Finding Joy in Life – It’s Not That Hard

Woman Listening to Headphones --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes daily life can seem like drudgery, something to just be tolerated.  When I find myself feeling this way, it is almost always because I have been focusing relentlessly on a problem that overshadows me.  It might be a looming deadline, a bit of family drama, or something of the sort.  It might be nothing definable; I’m just in a rut and forgot to even think about finding joy in life.

Getting back to enjoying life, rather than enduring life, is really quite simple:  look for things that bring you joy.

Sometimes that may take a little effort if you’ve been in a long stretch of colorless and harried days.  You may have forgotten what makes you smile.  Even so, there is probably nothing to buy and nothing complicated to learn in order to bring back those points of joy in your life.  There’s no need to wait – you can start immediately.

Just start paying attention.  What brings a burst of happiness?

Here are some suggestions if you need a bit of nudging for finding joy in life:

  • Pick a flower
  • touch a piece of silk
  • pet your cat
  • listen to your favorite song
  • watch your peacefully sleeping child
  • sip a smooth drink of coffee
  • watch the sun rise
  • bake some cookies
  • breathe in the scent of lavender
  • dance to the music
  • sit on the deck
  • walk barefoot in the sand
  • hug a friend
  • kiss your spouse, slowly and meaningfully
  • walk your dog
  • sing out loud
  • give away a good book
  • read a good book
  • taste a piece of fruit
  • eat a piece of dark chocolate
  • …. what gives you joy? Do it! And again!

Deliberately do at least one thing every day that brings joy and you may be astounded at how happy you can be right here, right now.

What brings you joy or makes you smile?


“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
~Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
~Joseph Campbell





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2 Responses to “Finding Joy in Life – It’s Not That Hard”

  1. Ciara Conlon Says:

    It’s so simple but so difficult at times. Why do we find it so much easier to focus on the negative? I notice it when I play tennis. I hit 10 good shots and 1 bad shot and I focus on the bad shot. When I become more aware of this I can shift my attention to the positive and everything gets better.
    Ciara Conlon recently posted..How to Get your Tasks from Email into EvernoteMy Profile


    Patti Reply:

    10 good shots to 1 bad shot in tennis would be a huge improvement for me! I’d have no trouble focusing on the positive in that case.
    Seriously, though, the brain seems to be programmed to focus on the negative, so as you already discovered, we have to consciously focus on the positive. Dr. Rick Hanson ( is about to release a book on this, Hardwiring Happiness. Sounds like it may be good reading.


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