11 Ways to Create Joy by Vickey Pahnke Taylor
Try One, Laugh, Be Silly and most of all be Joyful!
1. Be the wearer of a smile. It is contagious by nature. It will astound those who would rather see us angry. And it will brighten our day and multiply the joy for ourselves and others.
2. Spin the thoughts back to positive ones when they turn negative. [And that happens really often, especially some days, doesn’t it?!] Deciding to actively manage our thoughts may allow us to avoid many bothersome ones.
3. Instead of reacting to a slow server or clerk, taking a deep breath and enjoying the time to visit on the phone or watch the clouds in the sky can shift the whole experience for us.
4. Say something nice to a stranger. Comment on the nice weather, hold the door open and share a greeting, find something positive to say. It feels good to share a bit of joy this way.
5. Use laughter as the powerful tool it is. The writer e.e. cummings once wrote, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” While I don’t agree that it is the most wasted, I do agree that with a healthy dose of laughter, any day is a better one and a happier one.
6. Sing. We can sing to ourselves, we can sing to the walls, in the car, to the birds, or hum along as we walk down the halls at school or in the nearby mall. Who cares if we get a few strange looks? Happy music is a great way of sharing joy. I think of the hymn that includes the great counsel to “Scatter sunshine all along the way…” and believe it is a great tool.
7. Speaking of music. Dieter Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Music…will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” Music is a wonderful way of gathering and sharing joy! It infers that we choose carefully the music, of course, charting a path of “up” and “light” in order to feel that fountain of joy. But hey, I love to “rock out” every now and again to one of my favorite radio hits.
8. Act silly. Not obnoxious. Just silly. If we are not afraid to laugh at ourselves, we can let in more joy. This is hard for those of us who are more reserved and shy, I realize. Those of us who have to be ‘in the mood’ – I get that, too. For those of us who can go for it with gusto most of the time – you can perhaps teach and assist those who have a tougher time “going there”. I do know it makes for more fun, more smiles, and more joy!
9. Give something away. I read of a person who buys inexpensive umbrellas, and on a rainy day will choose a busy corner, pick a person who looks like they could really use it [the umbrella and the uplift], and gives them the umbrella. Just gives it as a little gift. Tell them that this is your way of sharing a little bit of joy. What a fun and creative idea!
10. Be a doer. When someone needs five cents in order to pay for their drink, their gas, or their burger, we can be the one to hand the few pennies to the cashier. It is not a big deal, but it shows kindliness and good will. It spreads joy.
11. Focus on righteousness. There really is no happiness in wickedness. The world’s morality, acceptable boundaries, and behaviors by many around us may be dark, ugly, or so very far away from the path of peace and happiness that comes from doing what is right. Regardless, we have our agency. We can do whatever it takes- with the Spirit’s loving help- to steer our course in the way of peace and goodness. There is incalculable joy therein.