If you look up the definition of “joy” you will find some version of this: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Often we look to people or outside factors to help us find joy.

If I get that promotion it will bring me joy.

If I lose 10 pounds it will bring me joy.

If I could afford a new car it will bring me joy.

If he/she gives me a ring over the holidays it will bring me joy.

But the reality is that often the things we think will bring us joy don’t or that feeling is fleeting. This year more than ever we have had to look within ourselves to find meaning and joy. We have had to find ways to create it for ourselves-which is the best kind of joy. So although the pandemic is temporary, becoming reliant on yourself to create joy is not and my hope is that we can all take that through the holiday season and into the new year.

Here are 3 ways to create your own joy:

  1. Have a theme song. Is there a song that brings you joy? Makes you feel empowered? Start your day off with that song. Think about creating an entire “Happy” playlist that you can put on anytime you need more joy in your life. Think about moments in your life where music brought you joy. For me this time of year I find joy listening to the Nutcracker. Due to covid I won’t be able to watch the ballet as I usually do but that doesn’t mean that each day in my home office I’m not listening to the music to keep the holidays joyful anyway. Bonus points if you sing along aloud in your house or maybe sing to your dogs like I do.

2. Give. There are more people in need than ever. If you are in the financial position to give that is wonderful. But giving of your time is actually what will bring you joy. Maybe it is providing advice to someone who lost their job. Or writing a card to a veteran or a nursing home resident. Or delivering canned goods or gifts to a family that otherwise would go without. Or leaving a note in your neighbor’s mailbox just to say hello. These are some of the things that bring us joy. And they don’t involve writing a check.

3. Write it down. Often we think there isn’t a lot to be joyful about and things are not going our way. But when you actually write things down that are positive in your life you are more grateful and joyful. For some of you that may be through journaling, others may write down something each night before they go to sleep that brought them joy that day. Perhaps you have a friend or family member you can share this with each day whether it is through a text or over zoom. Finding a way to document your joy each day will force you to stop fixating on what you can’t do or don’t have during this holiday season.

I would love to hear how you find your joy. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

Jennifer Lynn Robinson, Esquire is the CEO of Purposeful Networking. Her services include consulting, moderating, keynotes and workshops to help build networking, communication and public speaking skillsA former litigator, Jennifer also does motivational speaking detailing her path of reinvention following a near death accident. She has been featured in local and national media. You can learn more at purposefulnetworking.com and follow Jennifer at @areyounetworked.