The importance of joy

Written by Michelle Robinson

When considering what to write about in this column, I often find myself drawn to a personal experience that I hope has relevance to a wider audience. This month is no exception. I’m discussing the importance of joy, or more specifically, the importance of creating joyful moments that enrich our lives.

When life is stressful, busy, or turbulent, the possibility of feeling joyful often seems out of reach.

‘Joy’ implies very high levels of happiness, and for many people, me included, sustaining joyfulness in every moment is unrealistic and unachievable. What is sustainable and achievable is to create, recognise and celebrate joy in many moments, without feeling like a failure on the days we struggle to find the sunshine in our lives.

Adding joyful moments into our lives is extremely helpful for our mental health. When we accept responsibility for doing so, we help heal any parts of us that may be anxious, stressed, or depressed. No-one else can do this for us, although a good friend or family member can be the catalyst to get us started.

I didn’t realise how much my life had narrowed since giving up full-time work. It slipped my attention how long I was spending at home, without the friends I’d previously loved spending time with. I didn’t even notice that I was becoming less social, less communicative, and less interested in the outside world. That was, until I realised, I hadn’t laughed (really laughed, where I felt joyful and carefree) in a long time. Of course, I’d had moments of happiness with those I love, but overall, my joyfulness score was low. This was out of character. It was time to act.

I did one very big thing – I adopted a puppy, as my August Life-Chat described. However, for several months, I was even more tied to the home than before. Until she was fully vaccinated at four months of age, Bonnie was not allowed to leave our yard. Caring for a puppy was not an immediate antidote to my social isolation.

Adjusting my mindset, going for daily walks, singing more, celebrating the beauty of nature, and reaching out to friends I hadn’t seen in ages gradually brought many moments of joy back into my life. The most important thing I did was to recognise that I needed to make changes and create these moments of joy for myself.

If you find yourself feeling a bit flat, then consider whether you could benefit from adding moments of joy into your life, and just choose little things (or larger things) that make you truly happy. It worked for me.

Finally, if you would like to stay connected with me to receive positive tips for life each morning, feel welcome to join my free Facebook group “Your Intuitive Gifts At Work.”