A joyful day is different for everyone, said Bobbi Anderson, a pain management coach, certified hypnotist and Reiki Master. For her a joyful day is filled with love, calm and peace. But she also finds joy in sadness, disappointment and even chaos.
“Joy is inside and not dependent on outside things.” In other words, it’s a mindset.
For business coach Jeanna Gabellini, joyful days also are about mindset.
For her, joy means feeling that time is abundant, which isn’t about having an open calendar, but, again, a matter of attitude and approach.
It also includes following her inner guidance and doing what feels good instead of what she should. For instance, her to-do list may include following up with promotional partners. Instead, she decides to snuggle with her son and read him a story.
Joy is even possible in the midst of pain. According to Anderson, “Joy can be a very effective diversion to pain. [It] actually decreases its intensity and pushes us in the direction of that pain decreasing.”
She shared the story of a friend’s mother, who struggles with great pain in her back, hips and legs. After her friend and her mom returned from the doctor, she was ready to go through the 30-minute ritual of getting her mom out of the car and into the house.
As they pulled up, her mom realized that her grandkids were visiting. Before her friend could get out of the car, her mom was already in the house. “She was overcome with the joy of being able to see her grandchildren.”
Here are four suggestions from Anderson and Gabellini on cultivating joy.
1. Be intentional about your day.
We can sabotage our joy by not being intentional about our days or letting ourselves get swayed by other people’s shoulds and expectations, said Gabellini, the creator, trainer and coach at MasterPeace Coaching.
We may forget that we’re in control of our feelings, responses and the decisions we make, she said.
She suggested setting an intention for how you’d like to feel, what you’d like to experience or what you’d like to do that day. This way you’re taking the time to decide what you want to focus on instead of “letting circumstances decide for [you].”
Here’s an example: “Today I will feel spacious, in control, powerful, creative and free.”
2. Cultivate gratitude.
“Being grateful is without a doubt the most effective way to cultivate joy,” Anderson said. For instance, as you wake up every morning, and open your eyes, thank God, the universe or whatever higher power you believe in for all the blessings in your life, she said.
Gabellini is grateful for everything from her son’s teachers to her clients to the fitness program she’s doing with friends to the new program she’s launching. (“It’s awesome to pour my creativity into this project and I appreciate all the prosperity I’ll gain as a result.”)
Can’t think of anything? According to Anderson, “begin with the air you breathe and if you have a water supply or a roof over your head, be grateful for that.”
3. Cultivate curiosity.
Get curious about what brings you joy and how you can make your days less stressful. For instance, Gabellini suggested asking yourself: “How much fun can I have? How can I allow this to be easy? Who can help me? What’s the best I can imagine happening?”
4. Give something up.
Letting go of the beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve you can bring joy into your life. What would you like to relinquish?
For instance, Anderson mentioned giving up the need to criticize. Pay attention to when you criticize others.
“Push the pause button and [remember that] when we are critical of something, it directly affects something that we feel is lacking in our own life.” Explore what’s lacking in your life, and instead focus your energy on building that.
Again, joy can look different for everyone. Take the time to discover what joy looks like for you day-to-day.