All of us are striving for happiness and fulfillment in some way. You would be hard-pressed to find someone that is determined to be unhappy. With the chaos of life, we often find ourselves distracted and hurried, and unfortunately, many of us are unhappy as a result.

So how do we increase joy in our lives?

Well, it’s not something you can just sit back and HOPE will happen. It takes a little bit of work and the right mindset.

Start The Day Off Grateful
One of the best ways to increase joy in our day-to-day is by keeping a gratitude journal. Each morning, take 3-5 minutes to write down three things you are grateful for. Anchor these things in your mind by thinking about each one individually for just a moment or two.  This helps set the tone for the day. When you begin the day with a focus on the good, it cues your brain to seek more good, and actually makes a difference in how your day unfolds. 

Get Outside
When we find ourselves stressed and overwhelmed, many times we just want to curl up in bed and sleep. While this can be beneficial sometimes, researchers have found that one of the best ways to “get happy” is to get outside! Whether it’s for a walk, hike, bike ride, or just to sit in the sun, getting outside can decrease heart rate AND cortisol levels. Physical exercise, however subtle, increases endorphins and positive emotions; it’s easier to see the good when you feel good. Getting outside encourages an appreciation for the beauty of the world around you, and helps you see even more things to be grateful for.

Invest In Your Relationships
Perhaps the biggest contributor to joy in your life is the health of your relationships! Connecting with others is powerful. It allows us to feel known. Our friends and family can motivate us, encourage us, and push us more than we can for ourselves sometimes. When our relationships are healthy, they enrich our lives and help us be more grateful and positive; they help us see those pockets of joy in the mundane. But we have to invest in them! It’s important to not only make time for these relationships but to share genuine admiration, values, and affection with one another.  

When you invest in your relationships with time, gratitude, and self-care, you truly are investing in your happiness. The ROI? Increased joy in your life as well as the lives of those around you.