How to find joy in ordinary day-to-day life: 10 ways

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Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

How to find joy has always been elusive to me. Even as a school kid, recess seemed like a waste of time.

My kids think it’s hilarious that I preferred schoolwork to play time and it’s a feature of my personality that’s been hard to change.

And with the limitations imposed by fears about the worldwide virus, joy seems more out of reach for all of us, not just structured types like me.

So, how do we find joy in ordinary life, when life has become smaller than usual due to powers outside our control?

Here are ten ways:

1. Board games

Board games bring the fun for any family night. But now that every night is a night in (depending on restrictions where you live), board games provide much-needed respite from too much screen time.

They also foster connection as you make eye contact and interact with other players rather than staring ahead at a screen.

2. Mindfulness

Take time each day to get present and stop your mind spinning out of control. This might mean time in prayer or meditation. For me, it means setting a timer and letting my thoughts wander.

Many of my so-called problems get solved during this time. The quiet that comes with simply stopping for a few minutes replaces inner chaos with peace and joy.

3. More time doing what you love

It sounds simple but have you lost sight of the things you love to do? What brought you joy before your inner critic took over? Do more of those things even if they seem silly.

Lots of people have rediscovered their puzzle-making abilities during this time. Others have found knitting or dancing lights them up.

4. More time with people that bring you joy

find joy

That doesn’t mean eliminating people who don’t (though it might). How about evaluating your relationships to see which ones are draining, and which ones uplift you. Then spend more time with the latter.

5. Laugh more

Twenty minutes of belly laughing over the antics of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute are enough to improve anyone's mood. Click To Tweet

For me, this has meant watching reruns of The Office. Twenty minutes of belly laughing over the antics of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute are enough to improve anyone’s mood.

6. Get some sun

Going for a walk in the sun can do wonders for your mood. Vitamin D improves health and well-being and helps us resist disease and depression (so important right now).

Even in winter, the sun still shines most days. So get out there for a daily walk and absorb the many benefits of Vitamin D.

7. Find pleasure in simple things

Evidence shows that people who find joy in life’s simple things are faring better during this pandemic. Much of life’s joy comes in the little moments like a smile exchanged or a kindness done.

Evidence shows that people who find joy in life's simple things are faring better during this pandemic. Click To Tweet

8. Be more intentional

Rather than rushing through daily tasks, take your time. Even if it’s showering or cooking. Instead of getting things over with, find joy in the self care you’re providing.

9. Set a goal

This may be the last thing on your mind as you’re trying to get through a difficult time. However, stretching outside your comfort zone to achieve something new increases personal growth and confidence.

I’ve heard of people doing Couch to 5K. My stretch goal has been to write an ebook. Find joy in accomplishing something new and challenging.

10. Resolve your past

I’ve spent much of my downtime during the pandemic reading books on childhood trauma. Though this seems counter-intuitive to joy-seeking, we open the door to joy when we tell the truth about our past.

If we fail to acknowledge the way our past influences our present, we may never access our authentic selves. To find joy, we must first know who we are and what motivates us.

Sometimes there are subconscious barriers to joy that come down once we understand ourselves better.

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