In today’s turbulent world, where societal divisions, political unrest, and environmental worries dominate the headlines, finding joy can seem like an impossible quest. However, joy is not just a fleeting emotion; it’s a deep source of strength that helps us build resilience, foster hope, and drive positive change.

Strategies for Cultivating Joy in Turbulent Times

 There are practical steps we can take to foster joy amidst the chaos. Here are six strategies to increase your joyfulness and spread positivity:

1. Honor Your Feelings

Start by acknowledging and honoring the emotions you’re experiencing. Allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions, from anger and frustration to hope and gratitude. Recognizing and accepting these emotions without judgment allows us to process them more effectively and access the joy that often lies beneath the surface. Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Harvard Business School, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the “sacredness of suffering.” By embracing our pain and finding meaning in adversity, we can unlock a deeper sense of joy and resilience.

2. Savor the Small Victories

Joy doesn’t always come in grand, sweeping moments. Often, it’s the small, everyday victories that bring us the most happiness. Take time to savor these moments, whether it’s enjoying a quiet moment in nature, completing a small project, or sharing a laugh with a friend. By focusing on the present and appreciating the little things, we can cultivate a sense of joy that sustains us through difficult times.


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3. Serve Others

When the world feels divided and uncertain, one of the most powerful antidotes is to focus on serving others. Whether it’s volunteering in your community, helping a neighbor, or advocating for social justice, acts of service not only benefit those around us but also bring us a sense of purpose and connection. By channeling our energy into making a positive difference, we can experience a profound sense of joy and fulfillment.

4. Embrace Humor and Laughter

Laughter truly is the best medicine, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Seek out opportunities for humor and levity in your daily life, whether it’s sharing a funny meme with friends, watching a comedy show, or playing a light-hearted game. By embracing the lighter side of life, we can lighten our own mood and spread joy to those around us.

5. Cultivate Mindfulness and Meditation

Engaging in mindfulness and meditation can significantly enhance your capacity for joy. These practices help center your mind, reduce stress, and increase awareness of the present moment. As you cultivate mindfulness, you become more attuned to the joys that already exist in your life and better equipped to create new moments of happiness. Feel free to check out my meditation on joy here for more support.

6. Connect with Nature

Spending time in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on your mind and spirit. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a hike through the woods, or simply sitting by a body of water, natural environments can help you feel grounded and peaceful. This connection to the earth can foster a profound sense of joy and wonder at the beauty of the world around you.

Joy as an Act of Rebellion

While finding joy amidst division and environmental uncertainty may seem like a daunting task, it is possible with intention and effort. By honoring our feelings, savoring the small moments, serving others, embracing laughter, cultivating mindfulness, and connecting with nature, we can cultivate a deeper sense of joy and resilience that sustains us through even the most challenging times. Remember that these simple tools for cultivating joy are not just about personal happiness—they represent an act of resistance. In a world often dominated by negativity and strife, choosing joy and spreading it to others is a profound statement of defiance and hope. Embracing joy is not trivial—it is transformative.

Angela Luna, LMFT, is a seasoned holistic expressive arts therapist, trauma specialist and creative wellness coach who uses an integrative approach to support clients in transforming old patterns into new possibilities. If you’re ready to access your joy and well-being, sign up now for a free discovery consult with her here.

Check out these websites and major organizations that focus on joy and well-being:

  • The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, offers insights and practical applications based on scientific research into the roots of compassion, happiness, and altruism.
  • Action for Happiness is a non-profit organization that focuses on building a happier and more caring society through science-backed resources and community programs aimed at improving personal well-being and fostering joy.
  • The Happiness Research Institute is a think tank aiming to inform decision-makers of the causes and effects of human happiness, making societies more inclusive, healthy, and ultimately happier.
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