Pure joy is kindled within and unique to you — it may just be a matter of knowing where to find it

A woman smiling while playing chess

We’ve seen difficult days recently, and it can be challenging to summon feelings of joy. But pure joy is kindled within and is unique to you — it may just be a matter of knowing where to find it. Perhaps it’s related to finding a higher purpose in your life or having more contact with family and friends. Whatever rejuvenates you, that’s your best place to start.

Consider the following five ways to experience more joy in your life:

1. Find opportunities to serve others.

It feels great to help someone in need or support a cause that has meaning for you. Serving others helps remind you that life is much bigger than the world you experience daily. While certain pandemic restrictions may prevent you from serving in person, there are plenty of ways to help. Here are a few examples: write a note to someone who’s homebound, send flowers to a friend, give your parents a call, or clean up your neighborhood. You can also find ways to volunteer from the safety and security of your own home. Visit DoSomething.org or JustServe.org to find ways you can share your talents or expertise with those in need.

Volunteers with masks are putting food in boxes

2. Practice an attitude of gratitude.

We seldom think about how fortunate we are to have the simple things in life. Expressing gratitude helps us focus on the things that matter most to us. Consider writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day. This task will help you steer your thoughts in a positive direction. Eventually, you’ll see your mood improve, and that will create more space for joy in your life.

3. Stay connected.

Even though you may not be able to make regular visits to those you care about, you can stay connected in other ways. This connection can lift your mood and keep you more positive. Chat over the phone, play a card game with friends on Zoom, or FaceTime with your friends and family members just because. You can even send email updates to family members (especially grandparents) to celebrate accomplishments and share milestones.

A man and a woman are playing tennis

4. Prioritize self-care.

Health and happiness are inextricably linked — you can’t have one without the other. What you eat, how much you sleep, and how often you exercise all matter to your mental well-being. Take a moment each day to meditate, practice yoga, or take a walk. Consider signing up for one of the thousands of at-home workout apps for a variety of daily exercises — or go outside and get some sunshine. Making your health a priority allows you to accomplish more each day and experience more joy while doing it.

5. Try something new.

Lately, you may find you’re doing the same thing over and over again. Why not try something new? It will wake up your senses and stimulate creativity, which can spill over into other areas of your life. Consider learning a new sport or how to train your puppy. Maybe it’s time to start a garden or cook something new and unique every night for a week.

We are responsible for cultivating our own joy — and it comes from within.

Focus on one of these tips each week, and see your joy increase. Trust your feelings and continue to discover what makes you tick. It takes a little work, but small steps in the right direction will put you on the path to greater joy — no matter what state the world is in.