I remember hearing a wonderful quote long ago: “Sometimes the joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of the joy.”  It really emphasizes the interplay between the energy you put out versus the energy you take in. In my experience, I have found the following actions to be the top five things one can do to bring back the joy in ones life and relationships.

1. Strengthen Relationships

  • Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, just to say hi.
  • Invite someone over for dinner, even pizza or hot dogs, the food isn’t the point.
  • Do a favor for someone, however small.
  • Send a greeting card or better yet write a brief note.
  • Give a small treat to someone; even a single flower or piece of candy is always welcome.

2. Express Gratitude

  • Play the Glad Game by naming things you are glad about right in this moment (it could be as simple as a nice sunset or having enough gas in the car).
  • Play Gratefulness A to Z by naming something for each letter of the alphabet that you are grateful for (A is for our daughter, Annie).
  • Keep a Nightly Blessings Journal by listing three things that enhanced your life that day, then telling yourself to dream about them and remember them the next day.

3. Savor the Positives

  • Play Savoring the Past by remembering times when your partner or another person made you feel good (keep going until you cannot remember any more).
  • Play Closed Door, Opened Door by thinking of times in your life when a door closed (e.g., you lost a job or relationship), then remembering something positive that came into your life later that would not have been possible had the door not closed.

4. Use Your Strengths

  • Go on a Strengths Date by learning about your Signature Strengths (contact us to find out how) and doing something that allows you to express them (e.g., if one of your strengths is curiosity, then attend a class or go somewhere you’ve never been).
  • Capitalize on Your Strengths in your everyday life. if your strength is a love of beauty, find something in your environment that you could make more beautiful with a little effort. For example: paint a wall, clean up some clutter, or rearrange the furniture.

5. Visualize Your Ideal Life

  • Write a Birthday Toast that people would read at your 80th birthday party describing positive things about you and your life, e.g., accomplishments, contributions, and ways you made a difference, however small, in people’s lives.
  • List 100 things you would do if you had 10 million dollars and only 10 years to live.

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