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How can I find more joy in my life?

“Happiness is not something readily made. It comes from your own actions.” —Dali Lama

Many of us are on a search for joy and happiness on a continual basis. Some individuals seek joy and happiness through friendships, family, and community. Others seek these feelings through professional success, wealth, and accomplishments. Although our means of finding happiness may widely vary, it is human nature to pursue that wonderful sensation and inner peace that only joy and happiness bring.

Positive life experiences and achievements are presumed to bring happiness; however, researchers and scientists who study positive psychology now know that happiness is a mental state, brought about by specific intentions, such as being present and enjoying the here and now, practicing gratitude, and mentally reframing the events that occur in our lives in a positive direction. The truth that joy and happiness derive from sources beyond any physical or material acquisition or achievement is evidenced by the fact that happiness often has little to do with the actual events and gains in our lives and more to do with our beliefs, thoughts, and mindset. Happiness is a state of mind.

Enjoy the Present Moment 

Focus on the world around you and what you are doing at this present moment. When drinking your morning coffee, notice the warmth of your cup and the smell of the aroma. Resist the temptation to run a list through your mind of the things you need to do. Instead, relish the moment and enjoy each sip. Do this in all activities throughout your day.  When we are able to enjoy the present moment, we can experience greater joy and happiness. Being in the here and now means acknowledging and feeling what our senses perceive in the present moment. Our thoughts are not on events of the past, which often contributes to depression, or what may happen in the future, which can lead to anxiety and worry. When we remain mindful, in the present moment, our mind and physical body are in harmony, and we can achieve a greater sense of peace and fulfillment in the moment.

Enjoying the present moment is a habit that takes practice, and the more you do so, the easier it will become. Neuroscientists know that habitual behaviors are controlled by the basal ganglia in the brain, which also plays a role in the development of memories and emotions. The more skilled we become at a task, the easier it is to repeat that behavior without much cognitive effort. By repeatedly concentrating on the present, you develop a habit of allowing joy to enter. You will feel more energized and focused and you will find new and exciting meaning in little things that previously escaped your attention. Time continues to march on whether we relish the present moment, or live in frustration and in a constant state of activity.  Cherish every moment you have and you will see a natural increase in your level of joy.

Get Into Gratitude

Gratitude is the recognition of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and appreciation. Psychologists and researchers on happiness know that there is an association between gratitude and overall sense of well-being. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in a positive affective state such as gratitude, leads to happiness. Experiencing feelings of joy strengthens the connections in your brain’s reward circuitry.

Taking time to acknowledge what we are grateful for helps the mind to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, and directly influences our experiences of joy and happiness. Being grateful is related to the here and now, as gratitude brings our awareness to the present: We are, for the moment, not focused on the losses of the past or the potential burdens that the future holds. Instead, we are focused on the present and grateful for what now brings.

Reframe Life Events

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. Being happy involves looking beyond your current situation and allowing yourself to feel joy. Say to yourself, “Despite my circumstances, I choose joy.” Reframing the events that occur in our lives involves producing positive, alternative actions and beliefs to the challenges and stressors that we confront rather than seeing events in a negative or catastrophic way. When we look at ourselves, others, and events in our environment in a positive light, we are better able to not only handle challenges more successfully, but we also develop and maintain positive self-esteem, with both factors contributing to greater joy and happiness.

Synchronize Your Brainwaves 

Listening to brainwave music has been proven to increase endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals, and to promote balance and synchronization between the two hemispheres of your brain. When the brain’s activities become balanced, the brain performs most efficiently and you begin to feel better both physically and emotionally, increasing your joy and decreasing your stress. By quieting your mind and immersing your focus in pure, brainwave frequencies, you will easily and effortlessly restore the natural balance of your mind and body and increase feelings of harmony, wellness, and tranquility. The constant hustle of life’s daily demands can leave you feeling stressed and overworked. Listening to brainwave music each day in a quiet meditative state, will increase your feelings of joy and wellbeing and allow you to be more productive and mindful throughout the rest of your day.  It will also leave you feeling pampered and refreshed!

In our constant search for meaning in life, we may fail to realize that right nowin this moment, is the source of true joy and happiness that we seek. The harmonies of brainwave music serve to transport us to a place where we don’t need to search and struggle anymore…we only need to close our eyes, relax, and allow our senses to take us there.