Cultivating Everyday Joy

In a world full of hate, social injustice and unrest, and political divisiveness, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow humans to notice all the small things in the world to be joyful about – a neighbor’s pretty flowers, a good deed done by someone else, a delicious meal you cooked for yourself or someone else (or that someone cooked for you!), a favorite t-shirt….the list could and should be endless. Joyful, happy humans are kinder, more empathetic humans. And I for one, believe this wild world we live in could use some more joy, kindness, compassion, and empathy.

It is in noticing the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes we experience and encounter that we are better able to cultivate everyday joy.

Here are some of the small things that are bringing me joy lately:

Nature

Butterflies (Monarchs mostly!) at the end of summer getting ready for their long journey south to Mexico for the winter (some days I wish I was going with them! Ha!)

A sunrise polar plunge on our Labor Day vacation!

I just love seeing all the fall flowers and décor around – mums and pumpkins galore!

The trees here in mid-Michigan are starting to change color before all the leaves fall to the ground. I think we’ve officially entered “sweater weather” season here in the Midwest – though it seems that every year I struggle with dressing appropriately as the seasons change, I either overdress and sweat my patootie off or underdress and freeze all day!

Nourishment

Basically, all the pumpkin spice flavored things are bringing me joy these days. Energy bars, overnight oats, cereal, pancakes, coffee, even candles (though I would argue that’s a scent, not a flavor).

I love a good theme: we’ll call this one “Fall Floor Chili.” On Monday evening after demo-ing our dining room on Sunday which means we also did not have a dining room table available, we ate dinner on the living room floor for the 2nd night in a row. This time, in honor of fall it was chili. Noah says, “So we’re having ‘floor chili’ ” I immediately think of the episode of The Office where Kevin spills the chili. Literally “floor chili”…and this is why you don’t eat food from an office potluck… Do yourself a favor, go to Netflix and watch that episode (Season 5, Episode 26 “Casual Friday.”)

Movement

Yoga videos – thank goodness for internet streaming and YouTube! A couple channels I like for this: Yoga with Adriene and SarahBethYoga

We also got a new treadmill for our basement so we’ve gotten a little bit of use out of that as our local gyms are still operating on limited hours and it’s so dark early in the mornings now!

Mindset

A passage from a book (even if the entire book is not so notable):

“I forced myself to relax, to think about nothing. I remember what an old teammate had told me, that the secret to thinking about nothing is not trying to stop thoughts from coming into your head. Instead, you let them come and then slip right through you head. In one ear, across the slippery floor, and then right back out the other ear.” From Winter of the Wolf Moon by Alex McKnight

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what some forms of meditation are all about – I’m still working on this one.

And another category: Entertainment 😊

We have not been watching a ton of TV lately but here are some shows we’ve enjoyed recently: Get Organized with The Home Edit, The Great British Baking Show, The Chef Show (Apparently I need to say Thank you to Netflix!), Hanna (Amazon Prime), and Yellowstone (Paramount network – we purchased on Amazon Prime) and coming soon – This is Us, The Bachelorette, Grey’s Anatomy…

I’ve been reading more during the past 6 months thanks in no small part to the current global pandemic affecting us all. Some of the better books I’ve read recently are: American Wolf, Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, Forest Bathing, Dance Away with Me, In the Flo, Wild at Heart, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Digital Minimalism, Atomic Habits, Ultramarathon Man.

My job has me driving all over town as we distribute food in the Lansing community and I love listening to podcasts as I drive around – here are some of my favorites: Couple Friends, The Growth Equation, Ali on the Run, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, Becoming Headstrong, Before Breakfast, Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron, Here to Make Friends, Rose Pricks, Outside Podcast, Cake doesn’t Count, The Adventureprenuer Podcast with Jeremy Jensen, The Consistency Project with EC Synkowski, The Life Coach School Podcast.

In order to notice and appreciate these little things that bring joy to our lives and hearts, we must be more mindful. It is in noticing the many little, joyful things that we can build a happier life.

As with most anything else in life, finding joy must be practiced day in and day out. When will you start practicing everyday joy and building a happier more contented life?

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