We all want to a live a life filled with joyful moments. We seek joy in relationships, experiences, moments and even belongings. So what if I told you there is a simple, effective and free way we can have more joy in our daily lives? Interested?
Of course you are - we all desire more joy in our lives!
So, are you ready?
The top tip for living a more joyful life is SLEEP.
Or more precisely, get more sleep.
We know that exercise and nutrition are good for both our physical and mental well-being. For years we've been hearing about eating healthier and fresh is best, exercising for 30 minutes every day, and now we have 10,000 step goals to help us keep moving throughout the day too. We have wearable tech and apps to track our movement, what we eat and even how much water we drink!
But do we feel more joyful as a result?
Not so much. Healthier and fitter but perhaps not joyful. I know I feel pleased with my daily progress (I am partial to the little green faces in my Fitbit app!), but not really joyful.
Research shows that we are more effective and more joyful when we have had sufficient sleep.
I was listening to an interview with Ariana Huffington from the Huffington Post last week talking about her new book. After collapsing nine years ago due to sheer exhaustion she is now a sleep convert.
Two things she said really struck me. Firstly, she noted that we can all choose how we turn up in the world each day by simply getting enough sleep. And secondly, she believes she has become a better leader because she has learnt to take care of herself (by getting enough decent rest).
Isn't that something we all aspire to? Being more joyful and present in our daily lives, turning up as our best selves for those we care about, and being better at the things we want to do.
Yet sleep, and more accurately, sleep deprivation is a major problem for all of us. Especially working mums struggling with the juggle of paid work, unpaid work, raising children, managing a household and all the other things that we try to squeeze into a 24 hour period.
We mistakenly believe that sleep is something we can sacrifice when life gets busy.
As busy mum's we (falsely) feel sleep is an expendable that we can do away with in order to get more done.
I know that at times of extreme busy-ness, high anxiety or grief it can be very difficult to get enough sleep. Our bodies will be exhausted and will crave rest but when we lie down our mind will be buzzing, and it can be incredibly hard to quieten the thoughts and drift into slumber. When we are tired, wired and stressed it is harder to get to sleep despite our body needing sleep more! And generally, those times are devoid of much joy too...
An interesting insight from the interview was the fact that we never put our children straight into bed. We create a ritual for them around bath, pyjama's on, story time and then bed. One suggestion to help us get more sleep was to create our own bedtime ritual.
It needn't be elaborate or time-consuming - it's about calming your mind and preparing your body for rest. Clearly turning off your devices would be a good start, but also doing something that allows your mind to slowly switch off is ideal. Perhaps switch to lamplight, grab a good book, put comfy clothes or pyjamas on, and slip between the sheets ready for a fabulous night's rest… Sounds tempting doesn't it?
Perhaps you could try it yourself this week. Could you try going to bed a little earlier, even just once this week? Might you start a bedtime ritual? I'd love to know if getting more sleep helps bring you more joy!
If you'd like more simple ideas to bring joy into your life, enter your email address and gain immediate access to my Ebook, "6 Days to a life filled with my joy, hope and love".