What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “joy”? Is it a memory? A feeling? A visual of yourself in a certain place or around certain people? What does joy mean to you? 

Let’s take a moment to breathe and contemplate how to get more joy into our lives. 

What is Joy to You? 

Though joy might have a standard definition, we all have our own understanding of what joy is. Each of us has a unique viewpoint into what actually brings joy into our life. 

For some it might be being around family and friends. For others, joy is solitude in nature or with animals, the feeling we get when cooking a delicious meal, or gardening in our yards. Joy can be stimulated by multiple things in our lives and tapped into through many different means. 

What’s important to note is that joy is available to you at any point in time, only by shifting into an activity or mindset that evokes a state of joy. 

But joy is more than just “available” to us. It some regard, the state of joy is a natural state of being. You can see this most evidently in babies, toddlers, and children in general. 

We are born into the world with so much inner joy. We laugh and smile at a funny face, can find joy in the simplicity of a box, a bug outside, a smile from our mom.. the list goes on and on. 

However, as our environment greatly impacts us, as we grow and learn to harness our joy, that natural state of being is dimmed. We lose the core joy that is innate to all humans after we experience trauma, hardship, and the overall influence from our outer world. (Not to mention that each of our brains are wired to experience and access joy differently.)

The good news is that we are able to harness and infuse joy back into our state of being by bringing consciousness back into our days and choosing joy, peace and healing. 

 

Why Joy is Important

Studies show that people who live in a state of joy tend to have less health problems, a lower risk of depression, and longer lives.

By regulating our joyful state of being and prioritizing it, we elevate our entire health, body, mind and spirit. Joy can also help us become more resistant to whatever life throws at us.

I believe there’s a distinct difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is situational, and a fleeting emotion, whereas joy is more of an inner state of being. So the more we can master joy, the more often we can experience happiness, peace and calmness, even when the waters of our life are rocky.

Though we have little control over circumstances beyond our immediate selves, we have lots of control over how we allow experiences to affect our state of being.

 

What does joy mean to you?

Defining Joy For Ourselves

Because joy is so unique to each person, it’s important to explore this emotional state for yourself. Here are some great questions to ask yourself to discover your joy: 

  • What activities do I naturally gravitate to?
  • What genuinely brings me happiness?
  • When do I feel most myself and at peace?
  • What triggers me to be OUT of joy? What causes me stress, anger, or sadness? 

It’s important to explore both what creates joy for you, and what causes the opposite effect, so that you have a good awareness about the things that may throw you out of balance. Let’s face it, life is not perfect, but the better we can understand ourselves in the lows, the better we can understand how to set boundaries around those activities and situations, and stay more present in our positive state. 

 

Tips for Setting Boundaries and Prioritizing Joy

As I mentioned, our joy can be greatly impacted by our outer world IF we let it. And a HUGE part of navigating that is understanding how to set your own unique boundaries and prioritizations, so you can return to joy even when life isn’t always smooth sailing. 

Here are some of our favorite tips for prioritizing joy: 

1. Understand your Stressors 

Having a thorough understanding of things that bring on stress, complications, and negative emotions will help you prepare to be more aware of their effects on you. By understanding your stressors, you can create an awareness and an action plan to reduce your exposure or improve your reaction when they occur. Start by taking notes when things come up that throw you off your joy game to increase your awareness of these outer influences / actions / situations and better understand how to manage them. 

2. Take A Life Audit

Look into your relationships, career, job, living situation, activites, nutrition, and where you spend your time. Tune into your joy-o-meter in each category and take an audit to see where you can bring more joy into your life, and where your joy is being drained! 

3. Set Boundaries

What does this mean? Boundaries are limits that we set with ourselves and communicate with those around us on what we allow into our lives. Essentially these are mini promises that you can set for yourself to prioritize your peace. After understanding your stressors, begin to identify what you can say no to, change, adapt, or allow into your reality. After establishing a clear understanding of your boundaries, you can begin to communicate them with those in your life with love and peace. 

Remember that boundaries are not ultimatums. They are not expressed as demands like “You must do this.” We can’t control what other people do. We can only control what we choose to be a part of. 

4. Stay True to your Boundaries

If you’re not used to setting boundaries, sometimes it will feel foreign and even selfish, but it’s actually just the opposite! The more you stay true to what you need, the more your cup will be full, and the more you will be able to contribute to those around you.

Setting boundaries and staying true to them will help you develop more self-trust, free up your time and energy, prioritize your peace and joy, and increase your overall happiness by only allowing what you desire into your days. 

 

Daily Practice for More Joy

Now it’s time to take action and make your own joy list that you can return to on the days you’re not feeling so great. Put this list up where you can see it every day, and when you need to stimulate more joy, you’ll know exactly what to do! 

Want to take it a step further to add more joy to your life? Be sure to take a look at that list and pick one thing that you feel called to do each day, then add this into your morning or night routine. 

Here’s my own joy list:

My Joy List

 

Share Your List With Us!

What brings you joy? We want to hear about it! Share some of the items on your joy list with us in the comments below!