10 Ways to Cultivate Joy

Making happiness a goal won’t help us feel happier. Acting according to what’s meaningful to us, on the other hand, brings the side effect of experiencing joy. The following are ways that can help you cultivate a greater sense of meaning, and therefore a greater sense of joy, in your life:

1 | Prioritize Health – Eat to Feel Well, Stay Hydrated, and Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Body and mind are interconnected, so the way you treat your body has an impact on your mental health. Choose a balanced diet according to your biochemistry, drink enough water, limit caffeine/alcohol, and get a good night’s sleep. It’s also worth having bloodwork done to ensure you’re not low in critical vitamins and minerals needed for good mental functioning. Always consult your doctor before supplementing to support brain health.

2 | Make Peace with Who you Are and Where You Come From

It’s crucial that, whoever you are, you find a way of accepting yourself as well as where you come from. Holding on to past hardships and unhelpful stories only holds one back from living a fulfilling life in the future. You may need the help of a therapist to do this. Look for a counsellor who you feel comfortable with and connected to, as the quality of your relationship makes a difference in terms of how much you get out of sessions.

3 | Recognize and Let Go of Unhelpful Thoughts & Behaviours

Most of us engage in unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving from time to time. These patterns hurt not only ourselves, but impact our relationships. Mindfulness-based counselling can be a wonderful tool for helping us recognize and challenge our patterns when they arise and transform them into something beneficial. 

4 | Find Empowerment in Your Current Situation

We can’t control which cards we’re dealt with in life, but we can find empowerment in how we respond to them. If you can’t do anything to change your circumstances, use this as an opportunity for personal growth. If you can change your situation, ask what your options are. Explore alternatives, find silver linings, get creative, and think about trying something new.

5 | Cultivate Relationships – Talk & Laugh with Others Every Day

Humans are social creatures. We’re not meant to live in isolation, although so many of us do nowadays. That’s why it’s more important than ever to connect with others as much as we can, whether online or in person. It’s also important that when we do so, we focus on being kind and compassionate. Life is short, so make the most of your time together. Toxic relationships can be more damaging that no relationships. Keep only those around you who lift you up.  

6 | Rethink and Reduce your Online Presence

While technology use is arguably necessary in our world today, it’s helpful to be mindful of how much time we spend on our devices. Many of us complain that we don’t have enough time, yet we manage to use social media for hours in a day. Striking balance between helpful use and over-use of our personal devices frees up space for other meaningful activities, while reducing the unpleasant emotions associated with physical stagnation and mindless scrolling.

7 | Engage in Relaxation Every Day

There’s no need to feel guilty about taking time to read a book, take a bath, or meditate. It’s important to make time for relaxing activities each day, even if for 10 minutes. Activating the relaxation response enhances the quality of our days by triggering our nervous system into parasympathetic mode, which turns off the fight or flight stress response.

8 | Get Moving Outdoors a Few Times Every Week

Exercise is one of the most powerful known antidepressants. Spending time in nature is also known to have health benefits. Combining the two, if possible, is something that I highly recommend. Go for a walk, hike, or run, get on your skies, or hop on your bike. Breathing in the fresh outdoor air, regardless of season (just make sure to dress appropriately!) can bring refreshment and rejuvenation to your day.

9 | Simplify Your Life – Learn to Say No and Minimize Material Possessions

Western society is good at sending the message that bigger is better, and more is not enough. But, people tend to become less happy as they accumulate more things. Minimalism, on the other hand, helps reduce physical and mental clutter, while relieving financial pressure. Likewise, shifting focus to accumulating experiences brings more meaning to life.

10 | Connect With and Act According to Your Values

Be clear about what’s most important to you. What type of person do you want to be? How do you want to live? What type of environment do you want to be in? Who do you want to be surrounded by? How do you want to treat other people? When we’re honest with ourselves about who we are and live according to this, we can live in a more authentic and meaningful way.

If you’d like to chat about how you can bring more meaning into your life, please get in touch.