Cultivate joy everyday
- Shift Your Frame of Reference: I’ve made a case for finding joy in the nooks and crannies of our lives because too often, we reserve jubilation for milestones—a wedding day, the birth of a child or a hard-won promotion, etc. When we think of joy as belonging only to big events, we sideline the many small pleasures strewn along the way. Finding joy in our joy routines makes it far more accessible and creates a positive feedback loop. The more we attend to joy in the ordinary moments of our lives, the more we experience it, and the more joyous we become.
- Slow Down: It can take the brain a few seconds to register that something good is coming your way. Slowing down lets your heart, mind, and body to acknowledge pleasure is present. Savoring the flavor of juicy peach allows you to enjoy it more as does pausing to feel your bare feet in the grass or lingering over the lines of a beautifully written poem.
- Non-Problematic Joy: Sometimes, finding joy is as simple as noticing what’s not wrong. In the wild swings between pleasant and unpleasant, we often neglect the contentment of the neutral middle. Most mornings, for example, my teeth feel fine, the sun rises with confidence, and birdsong fills the air. While these experiences might not thrill us, paying attention to them encourages an appreciation and gratitude for all that’s still right in the world. As Chade-Meng Tan writes in Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within, “Knowing you are not entirely at the mercy of agitation can bring some joy.”
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