Joy Is In The Moments:
3 Tips for Discovering & Appreciating the Joy in Life
I used to think that joy was found in the great big experiences of life. But over the years I have learned that joy is actually not about huge, amazing experiences at all; it’s about the seemingly small and simple things that hold huge meaning. Joy is in the moments.
Nowhere is this lesson more applicable than in parenthood. This past week, for example, my family went on a spring break vacation. You know how family vacations can go—arguing and exhausted kids, too much sugar, messes and continual noise—and all this was topped off by coming home to a weekend of snow and cancelled school today. Normally I’d be losing it about now, but I thankfully am not losing it because I know that joy is in the moments and I don’t want those moments to pass me by, no matter how messy, noisy, or snowy they may be. Instead I’ve been using my three tips for discovering and appreciating the joy in life. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been for me.
Tip #1: Notice the joyful moments as they come. Noticing the good in life is one of the best ways to improve quality of life and increase joy. When we notice the joyful moments we feel grateful, and when we feel grateful we can enjoy our life no matter what circumstances come our way. Noticing the moments of peace, hope, love, and joy cements them in our minds and hearts, helping us appreciate what we have been given, and teaching us to never take these little moments for granted.
Tip #2: Actively search for the joyful moments. This requires a little more effort than simply noticing what comes, for we aren’t passively waiting but actively seeking the joy we desire in our life. One practice I started during a particularly crazy time of my life was a “Joy of Motherhood” journal. I would seek out and jot down the little moments throughout each day that were joy-filled, priceless, and that I didn’t want to forget. Seeking those moments helped me see just how often I was experiencing joy and that helped me feel more joyful throughout my days. Even on the gloomiest days there are plenty of joyful gems to be found if you are willing to search.
Tip #3: Create the joyful moments you desire. You can create more joy in your life by simply desiring and acting upon those desires! Isn’t that exciting? I think it is. Take it a step beyond waiting or even searching and actually make the moments happen. Let me share an example of how this works. Just a few days ago, on our vacation, after a rough night of sleep and a long day with kids at the pool, I was attempting a nap but kept getting “interrupted” by child after child. I could tell they were bored, but I was tired and needed a power nap to improve my energy and hopefully my mood. Frustrated, I looked out my window and noticed it was nearing sunset. Lucky for us, that gave me an idea. I forced myself up, gathered everyone and announced, “We’re going to the beach to watch the sunset!” Teenagers were moaning but I shooed us all out the door, grabbing the baseball bat, ball, and sand toys too. The boys played baseball and the girls built sand castles as I smiled and took it all in. And as the sun melted into the glassy ocean, all pink and blue, we stood still together, basking in the glory, and said, “Ahh. This is the life.” Our sunset moment was my favorite memory of the trip. Far better than a nap, this joyful moment I created gave me all the energy and improvement in mood that I needed and then some.
This is the life, my friends—the one and only life we’ve been given. Don’t let the moments pass you by. Take the initiative. Notice, seek and create the joyful moments that make your life a great one. You’ll see what I mean—joy is in the moments!
Do you agree that joy is in the moments? What are some of your tips for discovering and appreciating life? Leave a comment and share with us!