20 Simple Ways to Create Joy Every Day
The final question I ask every guest on the Chasing Joy Podcast is “what is something that’s bringing you joy lately?” The answers always leave me beaming as we close out the show. The most wonderful part is the answers are never crazy, elaborate or expensive. The things that bring most people joy are often the smallest pleasures.
A couple weeks ago, someone in the Joy Squad (the private Facebook group for readers and podcast listeners) mentioned they had fallen into a rut and didn’t know what was bringing them joy. I loved and so appreciated the realness and honesty in that post because I know for a fact she’s not the only one out there who is struggling to spark joy in her life. I was there myself for years and for a long time, I didn’t even realize it. As someone who easily falls into a routine, I can go for months on autopilot without recognizing that I’m not happy.
Her post has had me thinking for weeks about the big and small ways that myself and the joyful folks around me, spark joy in their life on a regular basis. So today I’ve compiled X simple ways to spark joy. Most of these are free and things you can do on a daily basis.
What I love about joy is that it attracts more of what you love and desire into your life. You might be in a place where it’s hard to fathom feeling better, and I totally get that. The only thing I’d ask is for you to start small and trust that momentum will build. Hope and gratitude may sound simple, but those two forces can bring about so much powerful change. I hope these ideas spark some joy, hope, and gratitude for you.
I hope you find ways to be joyful on the reg even amidst the unavoidable challenges that will happen in your life. Being able to create joy when you need it is something you’ll be able to use your entire life.
In my humble opinion, the act of appreciating is one of the most powerful tools for turning your mindset around. (it also has the power to turn a good day into an amazing day.) It’s free. You can do it anywhere. For a second, for an hour.
You can appreciate the delicious coffee you’re drinking, the amazing people in your life, where you live, your safety, your dog, the sun shining, how good it feels to go for a walk, you get the point, it’s your life, appreciate the crap out of it. Bonus points if you speak your appreciation aloud. Being that person in a group who’s excited and grateful is totally magnetic.
This is my personal favorite. Seriously. If I’m having a tough day, using my hands to create something is a guaranteed way to make me feel better. Sometimes I share that with the interwebs, one of my friends or Chris and sometimes I make stuff just for the pleasure of creation. Fun fact: what you make doesn’t have to even be that good! The process of making it can be just fun, a little challenging and rewarding in itself, don’t get hung up on being “good at it.” In the converse, I feel myself getting restless and creatively cramped if I’m not making anything for too long.
Learn a new skill
We are put on this planet to expand and grow as humans. Stagnation can be one of most frustrating and joy sucking feelings. Whether you’re learning a new skill that can help you with your career, relationships, health, or just learning for the pleasure of growth it’s all good. You can go as simple as reading an interesting book in an area you’d like to grow or dive into a class to get that student experience. Totes up to you. I promise you’ll feel like a brainy badass.
Connect with your people
As an introvert, I sometimes forget just how amazingly life-giving spending time with people can be. After a coffee date with a girlfriend, a walk with my mom, a family gathering or a date with my fiancé I feel like my insides have been given a big hug. I mean, what is life if not for relationships? Make it a goal to connect with someone who lifts you up in some way at least once a week. Let the joy ensue!
Cultivate a Hobby
Folks with hobbies are more plan and simple more interesting happy humans. I know side hustles are all the rage right now, but your hobby doesn’t have to be anything more than something that brings you joy. Maybe it’s hiking, weight lifting, knitting, painting, reading, cooking, ice fishing, building model trains…. you get it… it doesn’t matter, just cultivate it! It’s nice to have a mix of hobbies that are social and independent. That way you can spark joy in multiple many ways. It’s a joy fiesta over here!
Funny how a little nature can go a LONG way in the whole “feeling good” department. Fresh air, movement, a lil sunshine, so simple, so powerful. You don’t have to become an “outdoorsy person” to reap the benefits of just getting outside on the regular.
Listen to music
Damn is this one powerful. Ever hear a sad Adele song and want to cry over the long-lost lover you never had? *me every time* It works in the other direction too. Finding music that lifts you up, or even that can just connect and relate to the emotion you’re feeling and want to feel is amazing. It’s a kind of communication that just hits the soul. I’m one of those crazies you’ll see JAMMING in their car because it makes me feel so good.
Meet someone new
Guys, I’m super awk so meeting new people is a real effort. However, when I do it I feel really great. Back to that whole “the universe is expanding and so are we as humans” thing, I think meeting new people help you expand. Every person has a full life and so many cool stories. You may not be BFFs but just hearing a new perspective and connecting with a new human is totally rad and will probably either bring you lots of joy or at least help you practice those meeting new people skills.
Go on an adventure (big or small)
Whether it’s going to a new coffee shop in the next town (or block) over or taking a trip to a new country adventure is everywhere. Having a spirit of adventure can help you find joy and newness in your everyday life too. No need to drop everything and become a travel blogger. Anyone who says they’ve found out every cool place in their town is a total liar. Try a new adventure once a week and see how your world opens up.
Reach out to an old friend
So uhhh yeah I’m the WORST long distance friend ever. So I feel majorly good when I get my act together and just text my friends from college to say hi and just let them know I miss them and am thinking about them. It’s a major mood lift for me and I have a hunch you’ll feel the same.
Everyone can find a cause they believe in. Really. Zero excuses on this one. Once you connect to that thing see if there’s a local chapter or aspect that you can donate your time (or resources) to. All I can say is I’ve never heard of anyone who’s felt worse after volunteering…
Observe your environment
Ever get stuck in your own head (me, all the time.) Sometimes when I want to feel better I just focus on all the things that aren’t me or my life. People watching, smelling the air, listening to what’s going on, seeing how cool the light looks when it hits a window. The simple act of observing our environment is a fun way to remind you that your life and problems feel big on the inside but are just a lil puzzle piece to this amazing world we’re in. Time feels so much richer when we can notice what’s going on.
Play with a dog (or cat, or hedgehog or whatever animal you can)
Dogs are physical manifestations of joy. I know they can be a HANDFUL to take care of but damn do they remind you how to be happy in the moment. I’m happy literally just thinking about dogs.
Do something you’re afraid of
Want a serious joy hit and confidence booster? Think about something you’ve been afraid to do (not like, eat a spider but like, asking for a raise or going to a new workout class you’re nervous about) and just go for it. It will probably feel kind of awkward in the moment and you might think you’re crazy for doing it, but after you’ll feel pretty invincible, talk about a joyful feeling.
Move in a way that feels amazing
I’ve kind of ditched the word “exercise” from my vocab because it feels so forced. Instead, movement feels like a flippin’ celebration. Think about how your body would like to move today. Maybe it’s a bike ride, a walk, a run, a fun workout class with that cutie instructor, a lil sexy time, some yoga… no rules, just feelin’ good.
Leave a big ass tip
I’m not saying to spend your last dime or anything but I can tell you it feels really wonderful to leave a big ‘ol tip once and a while. I’m a believer that money is just another source of energy. Before you roll your eyes just try it. Maybe at a coffee shop leave 2 bucks instead of the change and watch your day magically unfold.
Pick or buy fresh flowers
It’s hard not to be happy with a bunch of fresh flowers. Get an amazing bouquet from a florist, snag some beauties at the grocery store or just pick some wildflowers if you can find ‘em.
Smell something amazing
Candles, essential oils, fresh air, fresh fruit, your bae, doesn’t matter what your sent source is, just find it and sniff it! For me, smells can seriously put me in such a better mood whether I’m trying to relax or feel invigorated or get in the mood 😉
Find something that makes you laugh (and watch/listen to it often)
Ok, so laughter is definitely not the best medicine in all medical cases, however, it is a great soul medicine. I think it’s a powerful thing to know your sense of humor and fill your life with things that tickle that fancy. For me, I’m only an Office episode away from feeling better 99% of the time.
That human touch
Hugs, high fives, kisses, back rubs, other rubs 😉 whatever it is, with whoever (consensually) it is, I have a good feeling it will lift you up. Especially if physical touch is one of your 5 love languages.
Share the Joy
Give it a Shot
I hope you try one or three or 16 of these tools to create a little joy in your daily life. If you do please let me know either on this post or message me on Instagram @inti4thelongrunblog