How do you generate joy in your life?

Positive emotion can indeed be generated. That’s because negative emotions can be consciously supplanted by positive ones. 

Today I want to talk about creating joy automatically, or at the very least, shifting into some positive feeling. I’m not talking toxic positivity here: if something is wrong tend to it. But once you’ve taken action, hanging around in a residual bad mood doesn’t do you or anyone any good.

Some friends and I did an experiment to see whether we could generate joy at will. 

We created a challenge: for seven days, we agreed to put on music and move to it for at least two minutes or one full song. The unequivocable result for each of us was instant raised energy and happiness. Whatever we’d been ruminating about seemed to just melt away. 

It made me think that there are probably other worthwhile joy-generating experiments.

Here are fifteen that I’ve thought of:

  1. Think of five to 10 things you’re grateful for that you’ve never thought of before
  2. Admire or re-admire something you’re proud of: a paint job in your apartment, something you wrote, a room you just cleaned..
  3. Call an old friend 
  4. Send someone a gift that doesn’t expect it
  5. For urban dwellers: Go outside with a dollar and give it to the first destitute person you meet. (It won’t take long which will give you instant perspective.)
  6. Throw away 1-5 things you don’t need (it doesn’t have to be the sweater you haven’t worn in years but are emotionally attached to necessarily; it could be some rotten food in the fridge.)
  7. Smell something lovely
  8. Take a bath or shower
  9. Think of someone who needs support and send them some prayers or healing vibes
  10. Better yet, call them or send them a note of encouragement
  11. Light a candle and watch the flame
  12. Fake-laugh for 1-3 minutes. (It’s called ‘Laughter Yoga’. It’s a thing and its powerful.)
  13. Make a list of everything you’ve done right in the past two days (gotten your steps in, NOT blown up at the customer service person on the phone…)
  14. Make something: Sculpt, bake a cake, whistle a song, write a Haiku
  15. Pet or play with a dog

Please add your ideas to this list in the comments. I challenge you to shift your mood when it’s negative or ‘meh’ at least once a day for seven days using any of the above methods or one of your own. 

Then let me know how it goes!