Choose joy. It sounds simple right? Have you heard of the saying “you don’t find a happy life, you make it?” Is it really that easy? When you wake up in the morning how do you choose joy? As a former school psychologist I am always interested in learning about people, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I loved learned about CBT in graduate school and I’m interested in how our thoughts can dictate our feelings. Sometimes I find myself waking up with a poor attitude and I can almost guarantee I will feel frustrated, disappointed, or mad at some point in the day if I don’t consciously choose to change. So I decided to write a list of things I can do to choose joy. I believe it’s a choice, happiness doesn’t just randomly happen. The Bible tells us in John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus knows we will all face difficult things and finding happiness and peace may be hard. But he reminds us in Him we may have peace.
How to Choose Joy
- Gratitude = I’ve talked about gratitude before, but it is so important I need to mention it again. When I start to speak out loud the things I am thankful for, something changes in the atmosphere. It may start out as simple as “I’m thankful I have a house.” There are so many scriptures telling us to be thankful. So how do we do this? Start a gratitude journal, a blessings jar, speak thankfulness aloud, or tell someone in your family 2 reasons everyday why you are thankful.
- Hold Thoughts Captive = The Bible tells us to hold every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), but what does this mean? For me it means thinking about what I’m thinking about. Are you like me and do you have 50 different thoughts running through your head at the same time? If I am quiet and listen to my thoughts I can start to weed out the negative thinking and the positive thinking. “I wish my life….” or “If I could just….” are thoughts I need to get control of! I can’t choose joy when I am worried about silly things or wishing my life away. The Bible tells us to think about lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent things (Philippians 4:8). Are you doing this?
- Simplify = Get rid of the extra stuff in your life. When I feel stressed it’s usually because I have too much going on. It is okay to say “no” and find time for yourself. Occasionally, I look at my daily activities and see if I truly “need” to be doing everything on my list. I find peace and an easier time choosing joy when I’m not stressed with 10 different deadlines and a screaming baby.
- Variety = One of my dear friends recently told me about adding variety to her daughter’s life and how I may want to try this with Izzy. She was so right! Variety truly is the spice of life. Sometimes we need to do spontaneous things and get out of the house. It’s easy to get bogged down with household chores, making the best dinners, the perfect Pinterest craft, etc. But it’s okay to forget all of that once in a while and go do something fun!
- Let it Go = What truly matters in life? For me, it’s Jesus. Do you have an eternal perspective or are you living in the hustle of this world? When I start worrying about earthly possessions I need to remind myself about true happiness. Again for me, joy comes from my Heavenly Father. Nothing can satisfy me like He can. Sometimes we need to let go of the things of this world and cling to Jesus.
What would you add to this list? How do you choose joy?