8 powerful ways to attract more joy into your life, according to psychology

Attracting joy isn’t just about chasing the little things that make you fleetingly happy (as many of these can cause more harm than good).

It’s actually about building a mindset which allows you to seek out things which bring you joy in a consistent and healthy manner.

According to psychology, there are specific strategies to increase this joy, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

So, in this article, we’ll explore 8 powerful methods to attract more joy into your life – all backed by psychology.

And these techniques aren’t just theoretical, either; they’re practical tips that you can start incorporating into your routine today, to discover a happier, more joyful you tomorrow…

1) Daily gratitude practices

Easy peasy first step: start practicing a little gratitude everyday.

Stop for a minute and list off 5 people, objects, things – you name it – that you’re grateful for right now.

These might be as simple as the construction work under your bedroom finally being finished, the fact that it hasn’t rained in a few days, or the tasty leftovers you have saved for lunch.

This simple act of recognizing and appreciating what you have can significantly boost your happiness levels. It’s not about denying problems or challenges, but about focusing on what’s going well.

Gratitude trains your mind to see the positive in every situation, which in turn, increases joy. It’s like a happiness workout for your brain.

If you want to start adding this small practice to your daily routine, you’ll be training your mind to find the silver lining in even the gloomiest of days. 

The result? 

More joy, less stress. 

Easy to do, with lots of benefits – so why not start today?

2) Emotional regulation

Control your thoughts – sounds simple right?

If only it was that easy!

“Don’t be unhappy”, is far easier said than done.

That being said, there are ways in which you can learn to better control your thoughts and your impulses which can have an immense impact on the joy you experience.

Mindfulness, for one, can help you better recognize the thoughts and feelings that you experience, and even shift away from dwelling on certain negative thoughts.

Equally, this can help to regulate your impulse control.

Because we all know the temptation to feed into sadness or anxiety with a treat. Or self-sabotage (however you market it).

But more often than not, this ‘treat’ can spiral into unhealthy coping mechanisms which lead to far less joy in the long run.

“I’m sad”, remedied with a piece of chocolate cake (then the whole cake), a cigarette (followed by the whole pack), an alcoholic drink (then a 3-day-bender) equals a great deal of guilt and shame.

In comparison, “I’m sad”, followed by some deep breathing exercises, a short walk to clear your head, and a restful evening looking after yourself, equals a peaceful mind and a clear head ready to tackle stress.

3) Living in the moment

Many of us are guilty of allowing a host of other thoughts (or a bunch of other devices) to steal our concentration away from whatever is sitting right in front of us.

We see our nearest and dearest friends infrequently, yet spend half the time staring at our phone screens when we do catch up with them.

Or posed with a happy, joyous moment, we’re still stuck thinking about that one (slightly embarrassing) thing we said this week.

Or amidst the start of a happy relationship, all we can think about is what might happen. 

What could go wrong. 

Where this will end up.

We often rob ourselves of joy by dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. 

And the key to overcoming this is learning to stay present in the moment.

But this isn’t all too easy, with a million distractions vying for your attention.

Meditation and mindfulness help a great deal (following on from that emotional regulation we mentioned above), and can help you learn to acknowledge the distractions, before concentrating again on the present.

4) Being kind, everyday

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Sure, aim to be an astronaut/ballerina/cowboy, but be a lil’ kind along the way.

Because there’s such a unique kind of joy that comes from helping others. 

Psychology also backs kindness as being a two-way street; you act kindly towards others, you feel good about yourself.

Practicing kindness doesn’t have to be all about grand gestures. 

In fact, we have a list of small acts of kindness you could think about incorporating ready for you.

Every act of kindness, no matter how small, creates a ripple effect that can turn into a wave. 

Not only does it bring joy to the person you’re helping, but it also boosts your own happiness too.

5) Making time for activities you love

life lessons you should learn before its too late 8 powerful ways to attract more joy into your life, according to psychology

Quick question: can you name 5 hobbies you can easily do this week that you love doing?

Maybe reading a book, hiking, cooking up a delicious meal, playing with a pet.

Whatever your choice, spending time on such activities that make you feel alive can significantly enhance your joy and overall satisfaction with life. 

You’re looking at a big booster of serotonin and dopamine, lowered stress levels, and an increase in self-esteem – all just from participating in your hobbies!

Because no matter how strange, small, or unique, it’s these activities which make up your passions. 

They are what make you feel fulfilled and happy. 

And when you engage in them, you’re not just passing time, but truly living.

So, if you want more joy in your life, carve out some time each week to do what you love

Not only will this bring immediate joy, but it will also contribute to long-term happiness.

6) Happy, healthy relationships

We’re social creatures by nature, and having a strong, supple support network can significantly increase our joy.

And by building and maintaining positive relationships, I don’t mean simply surrounding yourself with…people. 

If we are a product of the 5 people closest to us, it’s important that those 5 people are respectful, understanding, supportive and kind.

So be careful who you give your heart to, and take some time to nurture your relationships. They will bring you such an immense amount of joy.

Check in on friends, hang out with them (distraction free), call your family, remember everyone’s birthdays.

The joy you derive from maintaining these connections will outweigh any joy attained from material possession or individual achievement.

7) Prioritizing self-care

And joy doesn’t just come from hobbies and passions, either.

Looking after your body and mind with self-care practices is just as important.

Self-care looks different for everyone, but might include the following components:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Winding down before bed
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Staying active
  • Journaling, meditation, mindfulness
  • Taking time off to enjoy life

From a psychological standpoint, these acts of self-love can significantly boost your self-esteem and happiness levels.

Take care of yourself first, and I promise – the joy will follow.

8) Accepting your ‘flaws’

And realizing they’re not really flaws after all.

Having recovered from an eating disorder, I used to really, really hate the thin white stretch marks that cover various parts of my body.

“They’re like tiger stripes. They show how strong you are”, someone told me a few years back.

Since then, I’ve grown fond of my stripes. Like battle scars, they sit on my body as proof of something I went through and overcame.

I constantly used to strive for perfection. 

Everything had to be just right – my body, my relationships, my makeup. 

But with time, I’ve learned that perfection really doesn’t exist, and chasing it is merely setting yourself up for failure.

Embracing imperfections doesn’t mean settling for less. It means understanding that life isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. 

It’s about celebrating your quirks, your mistakes, and the unique aspects that make you…well, you.

Finding joy, and keeping it in our lives

Most of us want a little more joy in our lives.

And whilst the quest for joy may indeed seem like a complex journey, as psychology suggests, it’s often actually about the simple things.

Whilst we can’t control our genetic makeup or the obstacles we encounter in life, there are many aspects which we can control; maintaining positive relationships, making time for activities we love, being kind.

Throughout the pursuit of joy, it’s important to remember that joy itself is not a destination. 

You won’t arrive there one day and be happy forever. 

Instead, it’s about continually making the right decisions that align with the joy we seek, and making sure we have the tools to support our minds and bodies in the process.

At the end of the day, psychology might provide the framework, but the real work lies in our hands. 

And the true power to attract more joy into your life already lies within you. 

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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