How to Choose Joy

In my life I have learned that the way to not just survive but THRIVE is to choose joy. It is no secret that I’ve been faced with a few unthinkable tragedies so I’ve picked up some wisdom on the subject along the way. These are my 10 top tips to choose joy and sparkle your way through this crazy life.

  1. Allow yourself to feel. Every feeling you have is valid and should be fully felt. When you are sad it’s ok to cry. That doesn’t mean you aren’t choosing joy. It means you are being kind to yourself. AND those low moments make the joy even more beautiful.
  2. Think on your blessings. I could completely overwhelm myself with the feelings of anger and bitterness. I could choose to focus on the awful things that have happened, but instead I choose to think on the blessings. I choose to focus on the moments I had with Caden and the beauty of everything his life accomplished. When you feel yourself start to feel overwhelmed with the what ifs and the losses just start thinking about all of the wonderful things in your life. I promise there are lots.
  3. Keep a gratitude journal. Speaking of all of the wonderful things, start writing them down. Every time something happens that you are grateful for, put it in your journal. Every time you think about something beautiful in your life, write it down. Soon your pages will be FULL of joy. Look back in your journal when you’re having a tough time.
  4. Begin each day with a positive thought. Wake up with an attitude of gratitude. Thank God for the amazing things you’ve been given. Think about something you are looking forward to. Compliment yourself. Doing this first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed, starts your day off right. You can even have mantras, quotes, or Bible verses written on your mirror as reminders each day.
  5. Take time to enjoy the moments. Don’t get so busy and overwhelmed with your life that you forget to appreciate the small moments. A child’s laughter, a kiss from your spouse, breathing in the smell of freshly cut grass, the first sip of your favorite tea, a hug from a friend, or a snuggle in your coziest blanket. Take a second to soak these things in and savor them. These are the moments that matter.
  6. Surround yourself with uplifting people. The people you surround yourself with may be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Don’t get consumed with negative Nancy’s who have set up camp in somberville. That will only bring you down. Surround yourself with people who will uplift and encourage you, those who live out confidence and positivity in their own life. Make sure you have people you can trust to go to in your broken moments who will do nothing but hold you until your pieces fit back together again and then do the same for them in return. Confide in these people, grow with each other, and love the heck out of one another.
  7. Do more of what you love. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is necessary. Do the things that bring your heart joy. Bake, sing, dance around the living room, go for a run, read, volunteer. Whatever it is that makes your soul smile, DO IT and do it often.
  8. Practice positive self talk. Oh the dreaded moments when we start to feel overwhelmed and incapable. They hurt. It is in those moments that it’s important to know how to pull yourself out. I struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and total misery. When I feel myself sinking I begin to remind myself that I’m strong and I’m capable. I’m loved and I’m admired. I have potential and purpose. I can turn tragedy into beauty and wreckage into hope. I am fully equipped. I choose joy instead of misery and my soul will rise from this stronger. Do not let yourself live in negativity. Those thoughts have no place in your mind and will only bring harm.
  9. Smile. Seriously. Endorphins! Smiling can instantly improve your mood. Try it. Say “I am happy.” without smiling and then say it with a smile. See how different it feels? Just smiling can give you strength and energy and will completely change your mood so do it even when you don’t feel like it!
  10. Love others. This is the BIGGEST step. Loving others is how you unlock true joy. Taking the sparkle in your soul and sharing it with others makes the joy multiply. Do something kind for someone. Compliment a stranger. LISTEN. Make someone feel special. And here’s the kicker, share your story. Yep, you have one and it WILL change someone’s life. Someone is out there that only you can love in the way they need to be loved <3 There is something so tragically beautiful about loving other’s when your heart is shattered. It’s like instead of all of your old pieces fitting back together, each piece just grows into something incredibly beautiful and somehow all of those pieces work in harmony again.

Joy is a choice. It is something we have to consciously do daily. Joy is a soul feeling that the sadness and darkness of this world can’t touch. I know right now life may seem dark, you feel broken and wounded and it hurts to even breathe, but hear me out. You will make it. You will smile again. It may feel sloppy and weird, but you will.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. “Joy is not in the circumstance. It is in you”

<3 #ichoosejoy

**Huge thank you to Beth Adams for the beautiful photo. You can find her on Facebook here, check out her Etsy shop here, or visit her webpage.