Who doesn’t want more joy in their lives? Today on More2Life Radio, we explored what it takes to overcome common obstacles to more joyful living. The short version? You don’t have to wait for all the stress and problems in your life to go away before you feel more joyful. Here are three simple things you can do to lead a more joyful life in good times and bad.
- Retrain your brain for joy–Our brains are naturally wired to give more weight to negative events as a survival strategy, BUT research shows we can offset this by intentionally practicing gratitude. Everyday, write down at least 3 simple things you are grateful for. Periodically, remind yourself of all the prayers God has answered in the past. Make a point of acknowledging the simple ways others take care of you by saying “thank you” from your heart. Studies demonstrate that simple acts like this can increase out “happiness set point” by up to 25%!
- Make a joyful difference-Pope St. John Paul the Great’s theology of the body says that the source of true joy is serving others. Research bears this out. Actively looking for ways to make even a small difference in someone else’s life will make you feel better about yourself and lighten your mood. It feels good to know that God can use you and your gifts to bless those around you.
- Make Joyful Connections–In good times and bad, draw closer to the people you love. Reach out to others. Invite someone you care about to share a new experience with you. Research shows that sharing new experiences with someone you care about strengthen both intimacy with others and your personal experience of joy. Another way to create joyful connections is to plan some time to “waste time” with someone you love. Intentionally taking time to “just be” with those you love reminds you that you belong to a community of caring people. Research shows the closer you feel to the people around you, the more joyful you’ll be.
If you’d like to experience more joy in your life, check out God Help Me, This Stress is Driving Me Crazy! Finding Balance Through God’s Grace and tune in to More2Life radio each weekday at 10am E/9am C on a Catholic radio station near you or SiriusXM Channel 130.