Our world has felt heavy to me for a long time. If I’m honest, it has felt heavy ever since 9/11/2001. That was the day that everything changed. Collectively, we lost our innocence in the United States on that day.
Since then, we’ve been involved in protracted, un-winnable, perhaps unethical, wars in the Middle East. We witnessed our leaders cavalierly abandon our principles, forgoing due process and endorsing torture. We have suffered presidents who have failed to lead the country with honesty and integrity. And we have witnessed a rise in radicalism on both the left and the right, and with this rise, a fracturing of the country along political lines that is more severe than at any time in our history.
And we now face a deadly plague that has expanded around the globe.
These are difficult and challenging times. And it can be hard to find reasons to smile. Hard to find joy and humor in these times. But that’s exactly what we need in times like these.
It’s incumbent upon us all to find humor and joy wherever and whenever possible. We must have faith and hold hope that things will get better, and they will. They always do.
So how does one find hope, humor, and joy, in times like these?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride and feel the sun and wind on your face. Getting outside is foundational to my recovery. I have always been one to be outside rather than inside, even as a child. There is something to getting some vitamin D and immersing oneself in the natural world. Don’t wear earbuds.
- Cook good food and eat it with your family and friends. Cooking is creativity. For me, it is an outlet. Magic happens as onions sizzle and flavors combine in the pot. Sitting down to a good meal with friends and family resonates deep in the human experience. We have been eating communally for millennia.
- Escape. Healthy escape in a good book, a podcast, or a movie can be just what one needs to feel momentarily happy. There’s nothing wrong with an escape once in a while, but escape can become problematic when it’s the only coping mechanism that one knows and practices.
- Meditate. Yes, meditation really does make things better in life. Get yourself an app, a pair of earbuds and a cushion and practice. I can personally recommend Calm, Insight Timer, and 10% Happier. I have used them all and have found them to be well worth it. I am not paid or otherwise compensated by any of these companies, I just like them and use their products.
- Make art and music. Maybe you don’t fancy yourself an artist. Maybe you don’t believe you can play an instrument. Maybe you’re a Picasso or Santana’s cousin. Drop the judgement and just do something to get creative. You may surprise yourself. You may find that you have a talent that you never knew existed. And if you do these things without judgement, you may just have some fun.
- Listen to music. If you really don’t think you can make music, spin some tunes that remind you of a good time in your life. My go-to tunes to feel good include The Rolling Stones, the Stone Roses, Van Halen, New Order, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. And of course that band from college that played the same set every night in all the bars that I frequented, the Dirges.
- Watch a child play. Or better yet, play with a child. I guarantee you will find some joy and laugh if you get down on your hands and knees and play with a little one.
We need to have some fun and find joy to make this life meaningful and to get through the hard times. These are hard times. Find and make joy whenever and wherever you can. Even if it’s just a small thing, it will make a difference in your day.
How do you find joy in life? Drop me a comment and let me know.