Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Joyful: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published Apr 14th, 2021 & updated on Dec 7th, 2021
When we talk about our emotions, it seems like it’s usually the negative ones. That’s not a bad thing! It’s helpful to work through our tough feelings and let them all out as needed. But ya know what we should talk about more? Feeling joyful! All of the GOOD feelings, really. ‘Cause talking about how happy we are and how good we feel is severely underrated! Maybe we talk about it less because 1) we don’t wanna humble brag and 2) we can get into a habit of being fixers or problem solvers. We’re always trying to work our way “through” something, usually stress or anxiety about whatever is going on in our lives. And nobody’s looking for a cure for happiness… that would be ridiculous, right?!
But we’re here to tell you that recognizing your happiness is super important. We should all be talking about our joy when we feel it! So let’s dive thru feeling joyful and how to embrace this all around happy emotion.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Joyful
To get more technical, what does it mean to feel joyful? APA Dictionary defines joy as: “n. a feeling of extreme gladness, delight, or exaltation of the spirit arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction.” WOW. That’s quite a definition. But it’s pretty spot on, wouldn’t ya say?
When we feel happiness, it can be from a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with our lives. And that can look totally different for everyone! We might experience happiness from our job, or pursuing an education and continuing to learn. Our personal relationships with family, friends and romantic partners can bring us a lot of joy if the relationships are healthy and positive. Feeling cared for, loved, appreciated and recognized in all areas of our life can be so important for our mental wellbeing.
A few simple ways to maintain more joy in our lives is to appreciate the moment and implement intrinsic motivation. For a lot of us, we might focus so much on the future and achieving milestones that we forget to appreciate the present and the little things that make us happy. This can cause us to feel more stress and anxiety in the long run. Intrinsic motivation allows us to pursue our goals and activities just because we enjoy them, without setting expectations for external awards. Take running for example. You don’t have to set goals for your runs, or train for a marathon if you don’t feel like it. Run simply because it’s something that makes you happy and feel good! No strings attached. Doing things that bring us happiness without a reward or punishment in mind can be a great shift in mindset.
How Feeling Joyful Shows Up Mentally
Your mental wellbeing improves significantly when you’re joyful. You’re probably thinking: nooo, ya don’t say?! But we’re here to shout it from the rooftops! ‘Cause joy is an underrated emotion and we need to talk about it more. Let’s look at all of the positive symptoms that feeling joyful provides for your mental health:
- Lifts your mood
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases attentiveness and focus
- Boosts productivity
- Sparks creativity
- Improves analytical skills
- Promotes good thoughts
- Increases motivation
When we feel joy, our brains release the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin throughout your body. Since your mind is so happy, it wants the rest of your body to feel good, too! Awww, isn’t that so sweet?!
How Feeling Joyful Shows Up Physically
Did ya know that happiness has some great physical benefits too, not just mental? It’s true! When you feel joyful, your body reacts in positive ways. Here are a few physical symptoms you might experience when you’re jumping for joy:
- Reduces cortisol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens immune system
- Provides better sleep
- Improves digestion
- Reduces pain
- Lengthens lifespan
Clearly, joy is great for your overall health. Even when you’re feeling down, you can actually trick yourself into feeling happier. It might sound like B.S. but would we lie to you?! Try this out: whenever you’re feeling blue, try smiling or telling yourself a stupid joke that will make you laugh. Your mind perceives smiling as you feeling joy, even if it’s fake! Guess the saying “fake it til’ you make it” has some truth there.
5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Joyful
Now, how do we enjoy this good feeling while it lasts? We’ve got just the strategies for you! Try out some of these methods for yourself. They will bring a lil’ extra joy in your life, guaranteed!
1. Move Your Body
We’ve got one word for you: endorphins. We know that exercise boosts endorphins, which make you happy! Even if physical activity isn’t your fave, there’s lots of fun ways to get active. Go for a walk, run, swim, bike, rock climbing, yoga, you name it. Dance around your room to a fun playlist like nobody’s watching, if that’s more your style! Whatever way you like, just get movin’.
2. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk
Speaking to ourselves positively has been shown to improve our mental wellness. Does it feel silly and weird at first? Maybeee a bit. But it’s a great habit to start, so why not give it a shot? Tell yourself what you like about yourself, what you’re proud of and what makes you feel joy. You might surprise yourself!
3. Connect With A Friend
Our true friends are there for us when we need them most by making our day a little brighter. So why not connect with a friend and pass on the good vibes you’re feeling?! Ask to go out for a coffee, a nice stroll in the park, or even FaceTime just to catch up. Spending time with our friends is a great way to maintain our good spirits!
Try writing out exactly how you’re feeling and what made you feel this way. Can’t stop smiling because you received a nice compliment? Feel on top of the world thanks to your amazing test score? Expressing your feelings can give you clarity and feels really great, so jot it all down in detail! Your hand might start to cramp, but so what? Totally worth it.
5. Practice Gratitude
Noticing the positives in life is great, and showing gratitude for them is even better! That might include writing a list of things that bring you joy, volunteering in your community, or showing acts of kindness to the people who make your life better. It honestly feels great for everyone involved, so why not try it out for yourself!
Okay, you little ray of sunshine. That’s all we have for now! We hope this made your day even brighter, and that you radiate some of that good energy to the people around you. Chances are, they could use some joy, too!