Find the simple joys in life by making a few changes for the better.
With all the taxing duties and everyday grinds that people face, it might seem difficult to not get caught up in stressful situations, but your body can only handle so much stress before it becomes unhealthy. The best way to deal with everything life throws your way is by making a conscientious decision to make each day great by finding joy in the little things.
1. Do something nice for someone else
One way to find your joy and reduce your stress is by doing something nice for a stranger. Helping someone accomplish a goal will give you a sense of pride knowing that you were able to offer something of value to someone else. You can do this on a larger scale by volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or a food pantry. Volunteering is also a great way to get to know new people.
A study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service states that volunteering has a significant connection to good health. People who volunteer their time have lower depression rates and greater longevity, according to the report.
"More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves," says David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. "While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits."
A smaller way to accomplish this goal is by participating in a random act of kindness. Random acts can range from offering to help an elderly person with their groceries to walking a neighbor's dog. Simple joys like these are easy to do and can have a great, positive impact on your life.
2. Learn to relax
Take time out of your day to combat stress by learning to relax. Relaxation techniques are different for everyone. Some like to relax by watching comedy shows on TV while others prefer to curl up with a good book.
No matter your preference, learning to relax will help you find the joy in your life by making you less overwhelmed. A leisurely walk around the block will get you focused on what truly matters in your life while also exposing you to fresh air and sunshine. You might instead want to listen to music that lifts your spirits. Meditation will help you clear your mind and tune out your worries.
"If you can't hop on a plane to some place soothing, just close your eyes and envision a scene you love," says University of California, Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky. "Try to fully imagine the experience of being there."
3. Make a resolution
Start your day with a new resolution, but not like the annual ones at the start of the year that don't ever seem to get accomplished. Make a list that simply states one thing that you will try to accomplish for the day, the week or the month. You don't have to worry about the quantity of tasks you are trying to complete, but the quality of the tasks and the joy that comes from reaching that particular goal.
"Focusing on one task is also a good way to learn to be present – or totally engaged – in the moment," according to the Mayo Clinic. "When you're surrounded by more things than you can manage, it sends a visual message that your life is out of control."
Having a short list is a great way to de-clutter because you are only focusing on one thing at a time. For example, write that you will learn a new recipe for this week and focus on that item instead of trying to multi-task.
Stress and other concerns are a natural part of life, but it's up to you to not get bogged down with negative emotions. Choose to live a better life and make each day great by finding the joy in life.