There are so many adages and different quotes about how we are responsible for our own happiness — that we have to find it within, we will never find it from somewhere without.

Joy does not always come naturally, especially not in today’s fast-paced world that has us pulled in so many different directions at once.

This can really be a barrier to our own joy, but there are ways to find joy in the everyday.

Happy people will tell you that, at first, you have to make an effort to always “look at the bright side” or find joy even in the darkest of occasions.

But take a look at their lives and tell me it isn’t worth it.

Those people we know who always have a smile on their face, a kind word to share, or a helping hand are those we should most try to emulate.

It’s a scary and often unhappy world, take some time to cultivate these tips at how to choose joy — every day.

1. Get Enough Sleep

While this is common sense, there is much evidence that shows that not getting enough sleep is, in fact, a barrier to happiness.

Sleep is when our bodies unwind and recharge. Not getting enough sleep often means we are running at a chemical deficit — we do not get enough sleep for our brain and body chemistry to be fully recharged.

This literally stands in the way of choosing joy.

When you are exhausted, stress chemicals are released, and the brain chemicals associated with happiness run at lower than optimal levels. This actually works against our happiness, making it more difficult for us.

When we are properly rested, our bodies are better able to handle the stresses of daily life and allow us a clear head for positive thinking.

2. Time to Unwind

We are all busy, that is just a fact of modern life. Many of us are juggling family and work obligations, and oftentimes, we feel like we are losing the proverbial battle with time.

Even though it can seem difficult, especially when there is always something else productive that can be done, it is important to make time for a bit of relaxation.

Whether you read a book, mediate, practice positive visualization, find inspiration via quotes, or even cook a fancy meal, these are activities that engage your senses and can allow your mind a much needed break.

When we can focus our conscious thought on some activity, even something mundane like making dinner, we are actually clearing our minds and becoming present in the now.

It is almost impossible not to feel joy when you are in the moment. The present is all we have and when we can stop and experience that, even for just a few minutes, it can have a significant effect on our wellbeing.

3. Music!

It’s good to let loose and music does things to the brain that we are only now beginning to understand.

Whether you like music that makes you dance, relax, or sing, taking the time to immerse yourself in a song or two from your favorite band is a great way to steal a little joy, even from the most awful day.

How can you be unhappy dancing around your home, joyfully, to your favorite song?

4. Keep Your House in Order

External clutter can lead to internal clutter. This does not mean that our homes need to be pristine all the time, but taking a few minutes each day to pick up and do a few chores can really improve your feelings of happiness and joy.

Just a few minutes will make all the difference. Not only are you getting something done, you are getting a bit of activity, and when the day is done, you won’t have to look around a messy and unorganized house.

5. Actively Choose to See the Positive Over the Negative

All situations can be seen as positive or negative — it all depends on our perspective and how we want to look at the situation.

Every situation has a “bright side” or “silver lining” if we choose to see it.

Conversely, every situation has a negative aspect if that is what you choose to look for.

We have a choice in what gets precedent in our minds, what are you going to choose

6. Be Grateful

Just like there is always a pro or con, depending on what you are looking for, there is also the opportunity to be thankful or bitter.

Taking time to be thankful and grateful for the small, kind things people do, or taking a minute to express your gratitude in a kind gesture yourself, cultivates joy in not only yourself, but those around you too.

7. Say Sorry and Accept Apologies

Taking responsibility when you do something wrong and forgiving others when they make mistakes is one of the things that pretty much all happy people learn how to do.

When we carry old negative feelings around with us, we are actually carrying around useless bit of excess negativity.

When we say we are sorry, or accept someone’s apology, we take control of our life and choose love and forgiveness over pettiness and conflict.

8. Banish Negative Thoughts

We have a choice in what gets time in our heads and hearts. It can be difficult, but banishing negative thoughts is a wonderful way to choose joy and lead a happier life.

We can chose what to focus on.

We can eliminate bad thoughts as they come into our heads with conscious effort.

Learning different ways to banish negative thoughts will be one of the most powerful tools you have in your efforts to choose joy.

9. Meaningful Experience Matters

Remember, life is about quality not quantity.

This might seem pretty obvious, but it is something that most of us need to be regularly reminded of.

Even if we do not have much — financially speaking — this does not mean that we cannot have a rich life full of important experiences.

There’s the old adage that “you can’t take it with you.” This really applies here.

Stuff is just material pleasure, experiences of love, friendship, learning, and bonding, these are the things that enrich our lives and keep us going.

Joy and happiness are things that, as sad as it is, we have to make an effort to cultivate.

There are so many distractions and time-wasters that it is easy to find that most of our life has been spent on autopilot, looking outside for ways to be happy, calm, and content.

This has to come from within.

If we cultivate joy, as well as gratitude and forgiveness, if we take care of our minds and bodies, we are much better to ourselves and those who spend their lives with us.

Over time, we begin to choose joy naturally, and that is when you know that you have won the proverbial battle against joy and happiness.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Fusion Model, where she has a number of guided meditations to help you live your best life.

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