It’s true that most of us are busy. We’re so focused on juggling tasks and responsibilities and sometimes forget to take the time for the things that bring us happiness. Unfortunately, a lack of joy in your daily life can lead to unhappiness, and it can even have long term negative consequences on your health. What is joy? Dictionary.com defines it as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation. Thankfully, no matter how busy your life may be, there are steps you can take to add joy to your daily routine which boosts your mood and health.
Several well-known studies show that positive emotions, such as joy, have a profound effect on your health. One such study entitled "Positive Emotion and Health: Going Beyond the Negative," was published in the July 2005 issue of Health Psychology. According to this study:
- Joy and optimism provided a 51% reduction in the rates of heart disease among men who were followed for 10 years during the study.
- Positive emotions such as joy and hope not only reduce the incidence of heart disease, but they also have a protective effect against high blood pressure, diabetes, and upper respiratory infections.
Try one of these easy ways to add some joy back into your life each day:
1. Take time to appreciate and revel in activities that delight you. Whenever you feel your energy beginning to dwindle during the day, take a break and focus on something that brings you pleasure.
- Giving yourself permission to have little "joy breaks" throughout your day will instantly lift your mood, as well as help you reduce stress and recharge your energy.
- Simple things like savoring a cup of your favorite coffee or reconnecting with an old friend can bring you joy.
- The important thing to remember is to take time each day to focus on those simple activities that make you feel happier.
2. Count your blessings. If you’re having a difficult or hectic day, you might find it tempting to focus on the negative aspects of the day. Instead, try focusing on the things that are going in a positive direction and be thankful.
- Feeling and expressing gratitude are powerful. Reflecting on better times in the past, as well as the things that are currently going well, can instantly lift your mood and give you the strength to keep working towards your goals.
- Consider keeping a "blessings journal" so that you have a physical record of the good things in your life. This will help lift you up and encourage you during the difficult times.
3. Shake things up and do something new. The old adage, "familiarity breeds contempt," is certainly true when it comes to our daily lives. Why not try something completely different to rediscover your joy?
- Your imagination is the only limit. To get started, why not explore a new route to and from your workplace? You could also try out a new recipe that features a novel ingredient. Consider learning a new skill or hobby. When looking for something to try, pay attention to the dreams you've had as a child and adult. For example, did you ever dream of traveling to a faraway country in the past?
- Consider taking classes to learn that country's language and then plan a trip.
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