Joy! One of my favorite topics. Today my friend and bestselling publisher Linda Joy released Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy featuring the soul-inspiring stories of 38 amazing women who share their intimate stories of transformation. Cultivating Joy, also, includes Reflection Questions after each story which will empower you to incorporate the essential lessons of each woman’s journey into your own life. For a limited time you can get over 50 transformational gifts with your copy of Cultivating Joy. Grab your copy today from www.CultivatingJoyBook.com
Many of the doctrines and beliefs I was raised on are still very integral parts of my life. My faith is definitely at the top of that list. I can vividly remember an evening during young adult Bible Study that we discussed the difference between happiness and joy. Both were words that I would use casually in conversation and not really think about and focus on the true meanings. I was 15 – believe me, most of what I did was done without thinking and focus, right?
This conversation, however, was a game-changer and provided a base for many of the life challenges I would experience over the next 10-15 years. Happiness is temporary, more fickle and it’s based on ever-changing external factors. Joy on the other hand is an internal feeling. I can have joy even when I may not be experiencing happiness with what is going on around me because it is based on the relationship I have with God. Even if your faith is different from mine, the joy you experience in life is based on internal contentment with your life’s circumstances rather than the “stuff” you accumulate.
Over the years I have found simple ways to cultivate joy in my life. It has helped me to find laughter and the ultimate good in experiences that definitely were not “happy moments” to experience.
Simple Ways to Cultivate Joy in Your Life
Daily Gratitude. Gratitude is a huge part of my life and something I strive to share with others around me. I choose a word to focus on annually along with my SMART goals and gratitude was my word for two years. During those years I began keeping a daily gratitude journal and my family began using a gratitude jar. Most recently we began making it a point to have dinner together as a family, my oldest son suggested we include “tell something great” moments during our time at the dinner. That let me know that they get it. It’s interesting to see what my children find joy in on a daily basis and I can always tell when they may have had a rough day and don’t want to let on based on their “great” moment.
Taking the time each day to focus on the things you are grateful for – the things that bring you joy in your day-to-day routine – helps to keep you in tune with the things that bring a smile to your heart. When you’re having moments that aren’t very bright and cheery, revisiting your gratitude journal will help put things into perspective for you.
Create a list of simple things that you enjoy and find time for them on a regular basis. My list includes quiet time reading or journaling, time outdoors with my children, one-on-one time with each of my children talking about things they enjoy, and walks listening to inspirational music. This Diva doesn’t need much but finding time to do something on my list on a regular basis truly brings me joy because they all incorporate parts of my “why” and life’s purpose.
Being present in the moment. Often we’re so focused on our daily to-do list and busy schedules, a friend of mine once mentioned that she was taking time to focus on where she was right then and there and dealing with everything else later – yes, there were times when it was frustrating if she was running late, like really late, but as her friend I understood and respected her decision because her life had been spiraling out of control as she was trying to fit in the schedules of so many other people she was responsible for that it became unhealthy for her. While I’m not instructing anyone to keep loved ones or business associates waiting, that’s not a good thing, but it is great to give those your with your full and undivided attention. Also, eliminate things from your schedule and to do list that are not necessary or do not fit in with your life’s purpose or your passions.
Take care of you. Self-care is very important and necessary to your joy. Remember, it is hard to take care of others when our personal resources are depleted and disregarded. It is not being selfish, it’s being self-focused.
I invite you to share how you cultivate joy in the midst of everyday living in the comments below. Be sure to check out Inspired Living Publishing’s much anticipated new book, Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy and grab your copy today at www.CultivatingJoyBook.com to receive over 50 transformational gifts.