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Living Independently Blog

Finding Your Sense of Joy

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This Holiday, Make Joy a Priority for  Your Overall Well-Being

The word “joy” gets thrown around a lot during the holiday season to the point where those three little letters begin to lose their meaning. But as other values compete to eclipse the importance of joy in our lives at this time of year, let’s keep in mind that joy is the emotion that makes life worth living.

Research has shown that acknowledging daily doses of joy – large or small – works wonders on our overall wellness, including our physical and mental health. The actual factors that bring us joy, whether that’s people, activities, situations or objects – are highly personal and individual to each of us. Yet a joyful person can spread their positivity and optimism to others.

Associated with feelings of ease, appreciation and meaning, happiness truly is contagious – meaning social interaction is imperative for human development. Those who disengage will simply not thrive or grow as a person. It’s possible to open up to whole new worlds when you expose yourself to others who have different outlooks on life. Studies have shown that an active social life improves cognitive function and overall brain health, especially for older adults.

As we age, we tend to become creatures of habit. But one of the habits that we adopt as we mature is the tendency to become disconnected from family and friends on a purely social level, as opposed to a sense of responsibility or obligation. Brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits and activities, we can actually jumpstart our ‘trains of thought’ onto new, innovative tracks.

So, how to live joyfully when it’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of the holiday season? Here, we share some advice on attaining joy every day:  

Prioritize family and friends. Reaching out to family, friends and loved ones brings more joy compared with the boost that comes from events, activities and things.
 

Bond with family virtually. When in-person visits are not possible, use the tools at your fingertips to stay in touch. Cell phones, social media and the latest developments in technology are perfect for when you’re feeling especially far away. Let emojis, texts and social posts deliver the joy you crave.

Embrace your interests. Connect with people who share similar interests or hobbies, or try something new that has always intrigued you.

Exercise indoors or outdoors. Although temperatures may be dropping and heading outside can seem like the opposite of joyful, getting your body moving can bring a much-needed dose of happiness. Older adults should also keep in mind the great physical benefits of exercise for health and longevity, not to mention strength and mobility. Try indoor fitness options like stretching, swimming, yoga, balance exercises and Tai Chi. When the weather breaks, head outside for some gardening, walking or bicycling.

Because older adults are more prone to depression and isolation, happiness and laughter are essential to lifting spirits and creating overall health benefits. As we immerse ourselves in the holiday season, Envisage invites you to make joy a priority for your mental and physical well-being.