How to overcome adversity: 6 essential steps for a joyful life

Whether it’s the Sahara or more of the Taklamakan, life can sometimes be like one big desert.

And that desert comes with some challenges, namely the hot, hot sun hanging right over it.

But imagine an incredibly lush oasis—a hidden green place in the middle of the dry desert. Well, that’s joy and relief, right there!

Can making true joy be like a cool oasis that helps us on our long walk in the desert?

A bit of fun here, a silly moment there—small gifts that turn adversity into a path of opportunities and adventure.

Have you ever stopped and wondered why some people seem to go through tough times with a happy spirit? 

Well, my guess is they’ve figured out how to find joy in unexpected places (that or they are entirely magical entities, who knows?).

I’m sorry to keep banging on about deserts, but I look at joy as the precious water that keeps us going in the desert—and we owe it to ourselves to keep drinking it. In fact, our life depends on it.

I’m no expert, but I am often referred to as a happy person (so that’s something!)—but If you’re keen to learn about some of my tried and tested steps to curate a more joyful life, your journey begins here. I swear I’ll stop talking about deserts now.

1) Try a poetry picnic with friends

Before you scoff at the idea of Pablo Neruda’s love letters and surrealist Dylan Thomas prose, let me tell you, embracing the poetic side of life is a great step to creating real joy in your life.

But why poetry, you ask? Well pal, poetry is the language of the soul, of course.

It can make you laugh, cry, and contemplate the mysteries of the universe—all in a few lines and tightly written metaphors.

And when you share these verses with friends, it’s like passing around bits of happiness.

Now, imagine the magic when you bring poetry and a picnic together.

You might be wondering, why a picnic in the park? Why not just read poetry in the comfort of your bedroom? 

Well, nature becomes your co-conspirator in joy, turning a simple poetry reading into a memorable experience.

The sunlit field or the quiet corner of a bustling city park totally sets the scene and adds a humble helping of escapism.

When it comes to life’s many adversities, sometimes we need a breather, a reminder that joy exists even in the smallest, simplest things.

When you’re weaving words under the open sky, the weight of the world lifts a little. It’s therapeutic, kind of like a mini-vacation for your soul.

The next time life gets a bit too serious, pack a blanket, grab your favorite poetry books, or pull them up on your phone, and head to the nearest green space.

2) Give DIY vision or mood board a go

Imagine yourself, armed with scissors, glue, magazines, and a pile of dreams. 

No, I’m not talking about a kindergarten art class—I’m talking about crafting your very own vision board, or mood board, whatever you’d like to call it!

It’s a collage that’s more than just pictures and words, it’s a tangible manifestation of your aspirations, dreams, and goals.

Why bother, you ask? How often do you pause to think about your dreams? Do you find yourself caught up in the day-to-day hustle, forgetting the big picture?

Your vision board is like a gentle reminder saying, “Hey, remember what you’re working towards?”

So, go and put it on the board. Glittering unicorns, tropical beaches, a dream job, a cozy home—it’s absolutely whatever tickles your fancy. Just remember to make it colorful, make it pop! 

Next thing you wanna do is hang that board in a prominent spot, be it your bedroom, the kitchen, or even your office.

After all, your dreams deserve a spotlight, not the dusty corners of your mind. 

Soon, you’ll find yourself navigating through life’s hurdles with a smile, armed with a vision board that’s as vibrant as your dreams. 

3) Try laughter meditation once in a while

Might you have ever considered dedicating a chunk of your day to laughter? 

I know it sounds excessive and indulgent, but hey, you deserve it! I think we all do.

Laughter meditation tinkers with your brain chemistry, releasing those delightful endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine—the trio of happiness. 

Imagine you find yourself in the cozy, cozy cocoon of your living room, a bowl of popcorn in hand, eyes glued to a side-splitting comedy flick. 

As laughter erupts, it becomes a therapeutic session for your stressed-out soul. 

Suddenly, the weight on your shoulders starts to lift, and you realize that, hey, life’s not that bad after all.

Now, I hear you whispering, “Can laughter really make a difference?” Oh, absolutely. Beyond the immediate uptick in mood, laughter is like a secret weapon against the chaos and challenges life throws your way.

So, why not make laughter meditation a daily ritual? 

Dedicate time to laugh, giggle, and chuckle your way through the ups and downs. 

Whether it’s a comedy marathon, a stand-up show, or just a spontaneous burst of laughter, let’s cheers to a life well-laughed!

4) Curate a joy jar

Have you ever noticed how a simple compliment or a kind word can turn your whole day around?

Envisage a day when everything seems to be going south: work stress, traffic jams, and burnt toast (because, let’s face it, mornings can be rough).

Now, close your eyes and reach for your joy jar. Ta-da! You’ve got a mini time-travel device that transports you to moments when life was all sunshine and rainbows (or close to it!)

But what exactly is it? Well, it’s your secret stash of positivity, ready to sprinkle a little sparkle on the very worst of days.

This little vessel is a reminder that joy exists in the everyday moments—that hilarious joke you heard at lunch, the heartwarming text from a friend, or the triumphant feeling of conquering a gym challenge.

Keen? Okay. Grab a jar, any jar will do, from an old pickle jar to a mason jar. 

Next, channel your inner writer, scribble down those moments that made your heart do a happy dance, and drop them into your jar.

No fancy calligraphy needed, just genuine moments captured on scraps of paper or Post Its.

The joy jar is a tangible reminder that life isn’t just about surviving… it’s about thriving. 

It’s about finding joy in the little things, creating a haven of happiness that you can dip into whenever adversity arrives.

5) Give a travel through taste buds a go

Ever find yourself stuck in the monotony of everyday life, desperately yearning for a dash of excitement? 

Get ready to spice up your life, quite literally, by embarking on a culinary journey that will not only tantalize your taste buds but also inject a dose of joy into your daily routine.

It’s time to throw caution to the wind and pick a country or cuisine you’ve never experienced before.

Have you ever tried Ethiopian injera, or savored the delicate layers of a French croissant?

How about the hot spices of Sri Lankan curry or the umami explosion of Japanese ramen?

Imagine transforming your kitchen into a cultural haven, complete with decorations and music. Turn it into a themed dinner party—a celebration of flavors and cultures, right in the comfort of your own home.

As you dice, sauté, and simmer, consider the stories behind the recipes. Who created them, and what makes them special?

Peel back the layers of culinary traditions passed down through generations, and let these stories add layers of meaning to your culinary adventure.

But here’s the real magic this isn’t just about the food. This is your chance to rediscover joy, awe, and wonder.

You’re not just feeding your body here, you’re nourishing your spirit. Bon appétit and happy exploring!

6) Launch a sky lantern up and away

A moonlit night, a sky adorned with twinkling stars, and you, standing beneath it all, holding a whimsical sky lantern filled with your dreams and wishes. 

Sounds lovely, right? Welcome to the world of sky lantern serenity.

In the face of adversity, it can be super easy to forget the simple joys that can add a pinch of whimsy to our lives. 

Sky lanterns, those paper wonders that gracefully ascend into the night sky, can be your ticket to a more joyful existence.

Firstly, there’s the act of putting your dreams on paper. It’s like jotting down your aspirations on a postcard and sending them off to the universe. 

It’s a tangible way of acknowledging your desires and putting them out there into the vast expanse of possibilities.

As you light the lantern, there’s a certain kind of therapeutic release that happens. The flame flickers to life, and for a moment, you’re captivated by it.

As you let go of the lantern, you’re also letting go of worries and doubts, in a way. 

It’s a beautiful, simple ritual of shedding the weight of negativity and embracing hope.

Remember to opt for biodegradable and eco-friendly lanterns, ensuring that your quest for serenity doesn’t leave a harmful mark on the environment.

You can even try this as a collective experience with friends or family. 

Sharing dreams, lighting lanterns together, and watching them ascend into the night sky can be a bonding experience like no other. 

It’s not just about your dreams anymore; it becomes a shared moment of joy, connecting you with the people around you.

Final thoughts

To sum things up, in the desert that is life (sorry, I said it again!) finding joy is like discovering a rich, verdant oasis. 

Through simple steps like picnics with poetry, creating vision boards, laughter meditation, joy jars, culinary adventures, and releasing sky lanterns, we take real steps towards happiness.

Laughter becomes therapy, dreams and goals manifest on boards, and tastes take us away on global adventures.

A joy jar captures and reminds us of special moments, while sky lanterns symbolize letting go and embracing hope.

In navigating life’s challenges, let joy guide us, turning difficulties into opportunities.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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