The best secret to staying happy in life is finding joy in the little things, especially if you’re experiencing heartbreak. Enjoying the little things will not only contribute to your happiness, but it will also help you heal.
I remember when I was in so much pain after the breakdown of my marriage, I couldn’t find joy anywhere. I would see someone do something as simple as reading a novel, something I had always enjoyed doing, and I thought I would never enjoy it again.
The pain was colossal, and I didn’t find an ounce of sunshine.
Slowly, I realized I had to find small ways to feel good every single day. Otherwise, I would have kept slipping further into the dark.
Ironically, picking up a novel was what started to bring me joy again. It was a way to distract myself from my situation.
I started focusing on self-care again and found a little joy hiding in my face cream. Smoothing on the freshly scented lotion will make me feel like myself again. You come back to life.
Deep breathing, focusing on just the present moment, prayer, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), snuggling with my daughter, reading a book to her, and baking with her were some of the ways I added so much joy to my day.
I’m not talking about jumping for joy.
It’s hard to go from heartbreak to complete joy. It takes a little focus to find ways to reduce stress that can move you in the direction of joy.
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It can surprise you because while you focus on the little things, one day you look up and your heart feels joyful again.
Joy is your birthright. It is an ongoing process that you need to focus on daily.
I found refuge in God every morning and praying for God’s will is what filled my heart with peace. I have always been spiritual, but I have found this peace and joy through my conscious contact with God and Spirit every single day.
This is also what has been helping me in my grief journey after suddenly losing my mom one year ago.
I know there is no better way to honor her than to continue living my life by seeking happiness in and around me. Some days it is much more difficult than others. But I still remind myself what you want for me. My mom’s greatest legacy is the love she had for her family which brought her so much joy.
Here are some ways to add joy to your day every day.
21 Way to Find Joy in Small Things (Even After Sadness)
This is the most important step to finding some immediate pain relief. Anxiety and fear were my constant companions after the end of my marriage and after the loss of my mother.
Praying for me was to take my worries and fears to God/Spirit to lighten the burden on me. I felt the weight lifted as I turned to prayer daily. This is what helped me see the world in color again.
- Present moment awareness.
I started to focus only on what I should be doing in every moment of my day. I wouldn’t allow myself to look ahead even at night which was the worst when I was in sharp pain.
The anticipation of the approaching dark night makes me anxious. So I focused instead on what I needed to do in each moment and added a few things each day that made me feel a little better and the night would come and I would be fine.
There are many studies done on the power of gratitude. Even if you say you can’t find one thing to be grateful for, there is.
Pick one thing every day if that’s all you can come up with. Work on a daily practice of 1-3 minutes a day and see your life-changing perspective.
- Congratulate yourself.
Congratulate yourself for completing something you had to push yourself to do, such as taking out the trash. Every time you do this, you add another notch to your self-confidence.
- Looking forward to something.
Plan something like a massage that you can look forward to. This does not interfere with staying in the moment. Doing so can give your heart a little jump reminding you that there are still good things in the world.
- Reframe the way you view your tasks/responsibilities.
I remember right after my ex-husband left; I will resist doing simple housework. The thought of buying groceries filled me with dread. I spent more time anticipating having to go to the store, and that chore took hours.
Finding ways to “enjoy” this task was due to me reframing how I thought about it. I’ll make a special Saturday morning out of it.
The grocery store I was shopping at had a hot breakfast buffet and a sit-down coffee shop. I would take my daughter and have our “special” breakfast and then go shopping. Getting out of the house early and getting done while spending quality time with my daughter felt good.
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- Spend time alone to allow yourself to be.
Waking up in the morning earlier than your family can be a great time to think or just stay still. I like to do this with a hot cup of coffee or tea before my day starts to the whirlwind. It fills me with a peace that allows little bubbles of joy to emerge.
- Cook your favorite meal.
It doesn’t have to be a recipe with lots of ingredients and a million steps. My favorite dish is the capellini (gluten-free) pasta with stewed tomatoes mashed in olive oil and garlic with Locatelli cheese.
I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. It used to be an after-school snack for me. It brings me relief and I do it when I need to nourish my heart and soul. It feels good to me. Find your dish that evokes those feelings of comfort and peace.
- Drive and listen to your favorite music.
I love driving and when I’m listening to my favorite music I feel like I can take on the world. It’s that powerful for me. I get most of my creative ideas when I do this. Even during the pain of the initial breakup, this helped me.
- Do something creative.
Maybe you had a knack for something creative when you were younger that you loved. Never do it again. The nostalgia for a happy time in your life along with the joy of doing what you love can fill your heart with peace and joy.
- Buy your favorite flowers or plant your favorite shrub in your garden.
Flowers make me happy. I often buy myself fresh flowers and put them in vases that I have collected over the years. While driving, I find myself looking at other people’s flower gardens and feeling elated when I see brightly colored flowers blooming.
Pick an area of your home that causes you stress. At first, you may feel that pulling your hair would be better than doing this, but you’ll feel a lot better when you’re done.
Again, try reframing your thoughts about doing the cleaning work or stepping back from feeling like you’re getting rid of old energy that you no longer need.
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- Stop worrying about what other people think of you.
This one thing can hinder our joy. Here is a little secret. Nobody cares what you do. This does not mean that no one cares about you. It just means that they are too busy worrying about their lives. We think other people judge and talk about us nonstop, but it just isn’t true.
And even if they do judge from time to time, it’s about who they are and has nothing to do with you. The freedom that comes from not caring what other people think or say about you is crucial to finding happiness again.
- Surrender to your circumstances.
Surrendering who you are now will provide instant relief. Drown in acceptance of what happened and give it to God.
You don’t even have to figure out how to change things in your life yet. Simply immersing yourself in the realization that your life has changed is enough to open a new door of peace and joy.
- Find ways to laugh.
I remember when I was in so much pain, I would comfort friends and laugh until I cried. Laughter can heal a broken heart. It releases endorphins that can make us feel good.
- Be nice to another person.
Giving to another person in need makes us feel good. Try doing simple, random acts of kindness toward someone you know needs to feel happy again, too.
- Get some sun.
Sitting on a porch or deck soaking up the sun has a way of soothing the soul. Not to mention, Vitamin D is considered a happy vitamin. Just 15 minutes without sunscreen can help you absorb your daily vitamin D needs.
- Be honest and find out who you are. Joy is our birthright.
When life gets messy, the barriers we erect cover our joy. Take some time to get to know the “real” you.
what do you want? What are your interests? Answering these questions will return you to your normal inner state. This is where you will find the joy that eludes you.
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- Spend time with someone in your life that you trust like a good friend or sibling.
These people do not judge us. They will just let you be. I remember when I was going through horrible emotional pain, the greatest gift I ever received was when a friend of mine sat on the other end of the phone to hold space for me while I cried.
I am forever grateful for this seemingly “little” act of kindness, but it fills my heart with joy every time I think of it.
- Take a walk through the woods.
Being in nature and among the trees is very healing. This is something you can do on your own or with your kids. Kids thrive when they’re outside in nature, so it’s a win-win situation.
There is evidence that even faking a smile can be beneficial and still release “feel good” neurotransmitters. Try it. You have nothing to lose.
Grieving a loss through a breakup or divorce takes time as well as the loss of someone you love through death. However, simply moving through time does not heal a broken heart. Being proactive in your healing journey is what can change your life.
Reach out for support, lean on your friends and family, and find ways to heal your heart and soul so you can finally move forward with a happy heart.
I wish you a lot of love,