Bring the Joy

Every day we have a choice. Either to put a frown on our face and be miserable or to smile and be happy. The attitude we present to others and to the world strongly influences what feelings come back to us.

Trying to spread joy to others is one of my favourite things to do. It’s a habit that anyone can try. Happiness and joy are contagious — if you can inspire positivity in others, it makes any given moment so much better.

If you’re feeling down and don’t feel like you have any joy to spread, then you need to approach social situations with a different mindset. Annoyed by getting stuck in traffic, or your bus was late? Perhaps someone you know mistreated you earlier, or stress from your work is affecting the other areas of your life. If this is the case, you need to get better at transitioning between different activities.

Bringing a negative mood from a previous activity to your next activity is rarely a good thing to do, but it’s an ingrained habit most of us are unaware of. Bringing a bad mood to your next conversation is a choice. Affirming to yourself that you’re going to let go of the stress you feel when you take time to relax. Making sure that if you get angry at another person, the next person you talk to shouldn’t notice it (unless they witnessed it).

Taking a minute to breathe is a great way to put your negative feelings aside, ready for your next activity. Focussing on each and every breath, not trying to control it, just observing its speed, depth, and sensation in the body. It’s a form of meditation — if you practice meditation regularly, it will become easier to release yourself from stress and anger. Taking a short walk is another way you can achieve a similar effect.

So, what can we do to create joy?


If you’re talking to someone and you try and put a smile on your face, it should bring a greater sense of happiness to the person you’re talking to, and in turn, their elevated mood should reflect back onto you. Not only have you tried to elevate someone else’s day, but it also bounces back — their smile makes your day better as well.

Now if you talk to someone and have a frown on your face, complaining about things outside of your control and how badly you’ve been treated by so and so, you’re also dragging their mood down as well. I’m not saying that you should bottle up all your problems and not let others know what you’re going through, but often the things that are getting complained about the most are completely outside of control. Talking about the things that aren’t going well has its time and place, though it definitely shouldn’t be your default state of being.

You may think it’s not a choice, that it’s something that depends on your mood and circumstances. Even if you feel down, simply trying to hold a smile for 30 seconds helps lift your mood and reduce stress. You’d think that you smile because you feel happy, not the other way around — oddly enough the reverse also holds to some extent. It’s effectively the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach.

Expressing Gratitude

I talked a lot about gratitude a few posts ago, so I won’t talk about it too much here — though it’s such an important habit and skill. Expressing gratitude to someone will make them smile 95% of the time, it makes it much easier to spark a positive vibe into any conversation.

If you’ve been venting about a problem you have, perhaps consider thanking the person listening for hearing what you had to say. If you’ve just listened to someone else’s vent, or if they’re feeling sad, gratitude and kindness can make their day just a little bit better.

Reframing criticism

How often is unconstructive criticism necessary? A good rule of thumb is: never. Though criticism itself is often vital to improvement. Instead of providing unconstructive criticism, try replacing it with constructive criticism or encouragement. Mixing something constructive with encouragement is probably the best option.

After giving criticism to someone else, follow it up with a sentence or two of encouragement. If you just criticise, you can make them feel bad. You can come across as cold or even make them angry. Adding words of encouragement turns the negative into something neutral or positive. Both people can come out of it better while getting the point across.

The present moment

In most situations, you can always try and focus on the present moment. Being present and grounded prevents you from worrying and stressing over the future and feeling down from experiences in the past. If you could be 100% immersed in the present, you wouldn’t feel much negative emotion unless it was being caused in that moment. You can choose to try and experience happy thoughts or notice that you could be doing something better. Releasing tension from things that happened earlier is part of this principle too.

Being immersed in the present moment doesn’t mean doing whatever is expedient, if work needs doing and your not doing anything then being in the present makes you realise that working on it is probably the best thing you can be doing at that time. Being grounded in the present helps release you from negative emotions caused by past and future. It makes you more open to experiencing joy and happiness in any given moment, making it easier for you to share.

When you are joyful, life becomes almost effortless. Appreciating the present moment for what it is, rather than being trapped in regret of the past or the potential of a better future. Feeling joy yourself and sharing it with the world is so powerful. So, are you going to choose to bring your complaints and your bad mood with you, or are you going to take the courage to bring the joy to every situation that you can?