Who doesn’t want more joy in their lives? Now, let’s be clear, I’m not talking about happiness here. Happiness is fantastic when you’re happy. But you cannot be happy all the time. Happiness is fleeting. It is a momentary state of being. Joy, on the other hand, is something you can choose. You can intentionally choose joy in your life. And you can choose it daily. So, what is joy? And, how do I get more of it?
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As moms, we have a hard time letting go. We especially have a hard time letting go of the little details of life, like the crumbs on the sofa or the trail of toys leading to an even bigger mess just waiting to be cleaned up.
Letting go of the little things sometimes feels like a constant drain on our energy. But the real reason we’re so reluctant to let go is because underneath we are scared.
We fear others will judge us for our messy house, for not disciplining our children the right way or for the many other imperfections in our lives. We fear we are not good enough as parents, as wives, or in other roles we have in our lives.
Fear also comes in the form of anxiety and stress brought on by serious issues that are out of our control, like paying an unexpected medical bill or dealing with the illness of a close relative.
To feel better, we self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, we watch mindless TV, we eat unhealthy foods, we argue with those we love the most, and then we feel worse.
It is so easy for these behaviors to turn into a cycle that perpetuates more fear.
How can we break this cycle of fear? We can break it by choosing joy in our lives. And choosing it every day.
Below I’ve listed four simple ways for moms to choose joy daily. If you turn this simple recipe into a daily routine you will be on the path to choosing joy.
4 Simple Ways To Choose Joy Daily
One: First things first – start the day in prayer or meditation.
The first thing you can do each morning is to spend time in prayer or meditation. If you are a believer, begin your day in conversation with God, praising Him, thanking Him, and asking Him for His truth to guide you throughout your day. Spend time in prayerful meditation, by reading the word, and by reflecting on the day ahead.
Even if you are not a believer, you should still begin your day in meditation. Research has shown that daily meditation has both physical and mental benefits.
I’m currently working on adding centering prayer to my morning routine. If you want to learn more about centering prayer, I highly recommend taking a look at Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.
For me, this daily routine of quiet contemplation is the essential first step in choosing joy each day.
Two: Spend some time taking care of the pilot.
If you’ve ever flown with a child, you’re familiar with being told to secure your oxygen mask before helping others. We cannot help others until we’ve first taken care of ourselves.
For us moms, that means we must strengthen our minds and bodies so they are operating as they should be. We must fill our vessels with things that will grow our minds and strengthen our bodies.
- Read books that fill you with inspiration and encourage you to live by example.
- Go for a run or a bike ride to get your endorphins flowing.
- Go on a nature walk where your spirit will be rejuvenated by God’s masterpiece.
- Get enough sleep.
- Make healthy food choices.
By making time for the activities that will recharge and refresh you, you will notice a change in your attitude. It seems so simple, but by changing your attitude you can change your life.
Three: Cultivate Relationships With Those In Your Life
We are made to be in community with others. When we spend time cultivating relationships with those we spend time with, we will begin to see life through the eyes of others. In the words of Stephen Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “we must seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
By spending time listening to others and learning about them, we are better able to cultivate a relationship that is deep in meaning.
If it is your children you spend your days with, get down on the floor and play with them. For me, this often means dressing my kids up and playing Batman and Robin around the house.
I totally understand that this can be so hard to do when you have a million other things you need to accomplish in a day. But even 10-20 minutes of child-led play a day will do wonders in cultivating your relationship with your child. So let go of your to-do list for just a little a bit and lean into joy.
So let go of your to-do list for just a little a bit and lean into joy.
Four: Reflect on what you’ve done (not on what you need to do)
At the end of the day, we often feel as though we didn’t do enough. We didn’t check enough items off of our to-do list; we didn’t make the right decision in disciplining our children; we simply didn’t get enough done.
Please, don’t fall into the trap of thinking like this; it is unhealthy, and it is tearing apart your heart and soul.
Mommas, you must break this cycle. It’s going to take a change in your mindset. It’s going take hard work, but it’s so worth it. Shift your focus from thinking about what you’ve failed to accomplish during the day, and instead, reflect on the things you did do. You got out of bed today, you loved your children, you showed up in your life. Whatever you did today, it’s enough. You are enough.
Keep a mental note of your accomplishments or, better yet, keep a journal of them. The important thing is that you make time to reflect on your accomplishments at the end of each day. Then let go of the things you didn’t accomplish. It is okay; you are enough.
I challenge you to follow this recipe to nourish your minds, bodies, and souls. When you do these four things every day, your hearts will be open to choosing joy daily.
You can request my Free Daily Inspiration Planner and Journal by using the form below to help you with this challenge. This daily planner incorporates these 4 steps in your daily schedule.
Moms, you can choose joy, and you can choose it daily. I trust in you. I know you can do it.
With Love and Joy,