7 Quick Ways to Add Something Joyful to a Hard Day

Here are quick ways to add something joyful to your day, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing!

I am going to promise you something: you don’t have to change your life to find something joyful in your life.

Life isn’t easy, and heaven knows I am really feeling that right now! In the last year, we moved, my husband started medical school, I lost my job, and we lost our son to a rare genetic disorder. That is just if we forget about our daughter dropping her naps, the car AC going out on a summer road trip, and the anxiety of living off student loans.

Am I happy all the time? No. But, I don’t believe joy is the same as happiness. Joy is trust that your life is for your benefit.

I have found that it becomes so much easier to both be happy and to have that trust when you get out of your head and into your life. Here are seven quick things that help me come back into the moment so I can find something joyful, whatever the circumstance.

You are going to learn all about how to find something joyful, doing something joyful, and how to make something joyful. (You’ll get what that means in a minute 🙂

This post is all about how to add something joyful to your day.

Something Joyful

synonyms for something joyful

1. Enjoy some food

As much as I would love to slowly savor every bite of every meal, that is difficult when you are trying to stop your toddler from throwing food at the dogs! I have yet to meet someone who thinks that being busy improves their eating habits. No, forgetting to eat isn’t a good habit, because it just emphasizes the way we disconnect from our bodies when we are stressed, and this disconnect prevents us from being the most complete, joyful version of ourselves.

It can be amazing what you learn about yourself while eating. I remember stopping to enjoy my food while doing some emotional eating with Cheezeits one time. You know what I learned? I didn’t actually like them! The salt hit was satisfying, but I didn’t actually enjoy the flavor. As you savor a bite, you can enjoy the flavor, but you also might realize you are thirsty, craving something else, or that an emotion needs to be processed more. Eating even just a bite of food thoughtfully can help you feel more in tune with your body.

word for something joyful

2. Soak in the little details of something beautiful

Does anyone else feel like trying to relax just makes you more tense? I have discovered a trick that helps truly relax the mind: pick something near you and observe all the little details. Observe it as closely as if you were trying to write a poem about it, paint it, or describe it as part of a crime scene. (Whatever works for you!) The point is, try to go into dramatic amounts of detail.

There is just one requirement: try to keep your description light. For example, try describing the dirty cabinet as “smudged from happy children.” I find that this exercise works especially in places I’m not supposed to clean! If you are struggling to think of something to describe that doesn’t stress you out, look up and describe the shade of blue the sky is today. Nature is a great place to find some peace and joy.

something that means joyful

3. Relax the muscles in your face and then notice how your face changes as you smile

Close your eyes for a second. Did you notice that? Your face almost instantly relaxes just a little bit. Now try taking it to the next level. Keep your eyes closed and try to release all the muscles in your face. Even let your jaw relax open a bit! Now slowly start to smile like the sloth from Zootopia! If you are doing it slowly enough than you will probably start to feel a little silly and the smile will turn genuine. In fact, it might be hard for you to do it slowly!

This little 1-5 minute exercise is not only a science-backed trick to trick your body into happiness, but it also helps open some space in your mind to accept the optimism that is the root of joy. It’s a funny little trick to help you get a shot of something joyful!

think of something joyful

4. Listen to the buzz around you

Ever feel like you are a piece of debris being tossed around in a crazy hurricane? Yep, my life is chaotic too, and, for most of us, that is probably not changing anytime soon! However, one little shift can help you find a lot more joy in the chaos: instead of being debris in the hurricane, be the eye of the hurricane. Instead of letting life toss you around and beat you up, let be this crazy swirl around you that carves your path.

In a more physical sense though, I want you to try something. Take a deep breath to clear your mind and listen to life swirling around you: that rackety air conditioner, the overtired toddler, the reminders dinging on your phone. Then say thank you. All of this is for you in the best way possible. This crazy chaotic life is knocking things around to carve a path for a version of you that you can’t even imagine.

something very joyful

5. Make the movements of what you are doing graceful like a dance

My husband always gives me a funny look when I say that I enjoy the aesthetic of team sports. No, I do not watch sports for “eye candy”! What I find so visually entrancing is the physical control these athletes have of their bodies. There is a precision and confidence that I admire (and, if I’m honest, somewhat envy!). Yes, each person is trying to help win the game, but, in order to do that, each movement has to be intentional.

As we go through life, sometimes we start to clumsily flop to our next goal. It doesn’t matter how we get there, the point is we got there! However, this exercise forces you to stop and refocus on the journey because how you get there matters! Whatever you are doing, sit up a little taller and pretend you are performing. Adding that little bit of grace to your day can help you feel something joyful about how you journeyed through it, even if your hair is in a messy bun and you are running late.

make something joyful

6. Take a moment to smell

Sometimes I feel like the sense of smell is my least favorite sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love good smells, but I feel like I notice bad ones much more often! It is probably one of our most underrated tools though.

Did you know that the sense of smell is the one most strongly linked to memory? Especially when you are feeling happy, take a moment to acknowledge the smells in the room. Pairing the smell with happy emotions can help you start focusing on those more positive emotions when you are in that space.

doing something joyful

7. Close your eyes and take a breath

Sometimes a strong emotion can knock the wind out of you just as powerfully as a literal punch to the gut. When my son passed away, I felt like this often. I would literally feel like I was trying to choke for air. In those darkest moments of my life, the best thing I could do was close my eyes and force myself to take slow deep breaths. Controlled deep breathing (like box breathing) helps you relax by turning off the stress from the fight-or-flight response. It is hard, if not impossible, to be open to feeling joy when you are stressed.

If you are struggling to feel joy right now, take a moment to take the slowest and deepest breath you possibly can! Even just one will help you be more open to seeing something joyful in your day.

If you would like some more ideas for finding joy and happiness, here are some other posts you might like:

– Why Is Joy so Important? 5 Honest Reasons Why Joy is Worth Your Effort

– 7 Questions to Start Finding Purpose in Life

– 10 Ways to Find More Happiness

This post was all about quick ways to add something joyful to a hard day.

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