“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” — Karl Barth
There are lots of different ways to define “joy.” Some people might say it’s a synonym for happiness while others might describe it as a sense of inner peace.
However you might experience joy in your own individual way, we can all probably agree that the ability to feel joy is most definitely one of the greatest pleasures of being human. The only problem with experiencing more of it is that we often let a lot of “stuff” get in the way of our capacity to feel it.
Experiencing joy comes from more than just being successful in life or going on a lot of exciting adventures. Here are three incredibly simple yet powerful ways to start experiencing more joy in your life, every day.
Turn your awareness within rather than looking for joy outside of yourself.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” — Buddha
Joy is not something that can be searched for and found in your external environment. It’s something you must generate by turning inward and noticing your own thought patterns.
You can’t control your thoughts, but with a higher level of awareness, you can certainly influence them in a way that feels like you have more control over them. Joy can be found in accepting that thoughts may be triggered by all sorts of things outside of your control, yet knowing that those thoughts don’t necessarily reflect the truth. You have the freedom to change your perspective of thought in whichever way you decide serves you best, so practice perceiving things from a perspective that brings you more joy.
Transform your desire to pass judgement into a desire to understand better.
“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” — Albert Einstein
The mind is a master at judging. You pass judgment on all sorts of things, big and small, every day without having all the information available that you would need to pass such a judgement. In fact, most situations are so complex that the information you’d need to pass judgment on them is always changing and never ending.
Throw away your desire to decide on a “final answer” about something and instead, try looking for more information so that you can improve your understanding of it from a more expanded level of awareness. You can find joy in realizing that nothing is ever quite as black or white as it may seem, and that you have the opportunity to explore it further to find a deeper meaning.
Seek to be rather than to become.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” — Greg Anderson
Joy can never be found in reaching achievement, because the ego always wants more. What you think will be such a glorious and rewarding finish line is actually just a finish line that’s constantly moving farther forward so that it’s always just out of reach.
If you have a goal that you want to reach in the future, you can automatically start experiencing more joy in reaching it by asking yourself what you need to do and what kind of person you need to be right now as opposed to fantasizing about the future new and improved version of yourself you’re dreaming of becoming. Embody your future achievement in the present, and the joy you generate from that will take you there.
There’s nothing complicated about experiencing more joy. Keep working on expanding your awareness with a regular yoga and meditation practice, and most of the above habits should naturally become second nature to you!