on two arguments: First, is that joy is good for you. And second, there are 12 ways to increase joy, both large and small, in your life.
Joy is good for you. According to studies, joyful, happy people have more friends and better marriages. They are more creative and more successful in their work. They have a stronger immune system and even live longer.
I have argued with a friend that the experience of joy should be something more substantial, something that will give me the high of a glass of champagne, but permanently. So the more I try to find happiness, the more I find myself in different moments of thrills and pleasures. These could be making eye contact with a handsome stranger, listening to the soothing sound of the rain, walking with my son. Or having a delightful lunch in a quiet place with nature at its best, or making real conversation with God. Read below 12 ways to increase joy in your life:
Optimistic people are happier people. Those who look on the bright side experience more happiness than those who try to “see things as they really are”. It is a process scientists call reframing: If you try to cast negative events in a positive light, and you see the silver lining, you can turn a bad situation into a joyful one. But if you only focus on what is wrong, you will not experience joy. You will experience discouragement, depression, low self-esteem.
Counting our blessings and being thankful sounds cliché. But research actually supports this. One study found that those who regularly recorded what they were thankful for in “gratitude journals” showed higher levels of optimism, enthusiasm, attentiveness, and energy. Also, they felt better about their life in general.
Indiscriminate acts of kindness increase happiness. There are lots of good things that come from a show of kindness that make you happier and help you stay happy. A study found that just witnessing acts of kindness, loyalty, and heroism produced a major boost in mood. And improved the desire to perform good deeds.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
While an active social and romantic life does not on its own ensure joy, it has a huge effect on happiness. A recent study of college students showed that the happiest among them were more social. They equally spent less time alone, and have strong, supportive relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners.
Don’t Overdo It
The problem with joy is that it is so good that you just want more of it. But what gives you joy once may not work a second time. If you love gourmet chocolate cake, there is no way to maintain the joy of that first taste on your tongue. The more you eat it, the less joy it brings. The brain is made to respond to new events. The more redundant the events, the more they merge into the disregarded background. So, space out your joyful pleasures.
Enjoy The Moment
You can increase joy by paying deep interest to temporary pleasures. In other words, devote time to increase the pleasant experience and be conscious of living in the moment. You can achieve these momentary pleasures by sharing them with others, enjoying the praise others give you. Or improving your perceptions and senses by focusing intensely on something. For instance, closing your eyes when you listen to your favorite music, and completely immersing yourself in something you love doing. Or as a friend says, “Soak it in!”
If you have experienced “runner’s high” or maybe just the afterglow when you are done, you know how joyful exercise can be. Several studies have shown that exercise is a powerful mood elevator. One small pilot study found that 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise worked faster than drugs to ease depression.
Have Restful Times
Rest, peace, quiet, and privacy can also create joy. Even some research suggests that we may have an inborn need to want to be alone once in a while. When the world seems to be crashing in through excess work, unwanted intrusions, this is the time to have a downtime. You will feel much happier afterward.
Put A Smile On Your Face
There is good evidence that just smiling and looking like you are happy will make you happier. Studies show that even muscular changes in your face can elevate your happiness, as can good posture that is the “blush effect”. If you act like you are a happier person, you can enjoy positive social effects. For example, you make more friends, people are nicer to you. And these things can add joy to your life.
Pursue Your Goals
You can increase your happiness level when you have a set of high goals that are important to you, compatible with your values, and most pleasant to work for. Research shows that the mere pursuit of your goals, not even necessarily attaining them, can increase joy.
Work On Your Strength
How to increase joy in your life also comes through identifying your strength and virtues and then using them. However, first, you have to find out what they are. Then, you have to redesign your work life, your love life, and your leisure to deploy those strengths and virtues as much as possible. Once you identify your strengths, you can transform a boring task into an experience that brings joy more frequently.
Discover Your Calling
Some find meaning in religion or spirituality. Others find a sense of purpose in their work. Finding your calling may be more of a lifelong mission than a simple strategy on how to increase joy in your life. But having a sense of purpose, that is a feeling like you are here for a reason, can bring the greatest joy of all.
Finally, how to increase joy in your life means the repetition of things that make you happy daily. Also being happy is the major antecedent to joy. So whether your joy or high happiness, comes in a rush of a sugar high, a glass of champagne, the glow of professional success, deep spiritual fulfillment. Or whether it trickles in small pleasures or flows in a surge of delight, the truth is that you want more of it. Although you cannot be joyful all the time, the fact is that people who are happy are going to be joyful more often.
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