So earlier today, I was sitting in the salt bed at my favorite local spa, thinking about what messages I need to put out into the world this week.
And the idea of joy kept popping into my head.
One of my favorite coaching tools is called the Circle of Life – it’s a fabulous resource that allows you to get a clear picture of which areas in your life are fabulous, and which ones need a little more TLC. Wanna know more about that? Grab your Circle of Life worksheet over here.
So anyway, one of those areas on the Circle of Life is joy. When that word popped into my head, I started reflecting on what that words means to me – to my tribe.
Joy feels kind of like the lifeblood of our days. It’s an incredible gift, and can turn around even the shittiest of days. But for way too many of us, joy feels like an incredibly precious resource – something that’s so rare that we have to cling to it when it comes.
And with that in mind, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to add more joy into their lives. You feel me? This precious resource isn’t something that becomes less epic the more we have it. And the most epic thing: it doesn’t have to be hard to add more joy to your every day.
There are so many ways you can add more light, laughter, and love to your life – those vary a little bit for all of us, so it’s definitely worthwhile to think about the activities, people, places and experiences that light your soul on fire. But in the meantime, I put together a list of my go-to joyful activities for y’all. Because joy makes life’s good times brighter, and the hard time more bearable.
Meditate. In my ideal world, I want everyone to meditate every single day. Twice a day is really good. But I’m also realistic, and to be honest with you guys, I don’t even meditate every day. It’s always my aim, but I’m on my journey too, and sometimes my dark days get a little too dark and I miss my time in stillness. And that’s okay – I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. Instead, I forgive myself, give myself some grace and decide to try again the next day (or in that moment!). It’s so damn liberating to forgive yourself instead of letting your ego call you a lazy slacker loser failure – or whatever it’s favorite insults are. Need help knowing where to start with meditation? Shoot me an email to grab some free guided meditations, or head over to this post to read about my take on meditation.
Affirmations. Affirmations are short, positive statements that represent the way you want to feel about yourself and be. I love reflecting on what my core desired feelings are around a particular goal, then just free write about those feelings. From there, look at the phrases or words that you really feel in your heart – those are your affirmations. So if one of your goals is to heal your relationship with yourself and stop negative self talk, you could use affirmations like “I decide that I am enough,” or “I am so proud of the way I live my life and spend my days.” If you’re trying to work on your relationship with food and stop emotional eating, you could use the affirmation “I love my body, and I eat from a place of love and nourishment,” or “I am so able to cope with stress in a way that supports my body and my health.” I love the affirmations from Denise Duffield-Thomas’s manifestation course and basically everything Amanda Frances does, if you want to look for more inspiration.
Get outside. Fresh air, sunshine, trees, wind on your face, running water… the outdoors offers so many gorgeous ways to unwind and get a little outside yourself. Even taking 5-10 minutes outdoors to enjoy the sensations of nature can bring some light to your day. If you’re somewhere where the weather is nasty, you can always pull up some ambient sounds - there are so many videos on YouTube or apps to use. Sometimes when I’m working indoors, I’ll turn on my Calm meditation app and just let the ambient noises play in the background.
Smile. There is serious magic in a smile. Seriously, its power is backed by numerous scientific studies – check out this TED talk to learn more. How much you smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live, and has a positive effect on your overall wellbeing. And, when you’re just out and about smiling, you’ll make other people smile. Even a fake smile counts - try it! Next time you’re pissed, stressed, anxious or sad, smile. Hold it for 30 seconds. It’ll likely feel weird, but if you hold it long enough, the smile will start to make you feel better, and me even turn into a real smile and some laughter.
Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. We all know that paying it forward or helping out others makes us feel good, but how often do we incorporate those actions into our daily lives? For most of us, not that often. It’s so easy to forget, but also so easy to do. So next time you’re at the coffee shop, buy the person behind you their coffee, as well. Other random acts of kindness are totally epic, too!
Enjoy a spa day. Most of my friends, mentors, teachers, bosses, co-workers (when I worked a corporate gig), and family members have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends. Which eventually means they get burned the fuck out. I’m sure you’ve been there - that place when it feels impossible to drag yourself out of bed to face another day. When you’re tired and surly no matter how much you’ve slept. It’s not fun. And so, consider this your invitation, or even your homework assignment, to take a night off this week and take care of yourself. If you’ve got the resources, treat yourself to a massage and facial at a local spa. Or, if that’s not in the cards, whip up a face mask, slather some coconut oil in your hair, dry brush your bod and take a hot bath or shower. Then use some delicious smelling lotion or body oil, curl up with a cup or tea or glass of wine and read an awesome book. Cranking the tunes and adding impromptu dancing optional, but encouraged. Sounds good, no?
Practice yoga. For any of y’all who don’t know this, I’m a yoga teacher, and as such am a HUGE believer in the transformational power of physical movement. Yoga teaches us to value stillness, to find the balance between effort and ease, strength and flexibility, striving and surrender. Those are the lessons of life. And, anyone who’s gotten to svasana in a yoga class can tell you that the yoga bliss is real, and everything just seems a bit brighter after a good class. Want to try a practice at home? Grab my one day detox guide, which comes with a 25-minute yoga flow. It’s free for a limited time!
Write yourself a love letter. Ohhh friend, this one is so good. But be warned, it can be really challenging. Writing yourself a letter that talks about and describes all of the things you love about yourself – your dimples or freckles or eyes or butt, your laugh, your intelligence, your compassion, you creativity, whatever it may be – has a tendency to bring up lots of negative self talk and limiting beliefs. You may start to say ‘oh but I have cellulite on my butt,’ or ‘who am I to brag about myself like this? I’m not special, plenty of people are better than me…’ That’s your chance to rewrite those stories and decide to live like you love yourself. Live the things you love about yourself. This is a great one to return to every year, so you can celebrate new accomplishments and changes and wins from your year.
Say ‘I love you’ to yourself in the mirror. Another one that may be surprisingly difficult: stand in the mirror and tell yourself ‘I love you.’ Bonus points if you add your name, and throw in some of those epic affirmations from your journal. If you’re really ready to up your joy, add this to your morning routine. When you’re getting ready for the day, tell yourself that you love you, and see how you feel after a week.
10. Read a good book. When the real world feels very bleak (and hey, it happens to the best of us), it can be so, so good to get lost in the pages of a book. Reading a new book or returning to an old favorite are both great for adding some joy. I love re-reading any of the Harry Potter books when I’m feeling down, and The Untethered Soul is an amazing one in the personal development realm.
If you start using these tools regularly, you’ll find yourself feeling happier, more grounded and better able to handle life’s daily stressors with more ease and calm.
Want some support figuring out how to add these into your life, or accountability to turn these from one-off activities into habits? Join my private FB group, the Well Soul Collective, and let us know what you’re working on so we can help.