One of the most amazing and extraordinary stories of joy in the midst of extreme challenge is that of Paul the Apostle’s imprisonment. He was imprisoned in Rome twice. During his first imprisonment, he was able to write four of the New Testament epistles, including Philippians which scholars say is the most joyful and encouraging of all the epistles he wrote.
For a man to be in that situation (take note that the Romans during his time were quite known to be brutal in handing out punishment) and still exude happiness, one would have to think that he was delusional and have gone insane.
But he was not. What helped him get through was his faith and how he kept things in perspective. And while we don’t need to go through something as horrible as what he went through, it is possible for us to also find happiness even if we’re knee-deep in our troubles.
7 Ways to Be Happy and Joyful Even If You’re Faced with Difficulties
1. Appreciate the small things.
In a world where achievement and success are measured by money and fame, we often equate these with happiness. Actor Jim Carrey is quoted as having said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
We need to learn how to appreciate the smaller things in life. A good laugh. A nice warm cup of coffee. The sound of birds in the morning. The smell of freshly-baked bread. A child’s innocence and naivete. Its small things like these that — when we add them up — can more than make our day.
2. Get some exercise.
Exercise is known to release endorphins — the feel-good chemicals — in our bodies that boost our mood and make us feel great about ourselves. The next time you’re feeling depressed, try jogging through the park or working out at the gym.
3. Have a grateful heart.
If you’re feeling lonely and tried out the latest executive dating service but things didn’t go your way with your match, it’s okay. Be thankful anyway. Think of it as a serendipitous provision. Perhaps things would not have worked out with the other person.
Vying for a car loan before the pandemic but you got denied? Be grateful. The rejection in your application would have probably saved you from greater financial woes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Learn how to look at things from a different perspective and you’ll see plenty of reasons to rejoice.
4. Dress in whatever makes you happy and feel good.
Now that a lot of people are doing remote work because of COVID-19, depression and anxiety attacks (not to mention cabin fever) are likely to pounce on you unless you do something about it. If you’re stuck at home and can’t go out, dress up fancily (or funny, depends on what you want) for no particular reason.
Sometimes, dressing up in clothes that make you look good can also make you feel good about yourself. Put some makeup on as you prepare dinner. Dress up in a superhero costume for your daily workout. Have some fun even if you’re stuck at home. Let the child in you get loose.
5. Set new goals to challenge you.
Perhaps your feelings of sadness are caused by boredom and monotony. Think of new ways to challenge yourself. Set net goals that will excite, energize, and motivate you. Maybe all you need is a disruption in your routine.
6. Laugh and make people laugh.
They say laughter is the best medicine. It is free and very effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and sadness. Even if you don’t feel like laughing, laugh anyway. Similar to exercise, laughing produces endorphins which instantly give us a much-needed mood-booster, albeit temporarily.
Take it a step further and try to make people laugh, too. Sing, dance, be silly, and laugh a lot. Laughter is not just contagious but also influential.
7. Be true to yourself.
Lastly, be yourself. Accept the fact that you cannot please everyone. Going out of your way to perform before people to make a good impression will take its toll on your mind and body. There’s no point in impressing people who don’t matter. You’ll find that the people who matter to you and those that value you do not need you to put your best foot forward. They will accept you for who you are.
Do away with all the phony facades and just let your real self show. It is quite liberating once you do it.
Finding joy in times of sorrow will require a paradigm shift on your part. You need to break certain mindsets and train your mind to take a look at things from different perspectives. Only when you step out of your comfort zone will you experience a greater level of joy and happiness. You just need to step out.