How to Create More Space for Joy

Spoiler alert: 2020 was not the year we thought it would be. For some, it’s been better but for most, it’s been challenging. If you’re having a harder time than usual feeling positive and joyful, you are not alone. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Chicago found that happiness among Americans had fallen to a fifty-year low. Fifty years!! Ever the bright-spot enthusiasts, we believe there are still ways to find and keep more joy in your life. Here’s how:

Make a joy list. And make it specific! Think of the ordinary, recreatable moments that just make you feel good and jot those down in the Notes app on your phone. The reason they need to be small and attainable is because when the blues hit, you want to reach for something that doesn’t require a passport or complicated plans. It could be a slow drive down that nostalgic tree-lined street in your neighborhood. It could also be an even slower stroll down the Hearth & Hand section at Target. Whatever your small and simple joy items are, know them and practice them!

Buy a plant. It’s the year of houseplants, am I right? There’s a reason why! The benefits of owning indoor plants are many (and not just because they’re trendy house decor!) A study conducted in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology discovered that indoor plants have the potential to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase focus. Since our homes have also become our offices this year, we can’t think of a better addition to our space!

Text a friend. It’s been said that when you can’t figure out your problems, go and help someone else with theirs. A simple shift in focus and perspective can go a long way toward more joy in your life The next time you’re feeling a bit off, text a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile and just say, “I’m thinking about you, and want you to know how much you mean to me.” Simple. Effective. And a source of joy for the sender and recipient.

Perspective is everything. We know that when tragedy strikes and crisis abounds, simple practices like the ones listed above can seem trite. We don’t share them to diminish the reality of 2020; we share them to say that small blessings abound and there is joy to be found in the most ordinary of places. It is possible to hold our joy and pain together. After all, we’re human.