Do you want to be happy and full of joy?
There’s a simple way to do it:
Follow the joy formula: ten daily rituals of exceptionally content individuals.
1) Sleep soundly
The first daily ritual starts before your day even begins.
It starts with getting great sleep.
If you’re sleeping shallowly or fitfully, you won’t wake up feeling rested and ready for your day.
There is no substitute for sleeping well, which is why it’s a key component for experiencing contentment and fulfillment in life.
There are many common misconceptions about sleep, starting with the idea that getting enough sleep is the key to waking up feeling well.
However, being well rested actually has much more to do with the quality and depth of your sleep rather than the amount of hours you’re getting.
Here are some great tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep from Justin Brown:
2) Wake and walk
Upon waking, many of us reach for our cell phone, tablet or computer immediately.
This is not a recipe for joy, and jams our perception right into a hyper-focused digital corridor right away.
Instead, joyful people begin their day by arising, stretching and then going for a brisk walk.
You may bring along a cup of coffee or tea, or a bottle of water.
You may take your dog or pet with you or go alone or with a friend or partner.
The important thing is to put in at least 15 minutes to a short walk after getting up.
It may be a stroll in your local neighborhood, a nearby park or the woods behind your home or apartment.
Try to make it somewhere you don’t have to drive to but can just walk to directly.
Then head back, shower up and get ready to have an awesome day.
3) Write a plan
Another of the daily rituals of exceptionally content individuals is to write a daily plan.
This is generally a list of your top priority or priorities for the day.
It may just be: go to work, pick up kids, come home, prepare food and work on your new film project or write a followup email for the new job you applied for last week.
Whatever it is, however, there’s something about writing it down that increases the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment you get from your day.
Ideally, your daily goals will also slot into bigger weekly, monthly and annual goals which you have already established as well.
Seeing you work your way through your daily goals and begin to achieve your bigger goals increases your confidence and sense of well-being.
4) Practice daily giving
Exceptionally content individuals have one thing they always try to do at least once every day: give.
Giving can happen in many different ways.
They may give some food to a homeless individual, give advice to a friend from their expertise or give a hand to an elderly person carrying groceries.
They may give a place to stay for the night for their coworker who just got evicted or a lead on a great job opportunity to a person looking for work.
The nature of the giving varies, but the common denominator is that something is given to somebody else for no reason other than to give.
There is no expectation of reward, spiritual salvation, “karma” or seeking recognition. The giving is done because it can be done.
This brings enormous inner contentment and a sense of fulfillment.
5) Mindfully meditate
The next of the daily rituals of exceptionally content individuals is to mindfully meditate.
This can be done in various ways.
The simplest and most popular is to sit comfortably and focus on the breath going in and out.
Thoughts, emotions and distractions are allowed to come and go without judgment.
The meditator always returns his or her attention to the breath and follows its course as he or she comes more into the present moment and obtains a sense of inner peace and centeredness.
Mindfulness meditation is a core daily ritual of exceptionally contented people, and even if it’s only for 10 minutes, it’s a great addition to anybody’s daily routine.
6) Prepare meals
Meal preparation is becoming something of a lost art in our busy, fast-forward modern lives.
But there’s a real inner peace and contentment that comes with preparing your own meals.
It actually takes less time than many people think, as well.
To be honest, the most time-consuming part of meal preparation is the cleanup of dishes, plates and cookware after the fact.
For this reason, you can also chop ingredients beforehand and leave them in the fridge ready to use and cook when you need them.
Preparing daily meals brings you a real sense of accomplishment and can become a mindfulness ritual, especially when it’s combined with a spirit of giving and you’re cooking for others in addition to yourself.
It also helps to keep your kitchen and cooking area clean, which brings me to ritual number seven:
7) Clean and organize
Cleaning and organizing are a key part of a happy person’s day.
While many of us may feel like these are chores that just give us more annoying headaches, the contented individual turns cleaning into a party.
He or she gets some enjoyable music on, opens up the windows and makes those floors shine.
Happy people organize and clean as a kind of default setting and another semi-meditative practice, drawing a parallel between inner organization and outer cleanliness and order.
8) Converse consciously
In a world of “lol” and “idgaf,” the exceptionally content individual understands the risks and disappointment of shallow communication.
They avoid spending too much time on social media or talking just for the sake of talking.
They seek out quality interactions and prize depth over length.
Fulfilled people make a daily habit and ritual out of communicating at least once per day in a way that is conscious and meaningful.
This may be as simple as asking their friend how her day was and truly listening to the answer, or it could be as complex as discussing the future of space exploration with their wife.
The content is not the issue. The caring and true attention are what matters: speaking to somebody and really looking them in the eye and caring what they say.
Fulfilled people consciously cultivate conversations and connections that bring them closer to others, because they know there is more than enough meaningless and self-interested chitchat out there and they don’t want to be a part of that or waste their energy on it.
9) Capitalize on their talent
The next of the daily rituals of exceptionally content individuals is to find at least one occasion per day to capitalize on their talent.
This often expresses itself at work and in earning a living.
By doubling down on what he or she is good at, the exceptionally content individual does something that all happy people do:
They create a self-reinforcing echo chamber of confidence.
I find a talent, I practice that talent, I get better at that talent, I get feedback in praise of my talent, my confidence grows and my desire to work and act in the sphere of my talent grows.
An ever-improving, ever-increasing talent that brings value to life and to the world.
10) Collaborate meaningfully
Last, in terms of the daily rituals of exceptionally content individuals, is to collaborate meaningfully at least once a day.
This can be in the simple sense of giving advice on a project or working with a coworker on the same goal.
It can mean helping a child with homework or working with a friend to brainstorm ideas for a new business.
It may be planning a holiday with your spouse or partner, with each of you handling one aspect of the planning and booking process.
The important thing is to work together and get things done more effectively as a team.
Being part of a tribe and having a common mission at least once daily brings a great sense of contentment and purpose.
Are we having fun yet?
The ten daily rituals above are a recipe for fulfillment and contentment.
Exceptionally satisfied people struggle and have ups and downs like all the rest of us.
The difference is that they do so in the context of a life that’s purposeful, determined and meaningful.
The difference is that fulfilled people focus on what’s in their control and on living for a reason.
As Angela Haupt notes for TIME:
“The meaning of happiness is, to an extent, subjective. But nearly every expert we surveyed emphasized the same cocktail of ingredients:
“A sense of control and autonomy over one’s life, being guided by meaning and purpose, and connecting with others.”
Of course, purpose comes in various forms.
Even when we think we’ve found it, it’s easy to think of it in too much of a “big picture” type of way.
While we may have bigger goals or dreams for our life, these often get lost in the clamor of the day to day.
Bringing our bigger vision down to earth in a daily way is an invaluable method for remaining grounded even during the hardest times and for finding meaning and drive in any situation.
Exceptionally content individuals practice the daily rituals above because they want the best life possible, and they know that focusing on what’s in their control and making their daily routine count is the best way to have a great life.