An important aspect of creating a happy and fulfilling life for ourselves is being able to experience pleasure, fun and joy more often, preferably on a daily basis. Fortunately, we don’t need a lot of time or money in order to do that. What we do need is attention.
There are special moments around us all the time…waiting for us to engage and delight in them. Unfortunately, all too often we rush past these special moments and fail to notice them. To bring more joy into our lives all we need to do is to begin paying more attention to the special moments and simple pleasures that we encounter each and every day.
To get you thinking about some of the things that bring you joy, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of my own personal favorites:
- Going for a ride on a scenic road
- Feeling the sunlight on my face on a warm, sunny day
- Watching a butterfly or bumble bee make it’s rounds
- Savoring the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans
- Feeling the warmth of clean towels fresh out of the dryer
- Playing with a dog or kitten
- Listening to the rain fall
- Watching the silent dance of falling snow
- Smelling the fresh, floral scent of spring
- Smelling the moist, woody scent of autumn
- Finding no lines at the post office, grocery store or bank
- Finding a 5 dollar bill in the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn in a while
- Watching birds soaring across the sky
- Having a hearty laugh at something slapstick
- Watching and listening to the dance of water in a fountain
- Listening to the rustling sound of water in a stream or river
- Watching the gentle flow of clouds in the sky
- Listening (and dancing) to a favorite song
- Holding hands with a loved one
- Having a great conversation with a close friend
- Giggling for no particular reason
- Watching a beautiful sunset, or even a plain one…they are all wondrous
Take a few moments to create your own “Joy List.” Sit back, take a few deep breaths to relax and then let your mind wander. Think about any activities or things that consistently bring you joy. What puts a smile on you face? What makes you feel a sense of wonder? What gives you a feeling of bliss, curiosity or serenity? Jot these ideas down as they come to you. Keep writing until you run out of ideas.
Keep your list in an easily accessible place, such as in your journal or in a folder that you keep in your desk. Other insights and ideas will bubble up over time. Don’t forget to add them to your list.
The act of creating a Joy List is a great first step in bringing your attention to those elements that give you joy. But to really get the most out of it, it’s important to review your list on a regular basis and work some of those activities or elements into your daily life. For example, you may want to try taking a few minutes at bedtime every night to review your list and think of ways that you might incorporate at least one of the elements on your list into your activities on the following day.
Although it may seem like your schedule is simply too busy for taking joy breaks, it’s not. Remember, it’s not about time or money. It’s about paying attention. In fact, the busier you are, the more important this process is to your health and well-being.
You deserve to experience joy in your life–not just once in a while but every day of your life. Joy is not a rare, illusive creature. It’s all around you. All it takes is giving yourself permission to slow down and smell the roses…or the coffee. Enjoy!