Joy in everyday life is something we all aspire to, but it can often feel elusive. Yet, there are individuals who seem to naturally find happiness in the simplest of moments.
I’ve been fortunate to know a few such people in my life, and they’ve taught me that the key to joy lies not in grand experiences or material possessions, but in a unique approach to life.
As I made progress on my personal development journey, I’ve been able to become a truly happy person.
And I realized that this shift happened thanks to me working on a certain set of traits. Which means that you can choose to develop them too.
Let’s have a look at the 6 traits you need, or may even already recognize in yourself.
Optimism is a key trait that can transform our perspective on life. People with this trait choose to view the world through a positive lens, focusing on the good in any situation.
This doesn’t mean they ignore challenges or difficulties, but rather they approach them with a positive mindset, believing in their ability to overcome them.
I was reminded of the power of optimism when I met a friend who had recently been rejected from her dream job. We were having a coffee together and she stopped to admire the paintings on the wall, chatted cheerily with the waitress, and closed her eyes to savor her coffee.
I was glad to see her doing well, but told her how surprised I was that she wasn’t affected by what had happened.
“Oh, I am.” She told me. “But I can live in a reality where I’m miserable, or I can choose to believe that this is for the best, even if I can’t see it yet. The second choice makes me much happier, so that’s what I choose.”
With this great mindset, my friend went home to continue her job hunt, and landed an even better position less than a month later.
What she told me in that coffee shop has stuck with me ever since, and it’s what I think back on whenever I experience a setback. It reminds me that obstacles can be opportunities, and that they’re never a reason to stop appreciating the small, beautiful moments in day-to-day life.
The example of my friend above is an excellent demonstration of how people can find joy in everyday life if they choose to.
But there’s one key ingredient that’s at the foundation of that — resilience.
This is your ability to bounce back from adversity and keep moving forward, even when life gets tough. You don’t let setbacks define you or hinder your progress.
On the contrary, you get back up, dust yourself off, learn what you can from the experience, and then get ready for the next one.
I saw this time and time again in the same friend when she subsequently went through a breakup and also a difficult health issue — all in the span of a year.
Someone else might have crumbled emotionally, but she used them as an opportunity to grow. She started investing more in her health, and took a relationship course to work on her communication and conflict resolution skills.
And since she never let any experience break her, she was able to keep enjoying life to the fullest throughout all these ups and downs. Her big-picture vision of how these challenges would ultimately help her kept her grounded and focused on joy.
Practically everywhere you turn, there are reminders to be grateful — from teen’s Instagram captions to the posters in surly businessmen’s offices.
Though not everyone actively lives by this advice, it’s definitely worth listening to.
It’s such a simple habit, but it can bring immense joy to our lives. It involves acknowledging and appreciating the good in our lives, regardless of its size.
I’ve actually practiced this to an extent since I was a child, because my grandmother taught me to do it.
Whenever I stayed over at her house, we wrote down three things we were grateful for before going to bed. Even if I felt I had a very bad day, she wouldn’t let me go to sleep until I thought of three things, however small they were, that I appreciated.
I’ll admit, as a child I found it quite annoying at times. But now as an adult, I’m so thankful that my grandmother instilled this habit in me.
It helps me find joy in the most unexpected places — a smile from a stranger, a helping hand from a friend, or even just a quiet moment of solitude. Gratitude has taught me that joy is all around us, waiting to be noticed.
As you can imagine, being generous is a great way to make others happy. So what does it have to do with finding happiness in your own everyday life?
As it turns out, a lot — and it’s even backed by science.
One experiment gave people $5 to spend by the end of the day, either on themselves or on someone else. And contrary to the participants themselves expected, spending the money on someone else made them much happier – whether it was a friend or a total stranger.
Interestingly enough, the happiness participants got was the same whether they spent $5 or $20 — so getting happiness from being generous doesn’t have to break the bank.
But it can also be something completely unrelated to money. Being generous can also mean doing an act of kindness for someone, saying something nice to them, or volunteering your time.
This is one of the most powerful ways to find joy in everyday life because it helps you while also brightening the lives or others around you.
And as they get inspired by you and pay it forward, you’ll create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the simple act of generosity that you did.
Once, when I was going through a rough period in my life, my mentor suggested we go on a walk together.
I was in a pretty glum mood and kept my eyes glued to the ground, as I had no desire to smile at any people I passed by.
My mentor, on the other hand, was doing the complete opposite. He paused to watch a bird hopping from branch to branch. He then bent down to admire a flower, his eyes sparkling with joy.
I asked him how he could be so easily fascinated, and he replied, “Every moment is unique, and every detail is precious. But noticing that is on you.”
I was too wrapped up in my negativity to grasp his words at the time. But they eventually sank in — and they made a profound difference in my day to day life.
Every moment that you let pass by is like happiness that you willingly throw away. So ask yourself, how much of it are you willing to give up?
They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s also one of the most important ingredients for creating a life full of joy every day — even during tough times.
For example, at my previous job, we had an extremely stressful period with a lot of overtime and we came up against problem after problem, sometimes making hours of previous work completely useless.
But it was an extremely important project and we had to get it right, so everyone was pretty tense and hunkered down to work.
One time at lunch, a colleague was talking about how his niece was obsessed with Mario games, and he made a joking comparison of our project to a level in the game — each problem was like a wall Mario had to jump over or a monster he had to slay.
He then went to the whiteboard in the kitchen and made a rough drawing of Mario but with his own face making a silly expression fighting against a computer bug.
It was silly but we had a good laugh and kept the drawing up — and the next day I saw someone had lengthened the tunnel and added another monster to the image to symbolize the most recent problem.
So we kept adding to the image until we had a whole intricate maze full of silly representations. It was a great source of jokes, but it was also a visualization of all that we’ve overcome, and we ended up framing it for the office when the project was over.
That showed me how far humor can go for lightening the mood, relieving stress, and connecting with others.
Start finding the joy in everyday life
You’ve just learned the 6 unique traits of people who find joy in everyday life.
You might recognize these traits in someone you know — perhaps even yourself.
And that’s amazing! That means you have someone in your life who will make it that much happier.
But the best part is, no matter how many of these traits you identified with, you can always choose to cultivate them.
In doing so, you’ll not only enhance your own life, but also inspire everyone around you.
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