Who can’t use a little more joy in their lives (ok… well… a lot!) I know I can! So, I’ve been thinking about how to intentionally create joy. Because as we all know our feelings come from our thoughts and we have complete control over both. But there are times when circumstances outside of our control worm their way into our brain and preoccupy us with unpleasant thoughts and feelings. So, what if there was a way to turn that off? A prompt that would help us home in on the situations, thoughts and feelings that spark pure joy! Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to quickly and easily shift into joy?!?!
We’ve all had moments of pure joy. If you work hard you can think back to a time when you were overwhelmed with it. It often comes at unexpected times. That perfect peaceful moment with a cup of coffee at sunrise or the sound of your children laughing. Close your eyes and imagine that feeling. What circumstances were present? Can you create joy in your life?
Create Joy in Your Life
Knowing the circumstances that contribute to joy can drastically increase your ability to create it any time! Recreate those same circumstances and there’s a good chance you’ll stir up the feelings that accompany them.
In the moment that you most need to tap into some joy you are also most likely to struggle with it. It’s difficult to change your mindset and dig into a moment when you were experiencing such profound peace and happiness while you’re in a funk or going through something that’s really difficult. So, if you want to be able to experience joy whenever or wherever you want, you need to prepare for it!
Here are a few things you can do to create the opportunity for on demand joy!
1. Create a play list
Music has the ability to change our mood quickly and easily. Create a play list that has uplifting or motivating songs. Fill it with music you love.
I have 2 different playlists, one that’s upbeat and likely to inspire a dance party and one that’s mellow and would best accompany a warm bath or yoga session. The one I choose to create joy depends on the mood I’m starting with. If I’m feeling blue, I might want the dance music but if I’m anxious or overwhelmed the soothing music is better.
If you want to try something really interesting, different and unique, consider listening to 432 hertz music. It is believed that this particular frequency stimulates dopamine and serotonin production and creates feelings of joy and happiness. You don’t even need to create a playlist to try it out. There are plenty of ready-made ones on Spotify across every genre you can imagine (even rap)!
There are other frequencies that help with different things including resolving physical pain, converting grief into joy and connecting with your intuition and the universe. For more information check out this post about the ancient Solfeggio scale. You won’t be sorry! This work is fascinating and so impactful! Consider using the Solfeggio scale while meditating! That would likely produce incredible results!
2. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Taking the time for breath work and meditation drastically improves your ability to control your thoughts and emotional state. This will allow you to create joy in any situation (if you choose to)! Mastering your own mind is the most difficult and worthwhile task you will likely ever pursue. You don’t need to spend an hour a day or become a monk to be making progress here. Even 2 – 5 minutes a day is a huge step in the right direction, and you’ll start seeing incredible results in only a week or two.
Don’t worry if you have distracting thoughts. We all do! And don’t be concerned if you feel overwhelmed with personal development to-dos. That’s very common! Even practicing monks struggle with this. They say that beginning a meditation practice is very similar to cleaning a house that has been abandoned for years. At first you will kick up a lot of dust (disruptive thoughts, overwhelming tasks and awareness). Don’t be distressed, just keep at it. It will clear soon enough!
Practicing mindfulness as part of your daily life and interaction with others can make a huge difference! Just because you have a thought or experience doesn’t mean you need to act on it. Your thoughts or interpretations might not even be accurate. Stopping yourself from reacting mindlessly will drastically change your outcomes! Just because you’re feeling anxious or offended by something someone said or did doesn’t mean they meant any harm. Not reacting and making it about you can change your interpretation and feelings drastically. Choose to see the good in others. Choose to stop before reacting. You’ll experience a lot more joy and happiness if you control your own thoughts!
Affirmations change your mindset about yourself and your life! Creating a daily affirmation practice will increase your self-esteem and confidence help you learn self love and forgiveness and bring you deeper joy!
3. Utilize Essential Oils
Scent is the sense that is most connected to memory. This is why the smell of baked goods or even fresh cut grass can take you back to a past experience so quickly! It is innately personal and should be customized to you, in particular. Because yes, it is true that lavender can make us relaxed and sleepy, unless, of course, it’s connected to an unsettling memory for you.
So, find fragrances that stimulate peace, joy and happiness and use those in your diffuser. Be sure that everyone in your home has a positive or neutral reaction to them before use. And whatever you do, avoid synthetic fragrances! Sure, the smell of fabric softener might take you right back to summers playing in the yard while the “fresh” laundry smell escaped the drier vent. But it’s also dangerous to your health and environment. Not all air pollution smells bad!
4. Create a Joy Jar
Sometimes it helps to have a tangible reminder of what brings you joy! Create a joy jar!
As you all know, I love jars and use them for all sorts of random stuff. You could also use a box or even an envelope or notepad in place of a jar if you prefer. But I love to use a jar so I can see my joyful experiences piling up as I add them!
Fill Your Jar
Anytime you experience joy write down what you’re doing. What are the circumstances. What are your thoughts. Write every physical input you can. I call this a “joy note”. Then fold it up and place it in the jar or box.
Just seeing all of the joy notes will spur happiness and hopefulness on even the most difficult day. It reminds you of what you’re capable of experiencing. This makes it easier to focus your thoughts on better times in the future.
Use Your Jar
You can also use it in a similar way to your music playlist. When you are going through a trying time pull out one of your joy notes and try to recreate the circumstances that brought you happiness before. This may not always work but it is a great distraction. And focusing your mind on trying to create joy will often trigger your thoughts to hope and happiness. While you may not have the complete experience you had before you’re likely to break free of your funk.
Raise Your Awareness of Joy
When you’re done recreating the experience put the joy note back in the jar to be used again in the future or reviewed later.
At the end of the month or year empty your joy jar and re-read your notes. Bask in the incredible number of joyful experiences you’ve been blessed to have. Do these things still bring you joy? If so, consider putting them back in the jar or writing them in your journal.
Raising our awareness of access to joy increases our ability to experience not only joy but also gratitude. This leads to a happier, more peaceful and more fulfilling life!
Now this might sound ridiculous but sometimes we don’t want to experience joy. Sometimes we need to experience the sorrow or grief that accompanies a situation. There is nothing wrong with that! There are no “bad” or “negative” feelings, they are all simply part of the experience of being human! Allow yourself to embrace your emotional state. Just don’t wallow here or allow your feelings to become quicksand and swallow you whole!
There are some people who prefer to stay in their funk (I’m betting you’re not one of them or you wouldn’t be reading this). Some like to be surrounded by misery and drama. It works for them! Whatever you do, DON’T share this with them! You’ll ruin their victim status and tick them off! And you’ll have to listen to an endless list of reasons why this will NEVER work!
But, do share with those you love who you wish an extra spark of joy for!