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40 Simple Ways To Practice Joy Every Day

40 Simple Ways To Practice Joy Every Day

Life comes equipped with up’s and down’s that make it hard to stay positive all the time. If you’re feeling down, these forty ways to practice joy might make you feel better.

1. Throw off your work clothes as soon as you get home, replace with comfortable pajamas, snuggle up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn or ice cream, and turn on one of your favorite 80’s movies.

2. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage, trip to a sauna, or full spa treatment.

3. Visit some younger relatives and challenge them to a game of dodge-ball, four square, or hide-and-go-seek.

4. Smile, say hi, (maybe even wink at) every person you see today. Enjoy the reaction. ;)

5. Surprise your mom or dad with a phone call right after work, Ask them to tell you a funny or embarrassing story about their relationship’s early days.

6. Compliment one person whose work you admire on Twitter every day (networking: it doesn’t have to be complicated!).

7. Dress ridiculously nice (for no reason at all).

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8. Look in the mirror and identify something about your body that you find cute, handsome, or attractive.

9. Exercise in a way that gives you joy. Lift, run, dance, jump, swim, play!

10. Breathe deeply. Imagine the things you are thankful for on each inhale. Let go of your upset feelings on each exhale.

11. Walk at the park while listening to nature sounds. This will calm your nerves after a stressful day at work.

12. Visit the library. Ask a librarian what their favorite book is. Read it. Go back and talk about it after you finish.

13. Buy yourself a new outfit that makes you feel confident. Be amazed at the difference in your demeanor.

14. Gaze at the clouds. Quiet your inner-chatter. Try to identify interesting shapes in the sky.

15. Drink a big glass of ice water with chopped fruit added for taste, because you’ll feel much better if you’re hydrated.

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16. Tell a silly joke to a co-worker who looks like they’re having a bad day.

17. Watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, but no one will go with you, because you need to learn how to enjoy yourself without needing the company of another.

18. Find a new restaurant to visit. Ask your waiter or waitress what their favorite dish is. Order it (especially if it is something you’ve never tried before!).

19. Speak to yourself with kind words that lift your spirits. Don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about another person. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated!

20. Throw a party, invite five of your closest friends, ask them to bring a dish or six-pack of beer or bottle of wine, and have a good time together.

21. Go to a kickboxing class. Imagine the things you’re pissed off about while kicking and punching. You’ll feel a lot better when you’re done!

22. Read the book that inspired you the most, highlight your favorite passages, and write them down in your own words. Expressing an author’s most important points in your own words will help you remember it better.

23. Give your dog or cat a new toy and get tickled when you see how excited it makes them. Video their reaction and put it on Facebook or Instagram so your friends can laugh, too.

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24. Talk to a total stranger at the bar. Ask them if they would be willing to tell you a crazy or interesting story. If they are, engage eye contact and actively listen (don’t look at your phone!). Tell them a story, too.

25. Say thank you and really mean it. Make sure to tell them why you appreciate them specifically!

26. Share an interesting article with a networking contact you’ve lost touch with. They will appreciate the thought.

27. Learn a new hobby like knitting, juggling, or ice-sculpting. If you realize you hate it, try a new one. Repeat until you find something you love.

28. Invent a funny song about your day while you’re driving your car. It could be about that delicious sandwich you ate, that gorgeous waitress you met, or whatever is on your mind.

29. Scratch your dog’s chin and forehead. Your pet can’t reach those areas with their paws, so they will love it!

30. Jump into a pool (even if you can only dog-paddle like me), because if you don’t now, you’ll wish you did when summer is over.

31. Stop hanging out with people who don’t appreciate you for who you are. Friends should be upfront and honest, but that doesn’t mean they have to be hateful about it.

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32. Walk barefoot in the grass. Try to perform a cart-wheel. If you fall on your butt, that’s okay — laugh at yourself and enjoy a brief moment with mother nature.

33. Hand-write a poem or love letter, wrap it up with a bow, put it in a nice bag with some bite-sized chocolates, and give it to your partner.

34. Climb a tree as high as you can go. If that’s too hard, hop up to grab a branch, and swing like a monkey for as long as you can hold on.

35. Dig through photo-albums so old that you’ve almost forgot about them. Reminisce about your favorite childhood memories, and get tickled at the blackmail worthy photographs your parents took.

36. Take a few days off work and enjoy a staycation. Go to a nearby theme-park, amusement park, thrill ride; stay in and get absorbed in a good book, movie marathon, creative project; or do whatever you feel led to do.

37. Listen to upbeat music while doing monotonous tasks like folding laundry or fixing breakfast. Dancing like a crazy person makes even the most boring of chores more bearable!

38. Have a pillow fight with your partner. Be more playful with them in general. If you’re lucky, it could lead to something more frisky and fun.

39. Make a silly face at yourself in the mirror. Challenge yourself to see how many different dramatic expressions you can make, all the way across the emotional spectrum. Happy, angry, sad, embarrassed, scared, aroused? There is no limit!

40. Tell us about the ways you practice joy in the comments (and make sure to share this with your friends). :)

Featured photo credit: Joy on the Beach in Cape Cod/Diana Robinson via flickr.com

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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