17 therapists comment on finding joy, Gratitude, and happiness in your day-to-day life

How to find more joy in the new year

Finding more joy, gratitude, and happiness in the new year can be difficult. Especially when everyone speaks of resolutions that are difficult to make stick. However, bringing more joy to your days isn’t as hard as you may think. It can entail simple and small steps made each day that can accumulate positive influences on your mood. With this in mind, we asked 17 therapists, “How do you find more joy, gratitude, and happiness in your day-to-day life?”

1. “Make the choice every day to not give power to external sources to steal your joy.”

Chelsea Hudson, LCPC

2. “Observe a living thing and marvel at the beauty of it. A tree, a squirrel, a pigeon, a pet, a loved one, a plant, the mold growing on that thing you left in the fridge, or your own body’s breath or heartbeat.”

-Jessica Dattalo, LCSW

3. “It is okay to choose the joyful thing. Brene Brown said this once and it reminded me to choose joy. As humans, we find exhaustion and suffering to sometimes be a status symbol. Letting go and choosing joy often has to be intentional in a hyperproductive society.” 

-Dani Parmacek, LCPC, R-DMT

4. “There is a lot of mind over matter that can play a role in your happiness. Some fake-it-till-you-make-it type tricks can help. Since we smile when we are happy, if we smile even when we aren’t then your brain may read your smile as feeling happy. This can actually improve your mood.”

-Jennifer Klesman, LCSW

5. “Write down three things you are grateful for every single day. Repetition will create more permanent habits and eventually, you will notice more things you are grateful for throughout the day without being prompted!”

-Ali Mayer Morris, LCSW

6. “I encourage clients to identify their values and then work towards living a life that is in line with those values. A deep sense of happiness and satisfaction comes when a person is living a life that feels fulfilling and meaningful to them.”

-Nicole Bentley, LCSW

7. “Carving out time for daily self-care. Also practicing gratitude, daily, through journaling.”

-Jaclyn Feldman, LCSW

8. “When you find yourself getting stuck on the “don’ts,” flip the script and look for the “do’s.” “I do have positive relationships, I do have my health, I do have the ability to make a different choice.” Write down 5 Affirmations and read them every morning. Add Affirmations into your phone randomly; things your future self might need to hear!”

-Bridget Montgomery, LPC

9. “Be intentional about looking for things in your day that bring you joy/gratitude/happiness. Start the day with setting that as an intention. “I will find/experience/see at least one thing that brings me joy.” Allow space for that thing to be found in anything like a delicious sandwich, a surprising encounter, a lovely flower, a beautiful memory, a simple event. ”

-Aisha Robinson, LCPC

10. “Try out making the goal to have a peaceful day versus a “productive” day.”

-Chelsea Mann, LPC

11. “Celebrate even the smallest of wins. They count too!”

-Bari Rothfeld, LCSW

12. “I recommend starting a gratitude journal. Spend 5 minutes each day reflecting on your gratitude. Over time, you have then created a list of gratitudes that can help reinforce happiness in your day-to-day life.”

Megan Lappa, LCSW

13. “Seek things that give you joy – not just what you feel you “should” be doing. Pay attention to moments that feel good – What is going on in that moment? Who are you with? How can you spend more time doing these things?”

-Sierra Petersen, LCSW

14. “A simple gratitude list of 3-5 things.”

-Chelsea Dillavou, LCSW

15. “Set small goals that will make you feel more accomplished that you know are reasonable to achieve in your day-to-day. If you’ve been aiming to read more or exercise more, set a goal for a few days a week to do so for only 10 minutes. This seemingly small achievement can be incredibly impactful and adds up throughout the week. The more you complete the smaller goal the more likely it is that you might end up extending the time and doing it for longer resulting in a greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.”

-Jillian Ross, LCSW

16. “There is a daily gratitude activity I teach my clients and practice myself which comes from positive psychology. It involves daily practice of writing out three things that went well at the end of each day, it could be anything from having a tasty meal to accomplishing a task well. This practice can help bring intentional awareness to things that we enjoy, are doing well, or are grateful for which can be really difficult to recognize during a difficult time. “

-Kasia Zak, LCSW

17. “Try to look at challenges as areas for personal growth and opportunities to learn more about yourself.”

-Jennifer Week, LCSW

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