The smell of homemade apple pie fills the room. You open the cabinets over and over because you are so proud of your newly organized kitchen. You read a familiar story to your child and mess up all the words just so you can hear him giggle. You lie down next to a fire and listen to your favorite music. Do any of these things make you smile?

If you had a list of things that made you smile or laugh, what would be on your “joy list?”

Cultivating joy in everyday living is not something about which you may often think. You are too busy getting things “done” or tackling the day-to-day demands and needs of those around you to think about having fun. Real fun is something saved for vacations, right? Well, what if you made a decision that you were going to enjoy life every day, all day? What would need to change in your life?

 A joyful life is possible.

The first step toward living an enjoyable life is the belief that it is possible. Just think how much more enjoyable life would be if you were intentional about creating a joyful life. Most of the time, you don’t stop long enough to think that it is within your power to create something different. The truth of the matter is that you can be the author of your own life storybook.

Make a list — or two…

You were created uniquely different from anyone else, with different passions, likes and dislikes. What makes you tick? Think back to the times in your life when you felt totally blissful. What were you doing? Who were you with? Where were you? Dig deep and make a list of as many things, people and places in life that make you smile and feel wonderful. Be as detailed as possible. This is your “joy list.” Now, think of things in your life that really drain your energy and put you in a grumpy mood. An example of an “energy drain list” could consist of things like cold weather, negative people, clutter, loud noises and overeating. Make a list of people, places and things in your life that deplete your energy.

Say “yes” to your joy list and “no” to your energy drain list.

Now that you have your two lists, start saying “yes” to your joy list and “no” to your energy drain list. Saying “yes” to more joy means you will create opportunities to experience joy on a regular basis. You will spend time with people you love, hang out in places that fill you up and do things you love to do. Maybe it means you will journal under a tree with a tall glass of lemonade. Perhaps you’ll go for a run with your best friend or have a snowball fight with your family. Creating joy can be as simple as watching a good movie, taking a catnap in the sun, or making ice cream sundaes for dessert.

Saying “no” to the energy drains will require that you set some boundaries in your life to protect your energy. What personal standards do you need to set to take care of yourself? What agreements do you need to make and keep with yourself and others in order to be at your best? Saying “no” to your energy drains might mean you plan ahead so you can be on time and better organized, or go to bed early so you have plenty of sleep. Maybe there will be conversations or people you need to politely excuse yourself from. Give yourself permission to decline the activities that take too much from your energy supply. Saying “no” to the energy drains may mean you have to ask for help.

Attitude: Power to Choose

Sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t particularly care to do. At times, you can rectify the problem by changing your situation. You can find a new job or hire someone to do the housecleaning. Other times, you don’t have a choice about life circumstances. Life hands you matters you have no control over. This is when attitude must prevail. Remember, you are the author of your story and you can choose how you are going to respond to the unpleasantness of life. Find ways to make the mundane exciting. Relieve the stress and tension with humor. Soften the sadness and pain with sweetness.

By staying conscious of moods and feelings, you can tell very quickly when you fall off the path of joyful living. Immediately make a choice to say yes to the belief that joy is possible, intentionally create joy, eliminate any energy drains, and reconnect with your inner source of happiness.

About VITAL WorkLife

VITAL WorkLife, Inc. is a national behavioral health consulting company providing solutions to support all dimensions of an individual’s well being, while assisting organizations with improving employee engagement. Our approach consists of guiding employees, their families and their organizations in building sustainable, healthy behaviors and cultures. With over 35 years of experience, we have expanded beyond traditional employee assistance programs (EAP) and now offer comprehensive and holistic well being solutions including customizable programs, coaching, training, consulting and leadership development. We have deep experience in education, manufacturing and health care, especially assisting physicians and providers in dealing with the unique challenges facing their profession. Visit us at VITALWorkLife.com.

Source : Radun, L. (2007, February). Cultivating joy in everyday living. Smell the Coffee and the Cookies Too! 3(6). True to You Life Coaching, LLC. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from WorkplaceOptions.