Joy seems to be the theme of our summer this year. It’s a word we’ve felt to the fullest and even one of the 3 character traits used to describe Emma at camp this past week. We’ve experienced the incredible joy that comes with sneaking away for a family vacation, with time spent doing summer things like swimming and with the opportunity to meet new friends. I’ve personally experienced joy as I’ve made new and deeper friendships and deepened my prayer life with Christ. I’ve experienced joy with my husband as we continue to make an effort to put each other first.
But, joy isn’t always easy to come by. There are days, weeks, or even seasons in our lives where joy seems hard to evoke. It doesn’t come as readily. One of my hardest seasons to seek and feel joy was when I went through postpartum depression after my youngest was born. Since then there have been days or weeks where life felt heavy and experiencing joy didn’t feel easy.
It’s during those times that I started to really focus on small ways, small things I could do to evoke joy in my life. From simple things I could do inside the home like light a candle or take a bath to bigger things like serve someone else. These little ways of evoking joy have helped me so much during tough times and during the best times. So, I thought I would share them here with you in hopes that one might resonate with you!
29 Things You Can Do To Evoke Joy:
- smile at a stranger – you’ll be surprised the joy you feel simply from smiling!
- go on a walk – walking outdoors is a great way to lighten your mood. The sunshine increases your seratonin levels and therefore gives you a mood boost!
- read for 15 min – reading improves your brain connectivity, reduces stress, and is a great way to briefly escape!
- meditate – meditation is a great way to calm your mind and recenter yourself. It’s a great time to reflect on things that bring you joy and things you are thankful for.
- breathing exercises – deep breathing helps to calm your body. It can help you shift from anxious thoughts to joyful thoughts!
- sun salutations – moving through the sun salutations (yoga) helps to circulate your blood flow, boost your energy, and help you calm down. It’s another great way to center yourself and focus your mind on what brings you joy!
- plan a trip- sometimes a change of scenery is just what we need to experience a type of joy we may not feel during our day-to-day routines.
- call/text a friend – speaking with someone who truly knows you will always boost your mood!
- memorize a bible verse – I love going back to the Word and filing my mind with truth of who God is and who I am in him.
- give a hug – much like smiling at someone, giving a hug to someone else will benefit you just as much as them.
- help someone – one of my friends always tells me to help a friend when I’m feeling down. You’ll be surprised how much joy you feel from helping someone else.
- unplug – in a world where we are always “plugged in,” taking time to unplug and experience nature or a good book will do wonders for your mental health!
- focus on the small things – focus on the small things that bring you joy. For me, something as small as lighting a candle brings me immense joy.
- go to bed 30 min earlier – our bodies need rest to function well, so head to bed 30 minutes earlier.
- brain dump – when I feel overburdened, I can always benefit from a “brain dump” – writing out everything in my head. It takes a load off and makes more room for joy and appreciation.
- laugh – laughing can truly be contagious and will instantly shift your mood. Watch a funny television show or hang with a friend and allow yourself to just enjoy and laugh!
- say no to something – if you’re feeling overburdened by your schedule, say no to something and give yourself a chance to do something for you!
- try a new recipe – working through a new recipe requires focus and time and you’ll be shocked how much it can boost your spirits!
- pray for someone – shifting your attention off of you and onto someone else will bring you indescribable joy.
- listen to a song that makes you happy – turn on your favorite tune and feel the music!
- declutter one space in your home – clutter can add to stress, so declutter a space in your home.
- start a vision board– vision boards are great ways to visualize things that bring you joy – traveling, life goals, etc.
- write a letter – writing a letter to a friend or loved one helps you take the focus off yourself. It takes time making you reflect on your writing and the person you are writing to.
- start a journal – journals are great ways to get out of your head, reflect on your life, and remind yourself of all the things you have to be grateful for!
- dance to your favorite song – get up and move! Dancing is a sure fire way to make you feel joyful!
- donate to a charity (even $5!) – donating to a charity is another great way to shift the attention from yourself onto someone else.
- pay it forward – do a good deed for someone else – buy the groceries for the person behind you or bring your neighbor a coffee.
- write out 3 things you like about your body – our bodies are beautiful vessels. Write out 5 things you love about your body; 5 things that bring you joy!
- 5 reasons you are valued/loved – so often we tear ourselves apart. Take time to write out reasons you are loved and valued by yourself and others.