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How to Feel Lasting Joy

I’m in Chicago right now, enjoying a cold, but sunny day.  I’m wrapped in a blanket, enjoying a warm cup of tea, looking out onto the gorgeous city, working on a project I’m passionate about, and am just truthfully enjoying life in this very moment.

With the warmer months full of more trips and social activities creeping in, I’m wanting to bring this private, quiet moment with me through the coming months.  So I’ve gotten to thinking – what are the best ways to create lasting joy, rather than a random spot of happiness?  What are those ways that we can truthfully feel our happiest moments for a longer period of time?

I wrote about some of my recent findings on Instagram here, but I’ve decided to explore the topic further.

In short, happiness is what happens to us.  It is based on external factors, such as your pay grade or acceptance from others.

But, joy is a choice.  Joy is not impacted by one wrong turn or a series of negative events.  It is the internal peace that holds us together and reminds that everything will be okay, no matter how crazy it feels in the moment.

Lasting Joy

So let’s look into how we can harvest more long-term joy in our lives.:

Get Comfortable with Vulnerability

Embracing our vulnerabilities is a risky thing.  But it’s not nearly as risky as living your life trapped by fear.  Just like every emotion, we will have fear enter and exit our lives – it’s a completely human response.  But cowering from vulnerability out of fear is a completely separate thing all together.

When you decide to allow yourself to be vulnerable, you will experience some fear, because you’re taking a big risk.  But it is only through being willing to go to those deep levels that we can fully allow ourselves to exhale and receive joy.

Put it into Practice: Find someone that you trust and open up your heart about something that’s been on your mind.  See what kind of joy you feel when you’re in that person’s presence going forward.

Stop Looking for Temporary Happiness

I’ve spoken at length about the downward spiral of the “Comparison Trap.”  (See here for a recent Facebook Live on the topic.)  And the primary reason for that is that it is the most evident example of looking for temporary happiness that is constant in many of our lives.

Looking through social media or dedicating ourselves to mindless tasks is purely a search for something temporary.  A momentary “lift” for when we’re feeling down or bored with our everyday lives.

Comparing ourselves to others is going to have the completely opposite impact.  Instead, we need to re-focus our time on living a well-rounded life that is authentically our own.  We need to welcome the world as it comes to us and understand that every moment is a gift, it is only how we react to it that we can control.

Put it into Practice: Where are you comparing yourself to others?  On social media?  Mingling around the workplace?  Incessantly reading magazines?  Re-allocate that time towards something in your life that will truly make your heart happy, such as meditation or exercise.

Use Your Flow Activity as an Outlet

When our minds are actively engaged in a meaningful activity that challenges our abilities, they are at their happiest – these are called “flow” activities.  These activities typically take an initial time investment before they become fun – you wouldn’t just automatically know how to play tennis, for example.  But once you’re involved, these activities keep our minds active and engaged.

We’re all going to feel a wide variety of activities across our lives – from happiness to sadness to resentment.  When these negative emotions hit, we have to have something strong to lean on, and I suggest that it would be a great idea for us to use our flow activities as our outlet.

Put it into Practice: Find the activities that completely overtake and activate your mind.  Go to those activities whenever you need to bring up your emotions.

You deserve joy – we all do.  I encourage us all to focus on finding true, long-term joy across our days.


Where can you focus on bringing more joy into your life?

Are there spaces in your life where you can stop focusing on temporary happiness in favor of true joy?

Create a great life!

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