Find Joy in UnJoyful times

8 Ways to focus on Joy when Things Don’t Look Joyful

I love this time of the year, but I know that not everyone is feeling joyful during this unjoyful time. Let’s talk about some ways that we can make room for joy in our lives.

Everyone is a little kinder to each other and is more generous (thus all the end-of-the-year non-profit appeals). At this time of the year, many people feel very joyous and grateful and feel an abundance of love.  

But this is only the case for some. In many parts of the United States, the sun sets earlier, leaving us in the dark longer, and the days are shorter. For many people, they feel depressed with the change of time. 

For other people, the time leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas is difficult for those who have lost loved ones. They feel the loss of their loved ones since they will not be at the table and participating in family traditions. 

There are many other people who feel heavy because they are emphatic about the wars happening around the world. The Ukraine war lingers on, and people are not supporting them, and now the war in Israel and the Gaza Strip.   

Here in the United States, we are feeling the aftermath as three Palestine men were shot, and Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise.  

Many people feel guilty about feeling joy and laughing when all of this is happening around us, but remember, joy is a tenant in almost every faith, so if you are spiritual in any way, you are obligated to spread joy around the world. 

Are you struggling to find, sustain, and share your joy? Here are some eight tips: 

 • Be! Live in the present moment, and don’t let the past drag you down or the future paralyze you. 

 • Stay connected! Your friendships and family will uplift and inspire you, so put some effort into interacting with others. Write notes and letters. Make phone calls to stay in touch. 

 • Spent time in nature. Walk. Garden. Sit on a bench. Enjoy the change of seasons. Spend time outdoors. See the beauty in nature

 • Exercise. Exercise reduces stress, helps us to process grief, gets us out of our heads and into our bodies, and allows us to sleep better and stay healthy.

 • Serve others. Find a cause that is meaningful for you. Maybe it is taking care of doggies and kitties, maybe it is holding ICU infants, or perhaps it is feeding people experiencing homelessness. When caring for others, focusing on what is missing in your life is hard.

 • Expand your mind. Travel, Study, and Learn. Stretch your mind. Exercise your brain. Read interesting books. Exercise your brain.

 • Refrain from an overload of negative news. Most media focus on the ‘bad’ news because it sells, so turn off media notifications.  

Practice generosity. Generosity and joy are inseparable. The happiest people are often the most generous, while the most miserable are often greedy and self-centered. Give, and you will receive.

Make room for joy, especially during this challenging time for our world. If you need help finding some joy, schedule a time to chat with me, and let’s see if we can make some room for joy in your life.

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