Cultivating Joy

Like a plant without enough water, when you forget to feed your soul and your life with joy, your cheeks aren’t as rosy and your whole being isn’t as vibrant. 

The good news is that joy can be cultivated over time. It’s within your reach and you have the key to bring it forward. If you’re not sure where to start with cultivating joy, here are three ideas to help you get started.

Keep it simple

Some days, moments, weeks are going to feel like crap and that’s okay. If life was perfect all the time, you wouldn’t recognize the good stuff. Give yourself permission to feel the sadness, anger, and frustration. When you’re ready to move forward, call in your joy.

Joy doesn’t have to be expensive, like a 12-day excursion through the Mediterranean. That may be a goal to work towards but the truth is, joy shows up in the simplest ways and sometimes we don’t see it. Do you have a favorite coffee shop that you love? Do you have a favorite vista in your town or city that puts an instant smile on your face? Do you have a favorite song that you love dancing to? Now is the time. Turn the song on, turn it up, and dance!

Create a list of what brings you joy

I have a list of what brings me joy on a 25 x 30 inch post-it in my office to keep it front and center. That way, when I need it, I have a list I can pull from to bring in joy immediately. Here are some things on my list: fun music, tea, dancing, exercising, laughing, reading, home improvement shows, dinner with my husband, sharing helpful information. 

Just recently, I was resisting a new way of doing a process that I’ve done the same way for a long time but I knew the growth would be really good for me. I am a believer in the quote, “what you resist persists” so I decided to embrace the unknown and try the new way. 

To help me out, I put a rocking 80s playlist on my phone, put on my headphones and let myself create! I also sang, out loud, without being able to hear myself. I was at home with my cat. After about 20 minutes, the cat came in and stared at me like I was a crazy person but, I felt amazing and I pushed through my resistance with pure joy. 

Let go of the pressure

This adulting thing has pressure with it. However, there could be room to relieve the pressure.

For example, if you need help with accountability so that you’re not waiting until the last minute to finish something, find an accountability partner or treat your calendar like one. Keeping your word to yourself helps relieve pressure too.

If your standards are too high, what can you take off your list or get help with so that you can focus on what you do well?

Life has a lot of joy in it to pull from, as you need it. Give yourself permission to experience it and honor the joy. Bloom into it.

*Note: If you feel like your ability to cultivate joy is impacted by your mental health and you’re having challenges moving forward, schedule time to talk through this with a counselor. Psychology Today is a great place to find one. Click here to access.

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