Want to improve your health? Learn to find joy in everyday life
By Pamyna Bourgeois, M.A. Registered Psychotherapist
Thousands of studies have shown that improving your joy and happiness can directly improve your physical health. That’s right. Those who are full of joy are less likely to get sick.
So what is joy? And how can you find more in everyday life? Read on to learn more!
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Joy is defined as a feeling of extreme gladness, delight or exaltation of the spirit that arises from a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Joy is associated with an increase in energy, confidence and self-esteem.
What are some ways we can access joy in day-to-day life?
1. Start by appreciating the small things.
Remember your last walk in a forest. Feel your feet sink into the soft earth and the sun on your skin. Hear the birds chirping and the soft rustling of leaves. Ah, joy. We often forget to get intentional with simple things such as taking a walk, but doing so can bring us a sense of well-being and elevate our feeling of joy. Next time you find yourself engaging in a simple yet enjoyable activity, ask yourself how you can be more intentional and really take it all in.
2. Laugh more
As adults, we tend to get preoccupied with life and forget that we can laugh, be silly and not take everything so seriously! Research says laughing reduces stress, enhances immunity, improves blood flow, and can move us toward fulfilling relationships. Don’t underestimate putting on a good comedy or getting together with friends who remind you not to take things too seriously.
3. Practice creativity
Carve out a few times a week to focus on creativity. Make it simple: try a new recipe, take an art class with your kids, journal, or dance around your living room! Next time you feel bogged down by all your commitments, shift that energy towards something creative and see how this lightens up your day and brings you closer to joy.
4. Ask yourself what you really want
It's easy to get into the habit of thinking about everyone before ourselves. But this can leave us exhausted, resentful and not connected to the people we love. Ask yourself questions like “What is true for my authentic self?” or “How would my future self thank me?”. Questions like this give us time to reflect and move more into a deliberate, responsive mode instead of an automatic reaction mode. With consistent, small efforts like these, true authenticity can be realized.
5. Help someone
Get out of your own head. Volunteer for a cause that speaks to you. Check in on an old friend or relative. Hold a door. Pay a compliment to a stranger. Mentor someone who could greatly benefit from your support.
6. Try something new
Research shows that stepping out of our comfort zone can be scary but so rewarding and can spark many moments of joy. Yup, we need to move away from safety and security sometimes and take risks by trying new things. It could be sky-diving or moving to a new country, but it doesn’t have to be! You can do something as simple as trying a new food, book, or workout routine with an open mind. Grab your journal and write out some things you’ve always wanted to try- big or small and start crossing them off!
To learn more about how to support your mental health and mindset shifts, book your virtual appointment with our registered psychotherapist: drkristylewis.ca