Tidings of joy for 2018

In 2017, I wrote about having more fun as a mom. And then I did just that. From taking beach vacations to saying “yes!” to new opportunities to buying my first new bicycle in a decade, it will go down as a very fun year.

Now it’s time to shift gears slightly. I’m going to be writing about finding and embracing your joy in 2018. If you’re thinking, “Isn’t that pretty much the same thing?” you aren’t far off; joyful people typically are pretty happy. The key difference is that one can find joy even in less-than-happy scenarios.

There’s the joy of an emotional release from a tear-jerker movie. Joy to be found in an exasperatingly long checkout lane because you have money in your wallet to buy food for your family. There’s even joy to be found at funerals in honoring the memory of a life well-lived, and offering up gratitude for the end of a loved one’s pain and suffering. Finding joy is about understanding that there is always a silver lining, even when we cannot see one.

Here are some quick tips to get 2018 off on a joyful note:

  • Take cues from your kids: Children are naturally joy-filled. They don’t have years of pessimism, self-doubt and negativity weighing them down. Instead of complaining about winter, go sledding, make a snow angel and fill up that cocoa mug with marshmallows. Your children can help mentor you in how to view the world in a joyful way.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others: We, as women, are horrible at this. Comparing our appearances, wardrobes, homes and careers to those of our friends and colleagues is the fastest way to decimate our joy. There is always going to be someone out there with better skin, a newer vehicle or more square footage than you. Always. To that end…
  • Minimize social media: Many of us (raising hand) are guilty of putting our best life forward on Facebook, but those pictures are not an accurate representation of my actual life. Nor are they a complete picture of anyone else’s; we all have imperfections and messiness somewhere in our worlds. Taking Facebook off my phone was the smartest move I ever made toward embracing joy.
  • Let yourself be silly: As adults, we often establish for ourselves a joy “set point” on a 1-10 scale and refuse to budge one inch higher. But why? The world is full of comedians, funny movies, hilarious texts and GIFs. The only person we are harming by refusing to allow hilarity into our lives is ourselves.

Do you have suggestions on how to be more joyful? Or a meaningful New Year’s resolution you’d like to share? Please add to the comments!

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