How to Find Joy in Everything You Do

Living with a mental health issue has a way of affecting everything you do. From getting out of bed in the morning to communicating with other people to creating and maintaining your independence , it’s always there. This probably isn’t news to you – depending on your condition, you likely know how depression plays into getting out of bed or how Bipolarism can make you a social butterfly one day and an introvert the next. You deeply understand the wounds of an abusive relationship or the long-term effects of bulimia or anorexia. You’ve lived such a reality, or some combination of these things, day in and day out.

But, the good news is you don’t have to push through each day like it’s a huge hill to overcome. There are ways to find joy in everything even when you’re battling inner demons and/or medical conditions. Joy transforms how you greet every morning and make it through each night. It changes how you think, speak, and behave, turning your hardships into a pathway for recovery or just an overall better quality of life.

Here are a few ways to make joy readily available in your life, despite your struggles.

Go Within  

It may sound a little ironic to spend time with yourself alone and go deeper within when you have a mental illness. Such a condition can make your thoughts cloudy and outright scary or dangerous. But, beneath all that lies a profound sense of peace and understanding. There is joy within, too – you just have to find it.

How can you do that? By creating healthy habits like:

  • meditating
  • journaling
  • doing yoga
  • other forms of exercise
  • gardening
  • talking to a therapist

Doing these things on a regular basis create a sense of mental clarity. They help you see past the cloudiness of mental illness, putting inner joy front and center. Tapping into such a beautiful resource makes life easier to navigate because you’re able to lead with your heart in everything you do.

Foster Healthy Relationships

The thing about leading with your heart is that no one can walk their journey alone. Part of what makes people happy is having others around us. But, we can’t create a habit of clinging to others. That’s why you need a strong sense of self – to relate to your people without becoming reliant on them. Knowing who you are helps you see others for who they are. It brings you closer to the people who lift you up and helps you identify those who put you down, building on the good and showing you how to walk away from the bad.

Such a tight-knit, reliable support system is crucial to have when mindfulness isn’t enough. Mental illness wants to make you forget the truths that self-awareness teaches; it’s a constant roller coaster of ups and downs. The good people around you bring you back to yourself when you hit a particularly low point. They remind you of the inner joy you’ve created and help you express it in the world around you, making recovery easier and joy more attainable in everything you do.

Define Your Bigger Purpose

While it’s important to know yourself beyond the labels of mental health and to have good people beside you, there’s one more thing that creates joy in life: purpose. A lot of the times, people think of purpose as some huge, daunting thing, like you have to define all of your existence into one meaning. The truth is, your life can have many purposes.

Your purpose today may not be the same ten years or even five years from now. We are always evolving, but, we always have to be moving towards something bigger than ourselves. Maybe your purpose right now is to share your experiences with mental illness to offer support for individuals going through the same thing. Maybe your purpose is to recover from addiction in order to mend the relationships your condition has distanced you from. Maybe your purpose is just to get better, something you need to do for yourself before you worry about other things.

Either way, define it. Define it and stick to it and remind yourself of your purpose when your condition gets particularly tough. There’s a bigger reason for the pain you’re feeling and the struggles up ahead as well. Hold on to it and use it to help you find joy in everything you do.

No one is happy all the time. Life throws us hardships and tough times to make our joy and peace of mind more meaningful. When you’re living with mental illness, though, it’s hard to understand this truth and see past your own condition. Use the tools above to help you. The more you work to create joy in everything you do, the lighter the weight on your shoulders becomes and the better your overall quality of life will be, too.

Featured Photo by Fernando Brasil on Good Free Photos