Mindful Wellness: Finding Everyday Joy

how to discovery - or rediscover - the blessings each day brings
finding everyday joy
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / sonjachnuj

Are you living joyfully? Many families do not express their day-to-day experience in such a way. If we mindfully focus on this intention, we can truly enjoy our life experience—and what better season to start seeking joy than in the spring? Increasing daylight hours, new growth, and beautiful sunshine lifts the spirits, encouraging people to emerge from their hibernation and experience life outside their homes. Even with our current restrictions, there are several experiences families can enjoy daily to create mindful, joyful experiences!

The Fresh Morning Start

This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before. –Maya Angelou

Do you notice your first thoughts upon waking? Often there will be some continuation of thoughts that were in your mind as you fell asleep. This means if you had happy thoughts before falling asleep, you will most likely think or feel happy thoughts upon waking, whereas if you experienced troubling thoughts, you will likely wake with similarly troubled thoughts the next morning as well.

To mindfully create a joyful thought or habit, we can focus on a single idea that brings joy. This is a great time to practice gratitude and is a wonderful habit for all family members to take part in. As you wake, choose to simply be aware of things that you are grateful for. It might be that comfortable mattress, soft sheets, cradling pillow, or the sunlight peeking through the curtains. Or it might be the appreciation of waking up beside a partner or adoring pet that lovingly greets you as you open your eyes each morning.

You can encourage younger family members to do this as well. If they have a lot of energy, they may prefer to express gratitude through movement by wiggling fingers or toes and acknowledging their extremities for their hard work, or blinking quickly a few times while thanking their eyes for this ability. Whatever sight, smell, sound, or action you choose, the experience can be a joyful discovery of simple experiences that one can be thankful for.

The Daily Grind

When every little thing in life, whether it is a pebble or an ant, starts surprising you, then you are living a joyful life full of curiosity. –Nitin Namdeo

As the list of tasks you need to get done each day gets longer and longer, it’s easy to feel a waning of that joy you may have experienced as you woke up. Much of this can be solved simply by limiting the number of daily tasks. While many will argue that removing anything off their list is impossible, the reality is that many of those essential tasks still don’t get done by the end of the day, meaning that perhaps they either weren’t as essential as believed, or that your own expectations about what you can achieve in one day is unmanageable. This observation alone can help to consciously revise your current lists to create ones that are more manageable. When tasks are achievable, possible, and doable, there is more joy found in crossing those items off.

Once this has been achieved, you are able bring joy into the tasks themselves. One of the easiest ways to bring joy into any experience is to smile as you do it. Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it? It is. Smiling makes people feel happier. There is plenty of research available that shows that smiling and laughing lifts people’s spirits, and has mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Throughout the day, find reasons to smile. In fact, smile for no reason at all besides the awareness that this will help your body and mind. 

Look for reasons to joyfully participate in what you are doing. Even if you are working from home and minding your children as they do their schoolwork from home, create opportunities to find joy that the whole family can partake in. Why not plan for a joyful stretch or a walk during scheduled break times? While you are doing these, make an effort to bring your mind back to the joyful wonder of simple sights and sounds that you experienced as a child, and let it guide your adult mind to do the same. The smell of fresh air, the local bakery or pizza place, or the clean scent of freshly-washed laundry can be just as joyful when you experience them as they were the first time you’ve encountered their wonder. Listen to the birds, look at the sunrise or sunset, feel the breeze on your skin. Encourage your family to be present in the moment and to do the same. Look around yourself with curiosity! This allows for a beautiful daytime experience.

Bedtime Bliss

In one breath, I release all negative feelings and fearful thoughts, then fill up my lungs with wonder and awe and pure, unadulterated joy.  –Sara Baysinger

A joyful bedtime is a luxury that most can experience, yet sadly many do not. Part of the reason for this is that many take concerns or worries from their day to bed, or have anxieties about the next day or days to come. Both children and adults can become so worked up from their day, mentally or physically, that sleep does not come easily.

However, this provides a wonderful opportunity to focus on breath work. Long and deep breaths can help to calm overactive minds and bring about peace and a comfortable sleep.

For children, the energy of a parent putting them to bed really matters. When parents are rushed in their child’s bedtime routines, the child notices the energy. Similarly, when the nighttime routine is joyfully experienced through lullabies or soft singing, gentle rocking, and calm and loving communication, then happy smiles will often accompany a peaceful sleep. For teenagers or adults, being mindful about the actual bed time is important. Often when we push ourselves to stay awake too late into the night, sleep cycles become disrupted, making sleep less and less easy to find.

When peaceful sleep is hard to find, use your breath. Breathe. Focus on blissful thoughts, happy moments and the intention to welcome a peaceful joy into your sleep. You might use the quotation in this bedtime section as a mantra (try: “I fill my lungs with wonder and awe”). Repeat it at least 10 times before your sleep and allow the mind to fill with the awareness that sleep is the body’s normal joy at bedtime. As you consciously release fears and worries, your body will remember that your mindful breathing alone is helping you get to the sleep that your mind and body require. Let this be your joyful bedtime experience. Remember, the thoughts you fall asleep with will likely be your waking thoughts too. Choose your thoughts and feelings with loving care and let your days and nights be filled with the joys of your conscious creation.

Joyful living is a beautiful and achievable destination. The intention to be there will often be the incentive for conscious action. Be inspired to live joyfully!

A Mindful Note Regarding Joyful Living

Try the suggestions offered in this article for two weeks. If there is no improvement to either your mood or your sleep habits, and you find you are unable to settle into peace or joy, seek out the advice of a therapist or healthcare professional to help guide and direct new patterns of thought. Everyone has different needs in this joyful journey and the ones offered here might not be what you need to get you to your destination.

You may also enjoy: The Benefits of Ashwagandha for Stress and AnxietyHolistic Remedies for Anxiety and Stress Relief, and Why Mindful Eating Makes Life Better

Sign up for our e-newsletter!