Being in a “bad mood” really stems from the notion of not having enough joy and love in our lives. Here are five reminders that you’re good enough, and your life is good enough, because you can cultivate more love where it’s lacking and amplify the joy in every day.
“Don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald
We all go through particularly challenging times, and that’s when latent emotions more easily surface. It’s critical when you’re feeling low (and before you even get low) to find simple ways to infuse more love and joy into your daily experiences. By doing so, you’re better able to handle the hidden emotions when they surface, and you’re more likely to burn out the pain with the reserves of love and joy you’ve built up.
As Joseph Campbell said: “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
Here are five easy-to-implement practices that can help you enhance the love and joy that you already have, and invite more love and joy into your life on a consistent basis.
5 Ways to Add More Love and Joy to Your Life
Focus on what you love, and own it.
Spending your days defining yourself by what someone else loves—by focusing on what the masses love because it seems like a good idea—won’t cater to the light inside your heart.
Try new things, explore what you’re curious about, find out what you do just for the pure enjoyment of it, and go down that path. Owning what makes you happy, and making space in your life for it, is one way to stay true to yourself and live a life that feels like it’s your own.
Live your idea of your life. Others might try to steer you in their direction, but what’s right for them may not be right for you, and vice versa. You see life as you are. If you focus on who you are and what speaks to you, you’ll end up living a life that reflects that authenticity.
It might sound too simple, but simple is better. Spending quality time with people, animals, and activities that make you smile is one of the simplest ways to walk down a happier, healthier path.
When you work too much to enjoy your closest relationships, you’re missing out on positive connections that deepen your sense of love in this life. When we get older, we don’t want to regret the connections we were too stressed or busy to make.
Perhaps you need to simplify your lifestyle and make more conscious choices about how you spend your time.
What or who makes you smile? When can’t you help but smile? Don’t make it complicated; the questions are simple and the answers should come naturally. Spend time doing those things that make you smile (going to shows, crafting, playing sports, etc). Schedule time with people who it’s easy to smile around.
When you smile, life immediately gets better. When you prioritize smiling more frequently by strengthening your connections to joyful people and activities, you’ll reap long-lasting rewards.
Respect the moment.
Living in the present moment is another basic notion, one that’s simple and therefore powerfully capable of altering the way our lives play out.
There’s really nothing complicated about learning to pay attention and appreciate the often overlooked moments of life, it’s just that we don’t practice it enough to make it a natural inclination day in and day out. When life is good, enjoy it. When life is hard, don’t run away from it.
Stay hopeful about the future and forgiving with the past, but learn to appreciate what you’re experiencing in the present.
These reads might encourage you to begin some simple mindfulness practices:
- Two beats longer, a super easy mindfulness meditation
- 4 easy ways to stay present
- 5 doable ways to live in the moment
- Repeating this affirmation for awareness
It’s hard (perhaps impossible, as some positive psychologists have noted) to be upset and grateful at the same time. You can cultivate more love and more joy in your life through practicing thankfulness.
Here are a few practices to consider:
- Spend 5 minutes every morning being thankful for all the good in your life. What are the first thoughts that you cling to in the morning–what’s the first thing you say to yourself? Habituate the practice of listing 3 things for which you’re grateful (either on paper or in your head), and why. Maybe don’t even let yourself get out of bed before you do this.
- Replace “sorry” with “thank you.” Every time you’re about to apologize for something, consider how you can transform that apology into thanksgiving. For example, if you’re late to a meeting or party, instead of saying, “I’m sorry I’m late!” say, “Thank you for waiting for me!” This tiny shift can make a huge difference in how you, and the recipients of your thanks, will feel. It’s a win-win.
- Start with an empty jar. Once a day, add a note to the jar with something you’re grateful for that day. On New Year’s Eve, you can empty the jar and read about all your thankful moments throughout the year. This is similar to the idea of a happiness jar.
Write 10 positive feelings about your life.
This exercise can help shift your thoughts and emotions to a more positive state. I know it can be difficult to write positive feelings about how life is when it’s not everything you wanted it to be. Yet focusing on what’s good in life helps neutralize any negative emotions you’re harboring.
Pay attention to your feelings while you’re doing this exercise. Where is there resistance? If it’s hard to see your life, or yourself, in a positive light, remember that you’re not alone. I struggle with these feelings all the time, which is why this blog exists.
If you need a little help, here are:
- 38 reminders that life is good
- 35 reasons life is beautiful
- Words of encouragement from your highest self
- Words of affirmation to ward off the stress
- Which of these practices might you want to try?
- Do you do any of these things already?
- What connections, activities, and habits help you experience more love and joy?
Please share your positive practices, helpful insights, lessons in love, happy thoughts, and any stories with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who is worthy of more love and happiness in their life.
Your life is a work in progress.
Free pattern by Lisa Glanz; lettering by Aim Happy.