How to Experience More Joy
Updated: Oct 19
Joy is a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. There may be big moments or seasons of joy in our lives - love those! But what is most common, and what I want to focus on here are moments of joy.
Currently, the thing that sucks the most joy out of my life is stress. I’m sure many of you can relate. Stress is a major threat to your health, affecting your mood, body and behavior. In my life, prolonged stress brought on anxiety, chest pain, difficult breathing, heartburn, imbalanced hormones - mainly cortisol, depletion in minerals, exhaustion and more. Can you see why I might want a way to avoid stress?
As I write this, the holiday season is upon us and I know stress will be a reality for many of us. We can do lots of things to manage and mitigate stress. I’ll share one of my favorites.
A tip that I learned from a friend, Louisa Dykstra, is to have a list of things that you can do at a moment’s notice to bring you back to a place of joy. I’ll link her book “Joy Revolution” for you where she explains lots of research showing the positive power of joy in our lives. But for me, I just simply need to know that it makes me feel better. Truly, that alone makes joy worth pursuing.
Here are some of my joy-bringers! I’d love to hear about some of yours.
A hug from my husband or kids.
Seeing the sunrise or sunset.
Listening to worship music.
Recounting the goodness of God.
Feeling the sun on my face.
A brisk walk.
Beautiful scenery. (photos work)
Listening to classical music.
A special drink.
Listening to or reading Scripture.
Making a mental list of God’s attributes.
Why do we lack joy?
Sometimes joy is suppressed by momentary struggle. I sat down to write this article about joy after checking through our family chore chart for the week and realizing that there were several things my kids did not do at all last week. And that’s after correcting them several times over the week for not doing some things well. Now I learn that they just did not do some things at all. I felt frustrated and realized I have some character training to do. I didn’t exactly sit down feeling joy. And I immediately knew I needed to practice a joy-bringer. Today it was some big deep breaths to release tension in my body.
Sometimes joy is suppressed by a deeper grief or even depression*. Loss, change, relationships, jobs and health problems are all things that can cause grief in our lives. The important thing to know about grief and joy is that joy doesn’t negate grief. You can actually still have some joy in a season of grief. In fact, your joy-bringers might just be what bring you through.
Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy.” God has made a way for us to be with him and with him is fullness of joy.
John 10:10 says, “The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so they would have life, and have it abundantly.”
I love that the heart of God wants an abundant, joy-filled life for us. I’m thankful that over the years, the Lord has taught me more about finding and choosing moments of joy in my life. I hope you know this is God’s heart for you and that you make your list of joy-bringers today!
*Please seek professional help if you struggle with depression and need help.
This is not intended to be medical advice. If you have questions about your health, please speak with your doctor (or better yet, multiple practitioners)!