5 simple tips to find joy every day

We’re all hardwired to feel joy in the world around us, but it’s one of those things that over time, we can forget what makes us happy. Here’s how to focus on it again.
by Ingrid Fetell Lee / / Source: TODAY

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Kids inherently find joy in their everyday lives. They live in the present and celebrate small moments that make them smile or laugh. How can we be more like them?

In my new book "Joyful," I've tackled how ordinary things can bring you extraordinary happiness. While that sounds great in theory, it's tough to practice. Here are a few tips to help you focus on finding more joy in your life.

1. Keep a joy journal.

We’re all hardwired to feel joy in the world around us, but it’s one of those things that can get lost in the shuffle, and over time, we can forget what brings us joy. Keeping a joy journal is an easy way to reconnect with what brings you joy.

Write down whenever you feel a little burst of joy — when you smile or laugh — and pay attention to where you are and what you’re doing when that happens. And this can start to tune you back into the places and things that bring you joy.

2. Add a pop of color to your surroundings.

Bright colors have been shown to have a strong correlation to positive moods and emotions, and yet we often work in places that are drab and gray. Adding a pop of color to your home or your work space — painting your front door a bright color or hanging a vibrant piece of art — can help bring joy to you and others.

3. Bring play into your routine.

As kids we play all the time, but as adults we feel like play is something we’re supposed to grow out of doing. But in fact, play is our most natural route to joy.

Try keeping a ball under your desk or a Frisbee in the car, or even keeping a hula hoop around. Try recreational sports, family game night or setting aside an hour every once in a while to dabble in watercolors. All of these things are simple ways to make play a part of your routine.

4. Get nature to come to you.

Nature is one of our biggest sources of joy, and being in nature actually can quiet the part of the brain that tends to brood over problems. Bring nature indoors with plants and try to spend as much time as possible in natural light. If you’re not near a window, you can still get some of the benefits by adding broad spectrum light bulbs to your lamps.

5. Make a joy list.

A joy list is simply a list of the things you want to do. I like to make mine by season, and list out the things I want to make sure I don’t forget to experience. It’s fall now, so you might include things on your list like carving a pumpkin or going out to look at the fall leaves. Or make a list of all of the places in a city you want to explore. Whenever you have free time or find yourself near one of your destinations, schedule in time for a quick stop.

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