Greetings to you all,
With the beautiful weather finally emerging, we thought it would be a good time to talk about what joy is and ways we can cultivate joy.
So what distinguishes joy from happiness? While they both describe positive feelings, they are actually very different. Happiness is an “in the moment” feeling. It’s fleeting and often involves external factors which lead to glimpses of momentary pleasure. Unfortunately, all of these external events eventually come to an end and so too does the happiness.
Joy on the other hand is internalized. It’s about being in the present, feeling grateful for everything around us and feeling whole as a person. It’s about understanding our true self, letting go of our insecurities and peacefully accepting who we are. Essentially, joy is more sustainable in maintaining an overall sense of wellbeing.
So how can we cultivate joy? Like everything else in life – it takes practice. Luckily, there are several ways we can practice the act of cultivating joy daily. Here are just a few;
– Choose joy: As simple as this sounds, there’s much more to it than it seems. It’s about starting your day with set intentions. Choose to be present and consciously appreciate the little things that make you happy. Take a moment to appreciate that sip of coffee, sing along to that song that you love, appreciate the morning walk with your four-legged friend and smell how good a freshly cut lawn smells. As Henri Nouwen said; “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
– Make time for joy: Life can get hectic. With a seemingly endless list of chores, dedicating a set time for joy is crucial. Be sure to set aside some time in the day to do something for yourself that will bring a sense of joy and peacefulness. Whether it be reading a good book, dinning at your favourite restaurant, or simply meditating – do something that’s just for you.
– Dampen negativity surrounding you: You probably already have someone in mind – that person who always criticizes things or makes backhanded remarks. The ones who try to communicate through means of passive aggressiveness and leave you feeling unappreciated. Its important to be in tune with how others make you feel and limit your time with the ones who leave you feeling emotionally drained.
– Highlight people or things that are uplifting: Again, you might already be thinking of someone. Those people who you get a great vibe from, who are a pleasure to be around and who leave you feeling positive, inspired, and invigorated. Remember that positivity breeds positivity and that negativity breed negativity – its up to you to decide which one you’d like to feed.
Joy does not simply land in your lap – it requires active work. Try to reflect on things that bring you joy and jot down a list. Then ask yourself how you can incorporate more of those things in your day to day life. When you find yourself on autopilot mode, put yourself back in the driver seat and ask yourself what choices you could be making right now that would bring more joy to your hearts and minds.
And on that note, I wish you all a very joyful day!
– Russell M. Nelson