Five ways to discover joy (regardless of age)
Studies show that experiencing joy in life can do everything from decrease the stress to boosting mental health.
And while it can be easy to associate joy with younger generations as they explore the world, try new things, and celebrate accomplishments, don’t underestimate the significance happiness has for those of any age.
It’s our own responsibility to generate our joy and happiness, so looking inside to determine what engages and fulfils you (while putting a smile on your face) is well worth it.
Finding joy looks different for everyone. Below are five ways to inspire and encourage you to find your own.
1. Expression of self
Reflecting on and revealing the true self through artistic expression is beautiful – both externally and internally.
It helps to manage stress, deal with anxiety and/or depression, and aid with memory, all while connecting to the self and possibly others.
To explore artist expression, try:
- playing a musical instrument
2. Exploration and travel
The ever-changing growth perspective you can get from seeing the world is priceless. Connecting with history, experiencing new cultures and foods, and touring the natural wonders of the world are all ways to seek joy.
Whether a month-long trip to a different country, a day trip to a local landmark, or a television show that tours you around a special city, enjoy what travel offers in broadening your perspective of yourself and the world around you.
3. Caring for others
Giving those in need a helping hand or bringing a smile to someone else’s face is often just as rewarding to you as it is to those receiving the care, and it may even reduce stress and reduce symptoms of depression.
Although time, energy, and resources to care and give look different for everyone, some options to consider are:
- rescuing a pet at an animal sanctuary
- inviting a neighbor over for tea
- making an extra pot of homemade soup for a stressed friend
- donating to an organization or cause
- calling or writing to a distant relative
Include anything else that comes from your heart to help you truly care for other human beings.
4. Learning something new
It’s intimidating to try a new sport or learn an instrument, but the health benefits often outweigh anxieties about learning an unfamiliar activity.
Your brain may thank you with clearer thinking and better memory as you take on a new challenge, so consider such things as:
- Learning a new:
- cuisine to cook
- musical instrument
You could also:
- put together a model or puzzle
- join a book club
- bird watch
5. Watching things grow
There is awe that comes from witnessing the growth and change of something – from a young child to a back garden – and from that awe comes joy.
Enjoy the observation of growth and/or natural movement by:
- watching the sunrise or sunset
- planting a garden
- eating seasonal foods
- being present with children
- viewing a waterfall
Because the experience of joy is different for all of us, make sure to take internal snapshots of the moments you enjoy. Conjuring up these mental images later can bring just as much joy as the moment itself.
It’s okay to give yourself permission to experience joy – it may be essential, even, for your health. Identify what brings you happiness and adapt your life how you can to make it possible. It doesn’t have to perfect. Just joyful.