Have you been losing the ‘joy’ in your life?

Published 7:49 am Saturday, March 24, 2018

According to the dictionary, joy is the emotion brought on by well-being, success or good fortune. When we’re feeling joy, we’re happy and finding good things in our lives.

While measuring joy might seem hard to do, there’s one test you can try. Think about what your initial feelings are when you wake up in the morning. Are they about the joy and excitement the coming day should bring, or are they thoughts of dread and anxiety for all the pressures and responsibilities you’ll have to face? If finding joy is difficult for you to do, it’s time to take action to put some pleasure back into your life.

A first step should be understanding what joy means for you. It’s not the same for everyone. Close your eyes and think about pleasant people, places, things and experiences that have brought you real joy. Joy should come from significant things, not just fleeting gladness because there was less traffic today or that you’re having your favorite dinner tonight.

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Our sense of joy grows from our emotional, physical and mental well-being. There are a number of ways to significantly improve all those.

A starting point is to enjoy your relationships. Look for the things in your family, friends and even your job that are important to you, make you feel good and bring you joy.

And it’s important to look for the positive. Often we focus on the negative, ignoring the numerous little things in our day that make us happy.

It’s also helpful to realize that life is too short to see only negative things or people when there is so much around that can bring you satisfaction. Take time to watch a sunset, to appreciate nature, and to spend a few moments each day meditating on the positive things in your life.

You need to also take care of yourself. Eating right, staying active and getting plenty of rest are all ways to find more of the joy in life. While most days might bring something problematic or stressful, when you make time for yourself to focus on the good in your life, it becomes easier to minimize the stress and tension you may be facing.

Finding the joy in your life is not something that simply happens to you. Your goal, on a daily basis, is to actively seek out the things that bring you joy.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.