Joy is found in the simple moments of life. Whether it’s deep laughs with old friends or a warm hug with a family member, these seemingly small and mundane events can bring us immense joy if we pay attention to them. But sometimes our minds and hearts are too focused on the things we don’t have, and it can be hard to stay aware of the gifts that are given to us every day. So how do we cultivate more joy in our lives? Through intentional practice, here are six proven ways to increase your level of happiness and feel happier no matter where you are or what’s going on around you.
Exercise in pairs or groups:
Engaging in physical activity with other people provides an ideal platform for socializing, boosting motivation and improving fitness, all at the same time. By sharing your goals and working together to achieve them, you can develop meaningful bonds within the group, which improves psychological well-being as well as overall health and happiness.
Also, having an exercise buddy or accountability buddy is a big help in sticking to a routine, because there’s someone who motivates you and relies on you to be ready to work out. Exercising in pairs or in a group can be incredibly rewarding, not only from a physical progress and muscle building perspective, but also from a mental health perspective. So find some buddies and get out there to experience the joys of exercising together!
Organize family reunions:
Family gatherings are a great way to increase your level of happiness. Being around family members you don’t see often can make you feel warm and close, like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. By attending or hosting a reunion, you create lasting memories with all of your loved ones and form special bonds that will comfort you for years to come.
The sheer pleasure of spending time with the people who matter most is a joyful experience, enhanced when everyone is together. Also, reconnecting with parents or siblings living far away provides an added sense of belonging and wholeness. From stories told around the fire to songs impromptu in a group, family gatherings can provide many opportunities to create happy memories.
Focus on gratitude:
Perhaps the key to true and lasting joy lies in our ability to appreciate the things we have. By intentionally taking the time to be grateful for what we have – friends, family, food, freedom – we can often discover a new level of contentment and satisfaction. Focusing on gratitude encourages us to see the opportunities in the challenges and to integrate into our lives a deep appreciation for the small and large blessings that are part of our days.
When we understand this, it becomes easier to savor life’s little moments – like a nature walk on a cool fall morning or the laughter shared over dinner with our loved ones – and suddenly those moments become much more important. Grounding ourselves in gratitude helps us regain control of our own happiness so we can find joy even in the darkest of days.
Involve your children in the preparation of a family meal:
One of the most rewarding ways to involve your children in family life is to involve them in preparing a meal. Something as simple as setting the table or measuring ingredients can be a great way to teach them useful life skills while building family cohesion and responsibility. Not only is it a great way to spend quality time with your kids, but it can also bring immense joy to your family. The conversations that arise from preparation will foster relationships between siblings, friends, and relatives. And of course, after all that hard work, enjoying the finished product as a family is a true affirmation of happiness.
Spend time in nature:
Studies show that spending time in nature has many positive effects on mental well-being; it helps us feel connected to something bigger than our daily lives while giving us the opportunity to escape the pressures and worries we face on a day-to-day basis. Make time each week, even if it’s just an hour, to explore different outdoor areas; it could be anything from a walk on the beach or a visit to a local park to simply relaxing in your backyard oasis.
Plan an evening of collective games:
Hosting a game night is a great way to bring more joy and happiness into your life. Gather your friends, family or even a few strangers and let the fun begin! Start by thinking of creative ways to play new games, revisit old classics, or try something completely different.
Watching how others react when you release a new game can create an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement not found anywhere else. Not only will you have fun, but you will also have the opportunity to meet interesting people with different perspectives on life, while building relationships. Game nights are an opportunity to share moments of laughter with friends and are a great way to relieve stress; they help you find your good mood while allowing you to reconnect with the people who matter most in your life.