How to Find Joy from The Gift of Daily Life

how to find joy

Everyone wants to be happy and find joy. But, how to find joy? Reading someone story about happiness will help you to reflect on your own story. Looking back on my past self 5 years ago, Since I was born from a poor family, so I thought that the path to happiness is to have a good career and money.

In my early 20s, I was having a smooth career. This was the life I wanted (or so I thought). I worked for more than 40hrs per week and often hustled until weekend.

On the contrary, I have a closed friend who has a different concept of happiness. She said that she is okay to become a staff for her entire life.

“Are you sure you want to be a manager?” asked her. “I don’t want to become a manager or a director, because that means a lot of responsibility and a stressful life.” She added.

For a moment, I baffled. If I don’t pursue a good career, then how can I build a happy life? That’s what I thought. Why the heck I should choose a simpler life?

However, when I hit a culmination of burnout and diagnosed with GERD, my mindset changed drastically.

I was so tired from 3 years of burnout. That’s enough, this gave me a depression.

Maybe 3 years sounds not so much for other people. But, that means to stop the burnout sooner. If we can stop the burnout sooner, why not? Why we need to suffer until we retire, only to find out that we got sick in our retirement?

I really did not expect to develop GERD. Confirmed by the doctor, overtime work and stress are the primary causes of the illness.

I also struggled with consumerism. I purchase things for recreation. To alleviate my stress. But, still, my depression is not getting better.

Consumerism is never the answer for depression. If any, this only left me with small savings but an illness to my body. I hope you don’t experience the same thing.

The illnesses in my body is a strong signal that I have to change my life. To change my concept of happiness.

I always remember what my friend said. To live a simpler life. That it’s okay to walk opposite with the career “growth”. To slow down. To find peace. To take back our lives, and find joy.

Well, it tooks me 3 years to fully understand her point on slow living. A simple concept, but so powerful! Why I didn’t realize this at first?

Then, I downgraded my job to a non-profit organization. Turns out, this is the best decision in my life (during my mid-20s, for the exact).

What amazes me is that even though I don’t receive a health insurance from my NGO, I don’t get sick. I never get hospitalized since I start working there from 2019 until I write this article, in 2021. If any, the GERD, migraines, and burn out are alleviated. I catch a cold a few times, but it was mild and can be cured with an over the counter medicine. Also, I improve my relationship with my friends and my partner. I socialized more.

Of course, at first I hesitated to downgrade my job. For most of us, the fear of lowering our image in the Linkedin profile seems so strong so that we seldom see the opportunities that lie ahead.

However, opportunities are not always about financial growth. After all, so many things that cannot be measured with economic value.

The uncountable opportunity is to have a joyful life. To stress less, to live happier.

How to Find Joy in Everyday Life

Most often, happiness comes from simple things that we often neglect. Happiness doesn’t related with money and job. And this means a good news for us. That means we can cultivate happiness in our daily life. Everyone can find happiness from the daily life.

We can find joy from the things that we already have.

Let’s find out the 5 simple things that we often neglect but so fundamental to bring us joy.

1. Health

When we were sick, what we long for the most? That is, wake up without facing any cold, cracks, or illness. Most often, we take a healthy life for granted. Just in time when we face sickness, we’re longing to be healthy.

Health is a great wealth that we can have. I remember when I got daily migraines and gut problems, and that’s awful. I am grateful that the illnesses has gone.

However, we don’t need to despise any illness. When you are not healthy right now, just be aware everything will change. This, too, shall pass.

It’s the up to us whether we want to take an illness as a lesson or a curse. We can always choose to make the best of our life whether we are healthy or not.

Are you chronically ill? “Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to your ability to choose, unless that is your choice,” Epictetus once uttered. Wouldn’t it be a challenge to make your life worth living despite the fact you’re sick? Many people do. And they are humanity’s greatest inspirations.

Einzelgänger – Stoicism for Inner Peace

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2. Nature

how to find joy

Isn’t that great to feel the fresh air, sunshine, and chirping birds in the morning? This is what I experience every morning when I open my window. And I’m not living out of nowhere in a rural area. I live in an apartment in a metropolitan city.

Yes, I know, not everyone can hear chirping birds in the morning. However, when we know where to look, nature is always within our reach. Even if you’re staying at home.

Don’t believe it? Just try to open the window. Look at the sky and see the sun. See the clouds. Observe the weather. Look at some trees or plants nearby (is there a squirrel?). Practice mindful breathing to savor the refreshing air. Maybe, you will see some cats or dogs passed by!

To find joy, you don’t need to travel somewhere far. When we are mindful, we can touch the nature, wherever we are.

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3. Time

How many of us think that we don’t have time? Actually, we have wasted our time so much. Without realizing it, we waste our time on mindless activity. Scrolling social media costs us 4 to 5 hours a day, and yet we think that we don’t have much time. While this issue already caught up our attention, but yet, we haven’t changed much. The pandemic doesn’t make us any better because it makes us increase our screen time.

Besides for work, we rationalize our screen time to make us happy. But, does it?

Even when we think screen time will makes us happy, we still think we need more time. We think we need more time to do things that makes us happy. To have rest, to do our hobbies, or have self-care. Well then, isn’t it obvious? Social media doesn’t make us any happier. Because life is flesh and blood. Life is physical.

Savoring our time on physical things will give us different happiness than spending time on social media. We have plenty of time waiting to be utilized wisely.

Time is a precious wealth that we cannot replace, extend, or substitute with anything else. As Seneca the Stoic philosopher used to say:

Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity—time!

And yet time is the one loan that even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

Seneca, On Saving Time
social media detox

4. People around us

Even if we realize it or not, we can sustain our life with the help of the people around us. The easiest way to tell is to recognize our closest circle. Which are, of course, our family, partner, friends, or coworkers. But, when we look deeply, the strangers we don’t know helps us to live, too.

It might be the cashier in the minimarket, the chef in the food truck, the janitor in the office, or the delivery man who gets our food. We might simply think, oh well, but it’s their job, anyway! Sure, it is their job to provide the things they do. But, isn’t that great? Their job helps our life. We also have a job and do our work. Our job helps other people, too, in the way we don’t realize directly. We unconsciously help each other to support our life.

When we are being grateful to the people around us, we can see a spark of miracles in the everyday life.

finding joy

5. Basic needs; food, clothes, and shelter

Imagine you wake up and find out that your home was damaged by an earthquake. You don’t have any food to eat, your belongings are gone, and you don’t know where to sleep this night. What would you feel? 

You might feel awful and devastated. How can one survive without food, clothes, and shelter?

Now, let’s go back to the reality. Remember that you are safe in your home, the food is stacked in your fridge, and your belongings are safe. What a relief!

Most often, we take our basic needs for granted. Yet, we can’t live without our home, water, food, and clothes (and maybe wifi). It’s like the diamond and water paradox; water is taken for granted and diamonds are valued higher than water. That’s because we often think that an item is valuable by attaching a monetary value to it.

But, the good things in live doesn’t need much money. We don’t need a diamond to buy a decent food. The basic needs is all we need to survive in this world.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

Lao Tzu

Let’s recognize the miracles of life

Every time you think you want “something” to be happy, pause for a moment and think mindfully. Do you really need to buy that pair of shoes, the getaway trip, or the job promotion? Does someone tell you to do so? Maybe you have watched an ad before?

Look at our surroundings and realize the things we already have. We can feel happy when we look deeply to see the miracles of life. We don’t need to go somewhere far to see the miracles.

Around us, life bursts forth with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops.

If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere.

Thich Nhat Hanh – Your True Home

By recognizing the simple miracles in our daily life, we can cultivate happiness every day. When we’re mindful, we can find joy in everyday life.

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