A new year has so much potential, but we can easily get overwhelmed when considering how much there is to get done. As we begin this year, I would like to share what I find essential in maintaining our joy and helping us be more fulfilled in the days ahead.
4 Keys to a Joy-Filled Life
As Kathryn Hepburn once said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
To delight in humor is helpful. It allows us to catch our breath. Laughter takes our minds off our to-do list, our sadness, or our anxieties. Ignoring the need for laughter will cause us to clam up and become too introspective. Life can be funny. Let’s learn to laugh more at life this year.
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
This means forgiveness is always a choice. When we talk about forgiveness, it isn’t always toward other people. Sometimes it’s for ourselves first. Walking in forgiveness can change us from the inside out. Without it, we harbor a heavy burden of resentment that none of us can bear.
In an article written by Charles Stanley, he said, “It’s probably not surprising to hear that resentment impacts the mind and spirit, but you may not have realized what a physical toll it can also take on us. An attitude of bitterness ratchets up tension and anxiety, which can affect everything from muscles to chemical balance in the brain. Over time, that kind of mayhem weakens the body.” If we seek reconciliation and choose forgiveness, we will stand a greater chance of experiencing a consistently joy-filled life.
Isolation is one of the primary threats to leading a joy-filled, healthy life. Without the encouragement from the key people in our life, we are left vulnerable to discouragement. If you find yourself consistently dwelling on negative thoughts, you need the perspective of someone else to help you regain your sense of identity. It’s true that other people are always more kind to us than we are to ourselves. That’s why quality relationships deserve space on your calendar.
As George Eliot says: “Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.”
Our key relationships are safe and critical to our success. The key people in our lives love us unconditionally. They don’t indict us and have our back. They check on us and we check on them. We all need a handful of people to lift our spirits when we are down, laugh with us, and celebrate with us when we are experiencing small victories!
This is tough! Sharing our lives with others gives us meaning! But unplugging from the busyness of life will do us a lot of good. I promise! Power down your devices every day and leave them by the front door and be present. That means laptops, cell phones, iPads, and anything else that keeps you from connecting to your family or friends around you.
Back away from the computer screen. Breathe. Read and reflect. Take time to pray or journal. Give your mind a rest from overstimulation and learn how to relax.
We all need solitude. Solitude gives us time to explore who we are and how we feel. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life. It allows us to get back into the driver’s seat of life, rather than operating from the constant demands of schedules and expectations. Making times of solitude a priority will help you to find joy; even in the midst of a busy, or challenging season of life.
Begin to practice these 4 keys on a regular basis and you will notice an immediate boost in your energy. Want to tell us how one of these keys has already helped you to find joy? Share it in a comment below.
My hope for you is to live a joy-filled life!