Joie de vivre is a French expression that means “joy of life.” Most of us know a small handful of people who demonstrate this quality: an exuberance of spirit that makes every day special—and many of us wish we had it, too.
Some people are born with joie de vivre, but can it be cultivated? Can we find more joy in everyday life? We can certainly try. Making small changes can affect our attitudes. We can change our daily behavior and do a little “spring clean up” of our hobbies, activities, habits, mindset, and even our friends list on social media. It’s hard to radiate joy if we are surrounded by negative people, negative posts, and negative news.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your joie de vivre this spring:
- Embrace hobbies passionately. If you have something you like to do, dive in and do it wholeheartedly. Be it, live it, breathe it, and immerse yourself in the joyful feeling it brings you. Give yourself permission to try new things, explore new places, and seek what brings you joy.
- Leave what is not bringing you joy. It may be something small, like a particular habit, or a style of clothing that no longer fits. Or it can be huge, like your job, which may be a little harder to put behind you. But if you’re really unhappy with any aspect of your life, consider how you can change it.
- Surround yourself with happy, positive people (that includes on social media).If you have a friend who regularly brings you down, is not kind to you, or who has values you don’t share, it may be time to take a break from the relationship, or end it altogether. Go through your social media community, too. Start with friends lists, groups, and pages. Get rid of all that are negative or don’t add anything to your life. Then add positive pages and groups that appeal to you.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Start a gratitude list and add to it every day. It may sound trite, but focusing on the many gifts that surround you can really make a difference. The more often you focus on the positive aspects of your life, the more you’ll appreciate your life as a whole.
- Try a new way of looking at things. Create a mindset of “sure, let’s do it!” Get out and try new things with an open mind and open heart. When you get in the habit of saying yes, you’ll find your life opening up to more experiences—and more joy as well.
- Savor. When you cook and eat your meals, turn off the phone. Immerse yourself in the experience of creating and eating, whether alone or with friends. Being present in the moment will bring more joy to the experience. Take a walk and use all your senses. Enjoy the moments with your partner, your children, or your grandparents. Look into their eyes, feel your breath, listen to their words, and cherish your time together.
- Smile more. Did you ever notice that smiling can turn a not-so-great mood into a good one? Smiling at others not only makes you feel better, it makes them feel better, too.
Creating an attitude of joie de vivre can help you feel better and more present in your life. It may take some effort at first, but with practice it will become a habit—and maybe even a way of life.