There are days when you can look around and feel down, wondering how to find joy in the current moment. Yet, even in times of worry, there are many things to be happy about.
As a young child, every morning during a school assembly, we used to sing the hymn ‘Morning has broken. Back then, I understood it was a song giving thanks for a brand new day, yet I didn’t understand the importance of being grateful for the small things in life. As a teenager, when I travelled, I saw how much I had to be thankful for.
During my travels, I spent time with children playing football with whatever they could find to kick as a ball, normally a bottle or tin. I saw children playing with tyres and stones and creating games. And I saw children walking for miles just to get water and also many children begging.
Despite knowing that I have many things to be grateful for that people pray for, there are times that I still need to dig deep to find happiness and joy that day. This is part of life. Every day things are happening in my life, my family’s life, work-life, all around me, and I need to choose how to react to them. Below are a few actions I take to help me create joy in my life.
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your actions.Dalai Lama
How to find joy in the now.
Joy is not something you need to find. Joy is something within you which can be activated with actions. Naturally, it takes practice to create moments of happiness. The following 5 ways can help with creating happiness in the present moment.
1. Stop waiting for happiness.
Joy is not something you wait for it is something you create by your actions, by your thoughts, by your feelings. Life is a journey and there are always new things happening in our lives. New friends, new opportunities, a new way of doing things.
Life is happening in the now and the way in which we view it can determine our level of happiness.
What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.Wayne Dyer
2. Visualize your life.
Sometimes it is hard to see past the present to the future. Living in the past or future is not the place to be. Living and appreciating the present is the place to be. However, having life goals and a plan to achieve them helps create a new reality.
There are a few ways I visualize my life. The first is by visualizing my ideal day. Visualize your ideal day is good for your future.
Write a letter to yourself sharing your ideal day and what you are doing, how you feel, and what makes you happy.
When you write about your ideal day, you may be surprised at some of the things you could be doing now in your current day. Also, note how you feel as you write about your ideal day. Are you living in alignment with your core values?
Another way to visualize your future while living in the present is to create a vision board. A vision board helps you focus on the actions you can take towards your goals.
My vision board this year has a focus word, ‘health’. You can see it in this post which also shows you how to make a meaningful Vision board
The greatest secret to happiness and peace is letting every life situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be. Then, make the very best of it.Thibaut
3. Find joy in what you do daily.
Every day find joy in what you do.
‘But… ‘I hear you say. Yes, you may not enjoy your job, you may not like your current home, and there are many things each day that, as people, we are not going to like.
There was a time I really disliked an apartment we were living in. It was small. It was in an unsafe area. People slept rough in the hallways. Yet the little apartment was a roof over our heads that we could afford at that current time. It provided shelter, a place to sleep, a place to cook meals, and a place to be together as a family.
Where are you looking for joy?
A friend once shared with me that she was unhappy in her current job. She can choose to go to work each day and be unhappy or go to work and find joy in what she is doing. My friend decided to write a list of 50 things she was grateful for in her current job.
Grateful for a job it pays the bills.
Appreciate spending time with work colleagues.
Helping someone grow their business.
Learning new skills.
By writing a long list of what she was grateful for, her thoughts changed about her job. She developed new skills, and new opportunities opened up. The one job she struggled to face each day became the stepping stone to a more fulfilling job.
50 things I’m grateful for _______________________________
Fill in the blank with what you seek to find gratitude in. Examples; at work, in my current job, at home, in my relationship, where I live, the world today.
50 things is a lot to come up with, but your list does not need to be completed in one day. The list can be a living list which you add to regularly. There is a list of ideas in the article ‘Creating a Gratitude Jar – A Simple Tool for Joy and Transformation.’
In our lives, change is unavoidable, loss is unavoidable. In the adaptability and ease with which we experience change, lies our happiness and freedom.Buddha
4. Make self-care a habit.
Create time for yourself to enjoy ‘me time’. Time spent with yourself is valuable. It is a way to relax, reenergize and let go of any worries you may have.
‘Me time’ is not a place to take your worries, catch up on emails, or do the laundry that is waiting to be washed. ‘Me time’ is having time to yourself to relax, reenergize, and look after your health. Leave the busyness behind to look after number one, that’s you, for a few moments each day. Find the activities that you enjoy for self-care.
Wondering where to get started?
Here are 25 ways to embrace self-care.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.Dalai Lama
5. Embrace mindfulness.
Mindfulness is one of the best ways I find best to enjoy the present moment. There are many mindfulness techniques, some are easy to learn, and some, like many things, require practice. Mindfulness brings you back to the current moment allowing you to relax, destress and put away any worries you may have.
Many phones or fitness apps today have a breathing function where you can breathe in time with a circle that expands and contracts. Deep breathing for 30 seconds is calming and relaxing. Deep breathing allows you to recentre thoughts and focus on the positive things in life.
2 of the many free apps that assist with destressing via breathing techniques with guided and unguided meditation are;
Headspace. This article from Headspace talks about the importance of taking deep breaths.
Calm. Here are some free resources from calm to help through anxious times and help with taking care of our minds to stay present.
Now back to focusing on the breath. Here’s a simple video that helps.
Mindful walking is when you walk not to be with your thoughts but with nature around you. Listen to the sounds, smell the smells, enjoy the views and feel the air and the ground. There are many things to appreciate, including the beauty and peace of nature.
Mindful breathing and mindful walking are only a few ways of mindfulness. There are many mindfulness methods that can help you find joy in the now.