Introduced in 1995, National Assisted Living Week gives us the opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our team members, as well as highlight how assisted living enriches the lives of residents and their families. Celebrated the week after the Labor Day, the theme highlights an important facet of assisted living and changes annually. This year’s theme is Joyful Moments, and is a reminder to pay attention to the things that bring us joy.
People often use happiness and joy interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between the two. Webster’s defines happiness as a “state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” Joy is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” Happiness is typically caused by a person or event and can be fleeting, while joy is a sustained feeling of contentment that goes deeper and is longer lasting.
Read on to discover ways to cultivate a more joyful life.
Tips for Creating Joyful Moments
Creating joyful moments doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Following are some simple ideas to help you get started.
- Make a list. If you’re goal is to cultivate a more joyful life, creating a list of the things you look forward to is a great place to start. Maybe it is curling up with a good book or meeting a friend for coffee. Or it could be spending time outdoors or enjoying a really good meal. Once you have created your list, make sure you incorporate those activities in your schedule regularly, and update your list as needed.
- Practice gratitude daily. Whether you choose to keep a journal or simply meditate on what you are thankful for, there are physical and psychological benefits to showing gratitude. Dopamine and serotonin – neurotransmitters that make us feel good – are released when we express gratitude. Regularly practicing gratitude can also help improve your sleep and reduce anxiety and depression.
- Look for joyful moments. Joy can be found in big moments like milestone birthdays or anniversaries, as well as quieter moments such as reading a book or sharing a laugh with a friend. Train yourself to be observant. A word of caution – looking for joyful moments doesn’t mean that you ignore painful situations or cling to a false sense of positivity. Remember that joy is a feeling of well-being that comes from being content.
- Celebrate others’ joyful moments. One of the quickest ways to boost your feelings of joy is to celebrate someone else’s happiness. A sincere word of congratulations, a heartfelt email or a social media post can help deepen your relationships and enhance your feelings of joy.
- Find ways to give. Generosity is also an excellent way to cultivate joy. While you can certainly give money to charitable causes, there are plenty of other ways to live generously such as volunteering your time and talents. Find an organization or a cause that you believe in and give what you can – chances are very good that you will be glad you did!
- Be kind. In addition to being generous, acts of kindness have been shown to increase feelings of happiness. From holding the door open for someone to paying someone a sincere compliment, there are numerous opportunities to be kind throughout the day.