I have been thinking a lot about joy recently. Joy doesn't have to be reserved for those one off amazing moments in life - wouldn't it be great if we could have more joy all the time?
The past few months have been a special time for me, I went on a surprise weekend away for my hen party (or bachelorette party for you non-English folk), and it was getting closer to my wedding and I was seeing love everywhere!
Then the pandemic started and the world seems a bit different now. There is lots of uncertainty about the future and we are surrounded by bad news.
So is this the right time to be talking about joy?
Jack Kerouac said 'be in love with your life every minute of it' - and why shouldn't that include during difficult times?
I'm not saying it will be easy, in tough times it is normal to experience fear and doubt, to be angry, sad or anxious. It's important to allow all these feelings to be felt - I certainly did when my wedding had to be postponed. But we have a choice about the feelings we want to let go of, and the ones we want to remain inside.
Each day is a blessing and we have a choice in each moment to find JOY.
Here are four ways to find more joy in your life:
Be mindful and savour the small moments. Notice the little things that bring a sense of calm, serenity and pleasure. These moments in our day often go unnoticed or unappreciated because we live in a culture that celebrates big accomplishments. But what if we made it a habit to embrace and celebrate the small things? Like climbing into clean sheets or sitting down for a cup of tea and a biscuit (my personal favourite).
Add things to your life that give you joy. This might sound obvious, but a lot of the time we put on hold the stuff we want to do. Why wait? Think about something you love to do and do more of it. Just a few serotonin-producing activities can reduce stress and help you live a more joyful life. You can go for a run, savouring your one hour outside. You can draw a picture or spend time on the phone with a good friend - stop waiting and do it - you have less excuses now with all this extra time on your hands!
Laugh more. Laughing makes you feel good. This probably isn’t surprising, but try to think about the last time you really laughed - chances are, it may have been some time ago. We can get preoccupied with all of our grownup responsibilities that as adults we just don’t giggle as often as we did when we were kids - but we should! Laughing has been shown to reduce stress, enhance immunity and strengthen relationships. That famous adage about laughter being the best medicine is true!
Love more. Be kind to people, compliment them or even just smile. Share joy with others and it will keep it present in you. Wishing you a joyful week, Claire PS. Who needs to hear this today? Please share it to them :)