In these trying days, one can easily lose sight of joy, hope, and happiness. When the world feels like it’s spiraling out of control and all semblance of normalcy seems to be lost, holding onto positive feelings can be an arduous task.
But things don’t have to be ultimately, insanely terrible for you to feel this way. Any kind of challenging time can make you feel down and blue, resulting in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood-related issues. You can become unproductive, feel demotivated, or lose your “spark.” Why does this happen? What can you do to fix it?
Do you ever notice how some folks always seem to have their chins up, even on the worst of days? It’s a valuable trait, and it’s also one that most people have to learn with time as a skill. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, it’s all about changing your mindset and keeping healthy habits.
It can sound complicated, but the good news is that happiness can be found just about anywhere. Being able to find those moments of positive in a sea of negativity is a rare skill – and one worth honing, for sure! Here are 14 simple ways to find your joy, even in difficult times.
1. Pay Attention To The Little Things
This doesn’t mean to obsess over the small details. Instead, it means to turn your focus onto small little moments that make a day brighter. Look for small things, like:
- The taste of your favorite snack
- A scent you like
- The fit of your best outfit
- The precious private moments you share with a loved one
When you pay attention to and make a note of small things like this, you’ll be able to see the joy in so many places that you previously couldn’t.
It can feel challenging to get moving when you’re dealing with bad times, but a lack of physical activity will only worsen the cycle. Completely ignoring exercise will make you feel more sluggish and tired while also furthering your poor mood.
Simple exercises, even just walking for 12 minutes, can have significant effects on your positive thinking, according to research. Here are some ideas for ways to exercise that are simple and easy:
- Performing yoga
- Skipping rope
3. Stay Grateful
Gratitude can have potent effects on the mind. When you actively seek out things to be thankful for, you’re able to keep a more positive attitude, reducing your risk of developing depressive symptoms, chronic stress, and anxiety-related problems.
Many find that keeping a gratitude journal can help them in these efforts. This involves recording at least three things you’re grateful for every night in a journal. Here are some ideas for something you can be thankful for:
- Waking up on time
- The existence of your favorite things
- Your loved ones
- Having your basic needs met.
- Having a job
- Good weather
- Eating a delicious meal.
- Having an interesting conversation
- Reading a good book
- Watching a good series
4. Do Some Volunteer Work
By making others feel better, you can often make yourself feel better. There’s just something about the act of giving that can put a big smile on your face and show you the joy in life. Studies prove that acts of kindness can lead to higher levels of good mood and wellbeing.
Most importantly, when you volunteer in difficult times, you begin to realize that when you can’t find the good in the world, you can create it by being compassionate to others.
5. Dress Happy
Stuck at home? Have a lot of dull office days? Have a lot of casual clothes you rarely wear? Whatever the case, you can make yourself feel a little better by dressing up in a more exciting way. If the clothes you wear inspire you to feel confident, you’ll feel better, too. Here are some ideas:
- Dress up very fancily for no particular reason
- Get ready in makeup and a cute outfit even when you have no plans for the day
- Try out a new fashion style
- Wear colorful or exciting jewelry with your workwear
- Dress in a silly way and just have fun
6. Set Challenging Goals
If your difficulties are caused by a feeling of monotony and complacency, it may be time to take a good look at your goals and see if they’re still challenging you.
Try to pick new goals that excite you and give you some motivation. Don’t make them unreasonable, of course, but do make them challenging. This will provide you with something to work towards, so you get to improve yourself and your mood at the same time.
7. Don’t Forget Self-Care
Self-care has become a somewhat “basic” term over the years. Despite its buzzword-type popularity, it has plenty of merits. Self-care is incredibly important to wellbeing.
However, more importantly, it has to genuinely be a moment of complete rest. This means that it’s not self-care if you’re watching a show while thinking about how much work you have to do. You have to allow yourself to completely forget about all your commitments for a while.
Some ideas for self-care include:
- Giving yourself a spa day
- Soaking in a bath
- Curling up with a good book
- Eating something you love
8. Find Ways To Laugh
Laughter isn’t just contagious. It’s also influential. Even if you don’t feel like laughing, the act of doing so anyway releases endorphins, which are positive hormones. This is because the body can’t actually discern real laughs from fake laughs, so you get the boost from fake laughter, too.
Laughter can help those around you to laugh, and according to research, it also has other benefits, such as:
- Relieving pain
- Reducing stress
- Improving immunity
Meditation can sound boring, but it has plenty of positive benefits for the body, including:
- The release of feel-good hormones
- The reduction of stress
- The improvement of cardiovascular health
When you meditate, you force your brain and body to be at complete rest for a decent amount of time. You let go of your worries, your anxieties, and your fears, and you focus instead on being present in the current moment. It’s an excellent exercise for better positive thinking and can give you perspective.
10. Be Your Real, Authentic Self
Life can require a lot of performative behavior from the people it hosts. Social media encourages you to only show off your best side. Job interviews require embellishment. You talk up your achievements to your family members to make them proud. It’s a lot to do at once!
Taking a break from all the facades and letting your walls come down is a straightforward but effective way to find joy in your life. Be your real, genuine, authentic self, and the rest will follow.
11. Sing And Dance
Most people sing and dance when they’re happy, so you might not feel like doing either of these things in difficult times. But you should! Singing and dancing both serve as a mild form of exercise. Both activities release positive hormones known as endorphins, giving you a mood boost when you perform either of them.
It’s even better if you can do this in groups, as participating in such activities through groups synchronizes many bodily functions, making for a deeper and more connected feeling. This type of connection can really help to ease the adverse side effects of tough times.
12. Be One With Nature
Nature is breathtaking, and we don’t get to see enough of it thanks to bustling cities and time spent indoors. It’s a real pity because nature is a natural healer. Just spending time in nature by going on walks, exploring wooded areas, and gardening can be great for you. Even if you can’t go on big excursions, spending a bit of time among trees, flowers, or even just grass can help you find some happiness in the dark.
Research has actually indicated that a walk through nature can boost positive thinking much more when compared with a walk through an urban or city area. Those who walked through the landscape also found that they experienced lower rates of anxiety and overall negativity, then went on to do better in productivity, memory-based tasks, and general mood.
13. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial to everyday health. Its restorative properties allow the body to repair itself and get more durable, and a healthy sleep cycle maintains the body’s natural rhythm, allowing you to wake up and sleep comfortably at reasonable times.
This is great for regulating positive thinking and making sure you have the energy you need for everyday tasks. It’s hard to feel joyful when you feel exhausted all the time. Try to:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night
- Wake up and sleep at the same times every day
- Make sure your room is comfortable and conducive to sleep
- Don’t eat, drink caffeine or alcohol, or exercise within 4 hours of bedtime
- Get checked for sleep disorders if something is severely hindering your sleep
Cooking is a fantastic way to make yourself healthy, hearty meals in an inexpensive way that helps fill your time and makes you feel more useful. It’s a productive task that gives you full control over your kitchen, and the rewards come very quickly. If you live with roommates, family or friends, ask if they’d like to help out; the more, the merrier!
If you’re feeling like being extra joyful, consider growing some of your own ingredients, like vegetables and herbs. Even people living in small apartments can help create some of the elements they need for meals later on!
Finding joy in difficult times is undoubtedly more laborious than it sounds, but at the same time. Indeed, it’s a skill that can be sharpened. This means that, eventually, finding that joy will become more comfortable for you, and you’ll be able to share that sense of joy with other people, too.
If you find yourself struggling to find joy in difficult times, seek the comfort of a trusted loved one, or speak to a mental health professional. Talking to others can help you make sense of everything and can encourage you to find more joy.