More Joy

I was working with a client who was very focused on work and unhappy. So I gave her what seemed to be a simple homework assignment, add more joy to her life. When we talked the next week, she confessed that this assignment stressed her out—at first. She spent a bunch of time wracking her brain for things that might bring her joy: a new class she might enjoy, a hobby she could take up, an enriching experience she could seek out. Then all of the sudden it hit her as she was driving to the Office Depot in the city she was visiting—she felt joyful in that moment. Why? Because one of the things that brings her joy is discovering familiar things in an unfamiliar place.

My client hit on the crux of finding joy. So often we think finding more joy in our lives is about creating some kind of big-deal new experience. “Adding” joy to your life is a misnomer, it’s really about noticing when you feel joyful in your life right now. It could be as simple as driving to Office Depot, snuggling with your pet/child/significant other, laughing with a friend, walking along a familiar stretch and noticing the truly beautiful scenery, your favorite song coming on the radio at just the right moment, or colored pens (a personal favorite). When my client noticed how this simple activity brought her joy, she started noticing more and more things that caused her to feel joyful and by the time we talked, she was just about giddy with all this newfound joy. No classes, brain-wracking or bungee jumping required.

What brings you joy? Comment and share.