All around the world, people are in search of joy.
Whether they are following the popular decluttering craze that requires them to question whether objects spark joy for them or reading the latest self-help book on happiness, the goal is the same: Joy.
Even government leaders are recognizing the importance of joy and happiness in our lives. In fact, all 193 countries that are members of the United Nations agree on this fact so much that they created the International Day of Happiness and adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority in healthy communities.
So how do we get more joy in our lives? For most of us, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or require any drastic changes in our circumstances.
In fact, just a mindful 10 minutes of focus in your day can spark so much joy. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Get grateful
Gratitude makes us happy. The effort of simply focusing on good things each day can be a powerful shift in how you experience your entire day.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a happiness jar. Oprah keeps a digital running list of daily things she’s grateful for. The Five Minute Journal is one well-known option among over tens of thousands of gratitude journals for sale online.
But you don’t have to get a fancy journal or jar to start feeling grateful. Just grab a scrap of paper and something to write with, number a list 1-5, and write down the first five things you appreciate—people, experiences, things. Get specific. Little moments of beauty and happiness in life are worth celebrating.
When you’re finished, tape that scrap of paper to your mirror, bulletin board, fridge, computer monitor—somewhere to remind you throughout the day. Tomorrow, grab another scrap of paper, list 1-5 and repeat.
2. Get moving
We’re not talking about a big exercise routine here. We’re talking about moving your body, taking deep breaths, and enjoying the experience.
It could be a 10-minute walk in the park, a sprint to the end of the block or parking at the far end of the lot. Weather not cooperative? Pull up a fun dance instruction video online, like this 10 minute disco funk class. You can even do little stretches with various fitness apps.
But it doesn’t have to be exercise—just move your body. Enjoy your body. Get those endorphins going and those deep breaths and stretches happening and see what a little movement does to shift your mood.
3. Get generous
Whether you’re being generous with your time, your money or even your compliments, science has shown that giving to others brings us joy.
Maybe it’s an encouraging message on a sticky-note left onto a coworker’s desk. Maybe it’s grabbing a $4 handful of flowers for a relative on the way to their house. Maybe it’s cleaning your friend’s house while she’s in the hospital or delivering a gift pack of their favorite products.
Whatever generous act you can share, don’t limit to just charitable giving. Generosity with our money isn’t the only way to develop a generous spirit and more joy in the process.
4. Get connected—in real life
We’re always “connected” these days thanks to technology but no matter how many online “friends” you may have, it’s the real-world friends that make a difference to your wellbeing.
Don’t forget to regularly get offline and make time for face-to-face time with friends and family. Grab a coffee and meet at a park, make plans for dinner or deliver a bag of oranges to a sick friend.
Connections with people are key to connecting with joy!
5. Get hydrated
Walk to the sink, right now, and pour yourself a big 20-ounce glass of water. Add a couple ice cubes, a few slices of cucumber or your favorite mix-ins and guzzle that energizing elixir like your life depends on it—because it does.
In addition to preventing life-threatening dehydration, water brings us numerous other benefits, including restoring joy. No, really: Even mild dehydration affects your mood, lowering your energy levels and making you irritable. So, drink up!
See, it doesn’t take big shifts in your life to make a big difference. From a simple glass of water to a gratitude list, to a conversation with a friend: It really is the little things that bring us joy.