5 Simple Tips for Finding Joy When Life is Hard

Can we all agree that the past couple of years have been EXTREMELY hard? From floods and riots to natural disasters and a global pandemic, it can feel like the whole planet is sucking the joy right out of life!  In fact, finding joy when life is hard can seem almost impossible right now. 

It won’t be easy, but it is entirely possible to find joy even when life stinks. This post is all about finding joy when life is hard. Before we get to the tips, let’s first talk about what things take the joy out of life.

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What Steals Your Joy?

What are some things in life that might steal your joy?  There are so many things in life vying for your time.  Any one of these things has a possibility to steal your joy.  Here are a few common examples.  

Stress and Busyness Steal Your Joy

Almost everybody I know is dealing with more stress now than they were several years ago.  The economy, political unrest, and increased work demands have put a significant more amount of stress on adults.  Our young adults, teens, and kids are also feeling the strain of many stressors in their lives.  

A little stress is not always a bad thing.  It helps motivate us to work hard and be successful.  But too much-compounded stress can have many negative side effects.  This continued stress can lead to moodiness, frustration, and depression.  When you’re constantly stressed, it can feel impossible to find joy in your life.

Being constantly busy goes hand in hand with extra stress.  The more things we have on our plate, the more overwhelmed we will feel.  My kids are out of the house now, so you’d think I would have more time.  But no!  I still feel as busy and stressed as I did a few years ago.  

Being busy makes me feel like I’m always rushed, and I never have time to get everything done.  It’s very hard to find joy in life when you feel like life never stops.  Somedays, I can barely catch my breath!

Difficult Circumstances Steal Your Joy

Difficult circumstances are some of the hardest times in our lives.  These hard times are often tied to loss in some way.  Difficult times in our lives make finding joy extremely hard.  

The loss of a loved one is one of the worst difficult times we can go through.  Losing someone through death is a gut-wrenching experience.  This type of loss, especially the loss of a spouse or child, can be almost impossible to recover from.  Friends I know who have experienced this type of loss suffer from bouts of depression and anxiety.  Finding joy when life is hard is even harder when you’re depressed.

The breakup of a friendship, or the end of a marriage, is another kind of difficult circumstance that can steal your joy.  Losing a job will probably steal your joy.  Also, finding joy can be hard when you feel overlooked or unappreciated.  Feeling like you’re a nobody isn’t a great place to try to find joy in life.

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5 Tips for Finding Joy When Life is Hard

Finding joy can be tricky, even in the best of circumstances.  So we know finding joy when life is hard feels hopeless.  But, it can be done!  You CAN be joyful, even when life is challenging.  Here are 5 ways I’ve found for finding joy when life is hard.

Find Joy in the Little Things

When life is a struggle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  One big thing after another seems to be going wrong in my life.  In order to stop feeling crushed by the hard times, I’ve found that focusing on the little things in life helps me find joy.  

So what are some ways you can find joy in the little things?  There are many little things you can choose that help you in finding joy.  Since it’s up to you, there are no wrong ways to do this.

For me, curling up with a warm cup of coffee is a little thing that brings me joy each morning.  If the weather is nice, I might enjoy my coffee on the back deck!   This simple “me time” helps me start the day off with a little extra joy in my life.  

Taking a walk, planting flowers, or reading a good book are all little things that might spark joy in you.  You could also spend time with a friend or enjoy coming home to a sweet pet at the end of the day.  The point is to find some little thing that brings you joy, and set aside time to enjoy it on a regular basis!

Find Joy by Being Thankful

Being thankful is another great way for finding joy when life is hard.  I know it isn’t easy.  Being thankful is the last thing you want to do when your world is falling apart.  But it can guide to you finding more joy.

One of the best ways to get started being thankful is to make a list.  On this list, you put everything you’re thankful for, no matter how big or small.  You can be thankful for having enough money to pay your bills this month.  Or maybe you’re thankful for a beautiful view of the sunrise this morning.  

After you’ve started writing a list, it will be easier to think of things to add to it.  This list can also be used during your prayer time.  Thanking God is a great way to start off a conversation with Him!

One of my favorite planners is the Living Well Planner from the Living Well Shop.  Each month it has a page for a gratitude list.  This tool is a great way to spark joy by being more thankful.  If you’re interested in the planner, I have a $5 off coupon just for you!

Find Joy by Helping Others (H3)

When life is hard, and I feel overwhelmed, I tend to get focused on myself.  I start to think about everything that’s going wrong in my life.  All this me, me, me focus makes me even more depressed.  

One of the best ways I’ve found to help me find joy again is through helping other people.  When I take the focus off of me and put it on someone else’s needs, I stop thinking about all of the difficult situations in my life.  Changing my focus to others has great benefits for them, and for me too.

When I was a kid, my family would serve Christmas evening meals at the local Salvation Army.  This was a humbling way for us to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  And it was a blessing for us and those being served too.

Our local church sponsors a Thanksgiving meal for our local community.  It’s grown from a small annual event for one church to a community-wide project.  Every year my family spends time packing and delivering meals to families in the community.  Giving to others helps me remember that my problems are not the worst things in life.   

Finding Joy When Depressed

Depression is more common than most people are willing to admit.  It’s estimated that over 264 million people are affected worldwide.  It’s more than just a sad feeling every once in a while.  Depression is a serious health condition that needs specific medical treatment.  

I fought with depression throughout cancer treatments.  It was awful!  I felt like such a failure as a person.  Thanks to God and my doctors, I was still alive.  I was about to watch my kids grow up!  So why wasn’t I beaming with happiness?   

In order to find joy during depression, I had to seek medical and mental help.  My oncologist was ready to hear about my depression symptoms.  Without judgment, he quickly offered some medical treatment options.  He also suggested some mental health counseling.  I was extremely thankful for all of his help!

Depression is real and can steal your joy deeply.  It’s not your fault.  Just know that you’re not alone.  Get the help you need in order to find joy through depression.

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Finding Joy through Christ

As a Christian, I know that lasting joy and peace only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He’s the only person that can save us, and He’s the only one who can bring joy into your life during painful circumstances.  Giving your life over to Jesus is the best way I know for finding joy when life is hard.  He’s pulled me through many tough spots in my life.  I know he can do the same for you!


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