Facing tough times? Master the art of Finding Joy When Life is Hard. Uncover the ultimate secret to happiness and health amidst adversity.

Finding Joy When Life is Hard is the Ultimate Secret to Being Happy and Healthy

Aug 11, 2023

By Will Moore

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” 

That’s a quote from the classic Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. It beautifully depicts the transition from childhood to adulthood that everyone experiences: when growing up, we start to doubt if we can really fly.

And once we feel that doubt creeping in, we forget to fly entirely. I have felt that feeling once, but I’m one of the lucky ones because I could remember how to fly again.

Indeed, we can’t live in Neverland forever, but we still need to visit it occasionally. We sometimes need to remind ourselves of what it’s like to fly.

Revisiting that feeling of freedom that comes with childhood will remind us why we must become the best version of ourselves and work towards a happy and healthy life. 

Why Do We Need to Prioritize Joy?

It may feel like balancing all five cores is taking up too much of our attention, and joy doesn’t feel like a priority. Most of us have actual commitments and responsibilities to uphold and can’t spend our time frolicking in Neverland when we have our careers and relationships to take care of. 

While all this may be true, it is super important that you revisit the childhood feeling of wonder and freedom regularly to take care of your emotional health core and start living your happy and healthy life. The secret is finding joy in the ordinary, appreciating the little things, and feeling that wonder is what will lead to your happy and healthy life.

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Do you ever ask your kids if they want to watch Tangled one more time? It’s a great movie, after all. And do you catch yourself humming A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes as you cook dinner? We find these movies and songs touching our hearts because they remind us of the feeling of adventure and magic, and we still have that wonder inside us.

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Finding Joy in Your Everyday Life

We all know that life can be stressful and overwhelming at times. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to appreciate the little things. However, it's important to remember that joy is all around us - we have to take the time to notice it.

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Here are some tips to help you find joy in your daily life:

1. Make time for things you enjoy.

It's important to schedule some time each day or week for activities that make you happy. It can be anything such as:

  • Reading a book

  • Taking a walk in nature

  • Playing an instrument

  • Engaging in a creative pursuit

Carving out time for these moments of joy can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

2. Be present and savor the moment.

When you're doing something, you enjoy, make sure to really take in the experience and savor it. Don't let your mind wander off to other things and make sure to be present minded and enjoy the moment.

3. Notice the beauty around you.

Slowing down to appreciate the beauty in nature or everyday objects can help you feel more connected to the world, boost your mood, and offer you the required mind wellness.

4. Be grateful for what you have.

When you take the time to appreciate all the good in your life, it can be easier to find joy in everyday moments. A gratitude mindset is very important. Keep a gratitude journal or list things you're thankful for each day.

By taking the time to focus on the positive and enjoying the simple things in life, you can help boost your emotional health and overall well-being.

5. Cultivate positive feelings.

Surround yourself with positivity and seek out experiences that uplift your spirits. This could involve:

  • Spending time with loved ones

  • Practicing gratitude

  • Engaging in acts of kindness

  • Immersing yourself in activities that bring you a sense of fulfillment and contentment

So next time you feel stressed or down, finding joy when life is harder is the key!

Bringing Joy to Others

1. Spend time loved ones

Spending time with people you care about is a great way to boost your mood and feel more connected. Whether you stay in touch via text, social media, or in person, quality time with loved ones is always valuable. You should also try to connect with new people to develop deep connection by stepping out of your comfort zone.

2. Share your passions

Share your talents, hobbies, and interests with others. Whether teaching a skill, volunteering, or organizing a group activity, sharing your passions can bring joy to you and those around you.

3. Acts of kindness

Perform random acts of kindness for strangers, friends, or family members. These small gestures can brighten someone's day and create a lasting impact.

Remember, joy is not a limited resource; it's abundant and available to everyone. By consciously seeking and experiencing joy, you can cultivate better emotional health, enhance your overall well-being, identify your personal core values, and navigate life's challenges with a greater sense of resilience and positivity.

The Secret To Happiness and Health

At Disney World, lines for Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s a Small World stretch for hours, packed with adults waiting to experience the magic of childhood again. Joy and wonder and excitement may be different as we grow, but they should never end; they are the secret to happiness and health.

I often rediscover childlike wonder through the experiences of my child. Seeing his eyes widen at the sight of big, booming fireworks helps me see them as wondrous, colorful bursts of joy and excitement.

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He finds wonder in semi-trucks on the road: the bigger, the better! Sometimes I’m driving alone, and I see a huge semi, then think, “Hey, that one’s huge!” even though Wyatt isn’t even with me. I find little joy in my ordinary drive home. And those little joys are a gift that helps me live this happy and healthy life.

So, when you’re cooking dinner tonight, go ahead and dance around the kitchen and whistle while you work! Take a walk through the forest and marvel at the different colors of the leaves, the sunlight streaming through the treetops, and the crunch of the dirt under your feet.

Take joy in the little things: a piece of chocolate at work, the music you love booming from the speakers of your car, the sound of rain pattering against your windows. Feel and live in the moments that you are blessed with; find your happiness in this beautiful life you have, and feel it boosts your emotional health.  

Thinking of the happiest things is the same as having wings: and then, whoosh! You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!

Finding Joy Amid Life's Challenges

Life is filled with ups and downs, and there are moments when it feels especially hard. However, even in the midst of difficulties, joy can still be found. It's important to remember that joy is not dependent on external circumstances but rather a mindset and perspective that we can cultivate.

Here are a few ways to experience joy even when life is hard:

1. Cultivate gratitude

Counting our blessings, even in challenging times, can shift our focus to the positive aspects of our lives. Take a moment each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, whether it's a supportive friend, a beautiful sunset, or a simple act of kindness.

2. Embrace the small joys

Amid difficult circumstances, it's essential to find joy in the little things. Allow yourself to fully experience and appreciate the moments of laughter, the warmth of a loved one's hug, or the taste of your favorite meal. These small joys can bring comfort and uplift your spirits.

3. Find meaning in difficult times

Sometimes, the most challenging situations can lead to personal growth and a deeper sense of purpose. Look for lessons and opportunities for self-reflection during tough times. By finding meaning in your experiences, you can navigate through difficulties with resilience and a greater sense of peace.

4. Seek support and connection

Reach out to loved ones or seek support from a trusted friend or professional during challenging times. Sharing your struggles with others can provide comfort, understanding, and a sense of community.

Connecting with others who have experienced similar hardships can also offer valuable insights and support.

5. Practice self-care

Prioritize self-care activities that bring you joy and peace. Engage in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, such as exercise, meditation, reading, or engaging in a hobby you love. Taking care of yourself allows you to recharge and face life's challenges with greater resilience.

Remember that experiencing joy doesn't mean ignoring or minimizing our difficulties. It means finding moments of joy, however small, and allowing them to uplift us and bring a sense of peace and well-being.

Embrace the wonder, seek out the small joys, and let the magic of joy light up your life, even in the face of challenges. Remember, you hold the key to unlocking happiness and health, and by cultivating joy, you can soar to new heights and discover the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Finding Joy When Life is Harder - Conclusion:

In the journey of life, we often face hardships and difficult times that test our resolve and resilience. However, during the tough times, the secret to genuine happiness lies in finding joy. This joy isn't a fleeting emotion; it's a state of mind, a mindset that we can nurture even when life is tough.

We're reminded of Peter Pan's enduring message: the moment we doubt our ability to fly, we lose the magic within. It's important to revisit the childhood, appreciate the simple pleasures, and recognizing the extraordinary within the ordinary. This all comes the moment we start living in gratitude and develop a growth mindset.

Discovering joy isn't just a gift to ourselves; it's a way to spread happiness to others. By sharing our passions, building deep connection with people, and practicing acts of kindness, we create a ripple effect of positivity.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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