12 Ways to Find Joy In Life

1. Look for What's Right Rather than What's Wrong 


Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky. ~Hafiz of Persia   

When I wake up in the morning I can immediately find 10 things that are right in my world. I have hubs, who wakes up next to me. I have food, water, clothes, and shelter. My car runs, I have gas, family, friends and freedom. I have no reason to be unhappy. 

2. Live Your Own Life



Reexamine all that you have been told in school, or in church or in any book. Dismiss whatever insults your soul. ~Walt Whitman

Forget what others want and expect of you. The beauty of your life is you choose who you want in it and what you want to do with it. Find your passion and purpose. Look for mentors. Create adventure through travel. Have fun. Be kind. Stay true to yourself. 

3. Enjoy Your Journey


I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.
~Hafiz of

In every difficulty or failure in life, there is a lesson and an opportunity. Look for the lesson and learn from it. There are a variety of life-enhancing tools at your fingertips. A therapist, a coach, support groups, mp3’s, books, and videos are great resources when you’re lost or confused. Life is precious and doesn’t have to be difficult. Find joy in everything. 

4. Be Silly, Laugh, and Have Fun


It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~Ziggy 

Hang out with people who bring out the best in you. Seriousness and intensity can steal your joy and cause anxiety. Observe children and follow their lead in laughter and play. Turn off electronics and spend time in nature, at the zoo, or enjoy an outdoor festival. 

5. Love Everyone

Love And Friendship

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet. ~Rumi 

Everyone has a core of good that can never be destroyed. You never know what kind of personal war anyone is going through.

Send blessings to people who are hurting, imprisoned, or in pain. Everyone is doing the best they know how to do with what they have. We all want the same three things: to give love, to receive love and to know that we matter.

Help those who are hurting. We’re here for each other. 

6. Be Generous

Full Of Vegetables

You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money,compliments, or publicity.  ~Thomas Wolfe

Give of your time, talent and resources. Leave a large tip, donate to charity, teach someone to read. Go on a mission trip. Share your lunch, your books, your skills. Go the extra mile, give the benefit of doubt, give praise. Never hold back when you have an opportunity to share. Live to give. 

7. Be Kind to Yourself

Hand I Love You

If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago.
                                                                    ~Carla Gordo

Think well of yourself. Eat healthy. Do exercise you enjoy. Mediate. Write in a journal. Give yourself a break. See yourself with a loving heart and compassionate eyes. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself immediately. Learn to stand up for yourself. Never tolerate abuse of any kind from anyone.

8. Spend Money Wisely

            Broken Piggy Bank

That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.
Henry David Thoreau

Choose to use less, save more and appreciate everything you own. Create a budget and stick to it. Only purchase what you need. Stop recreational shopping. Stuff doesn’t bring happiness. If we use only what we need there would be enough resources for everyone.

9. Live Out of Your Comfort Zone

Himachal Pradesh

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? ~ Vincent van Gogh

Try new foods. Learn a new language. Introduce yourself to new people. Read the classics. Ask for assistance. Ask someone you admire to mentor you. If you took one risk everyday, think of where you’d be at the end of the year. When you risk, you grow. The world needs your gifts and talents. Don’t hold back. End of story. 

10. Don’t Take Things Personally.


No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. ~Eleanor Roosevelt 

A requirement of an addict, in a 12-Step Group is to find a sponsor, someone who will hold them accountable. One reason addicts fail to remain sober is because they think they can recover alone. A favorite excuse is, “What if the person I ask, says no?” The answer is: There are 7 billion people in the world. If one says no, ask another! It’s that simple.

It’s not about you. People are busy, weird, and lost in their own stuff. When things don’t go as planned, stay calm, be clear, get over it and move on. 

11. Don’t Compare or Complain.

Red Rose

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. ~unknown

Children often compare themselves with siblings or friends and complain, “It’s not fair!” The earlier we learn life’s not fair the happier we can be.

Honest people go to prison. Babies are born mentally and physically challenged. Beautiful people are treated better. Some one with less skills will get the job you wanted. Bill Gates advises, “Get over it!” 

Dream big, work hard and do what’s right anyway. And don’t whine about it. Attitude is everything.

12. Forgive everyday. 

Green Grass Love Heart

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov 

Marianne Williamson says, “If you’re alive you have someone to forgive.” For example, the person who cuts you off in traffic, the clerk who is unkind, a child who failed, a boss that doesn’t listen. The list is endless. Forgiving people for the small stuff is as important as the big stuff. Big stuff includes, the parent who abused you, the friend who left you, the spouse that betrayed you.

Photographers: africa tungphotoGregory Szarkiewicz, Ambro africagraur razvan ionut  PixomarFilomena ScaliseIdea go,

Peggy Nolan, has a new ebook,The 30 Day Affirmation Challenge. She is donating the proceeds to cancer research.

What would you like to add to the list for more joy?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jeanie February 20, 2011, 5:36 pm

    I see you, #soulsib.

    Acknowledge beauty & give thanks for lessons teaching us how easy we have it…

    I’m looking forward to meeting you on this crazy might fail roadtrip. πŸ™‚

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:43 pm

      You’re so freakin’ cool. No, no your roadtrip won’t fail. I’m holding the vision!

  • Peggy Nolan February 20, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Dear Tess,

    Thank you so very much for mentioning my eBook!

    I love this list – especially the quote “if someone talked to you the way you do, you’d have left that person long ago…”

    One thing I’d add to this fabulous list is to be curious and explore πŸ™‚


    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Yes it gets me every time. Thanks for writing that ebook. I’m always happy to help.

    • Tess February 26, 2011, 3:44 am

      Yes that self-talk with that example puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

  • Lance February 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Your #4 is one that is especially meaningful to me right now! Coupled with all these other “joys”, what a great way to live life!

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Lance, you’re KING of all that and more! Rock on.

  • Debbie Hampton February 20, 2011, 9:41 pm

    What a wonderful post. Just delightful, uplifting, and inspiring. Thank you. I really needed to read this tonight!

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Anytime Debbie,
      I thank you for promoting my work like you do. You’re all kind of awesomeness.

  • Bryan Thompson February 20, 2011, 9:44 pm

    Hi Tess, great reminders here for what’s important in life! I especially like that you started with “see what’s right with the world.” I think having this outlook is crucial to getting the other 11 right. Especially the “love yourself” part. Thanks for helping me end this day on a great note.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:46 pm

      Yes I really have learned to only look for the beauty internally and externally. I’m here for you, anytime~

  • Donny February 20, 2011, 10:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this…

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:46 pm

      You’re very welcome!

  • Julia Skinner February 21, 2011, 1:16 am

    This is such a great post! Thank you for reminding me what it is all about!

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:47 pm

      Thanks to you and all of your love and support you continue to send my way. You’re appreciated.

  • Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker February 21, 2011, 4:21 am

    What an inspirational list and quotes – a great way to star the week.

    Thanks Tess,


    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:48 pm

      Thanks Alex my dear friend. You’re the best and I appreciate your kindness. My life online life wouldn’t be the same without you.

  • Joy February 21, 2011, 5:23 am

    *grin* when I want more joy I just look in the mirror:)
    I love love love this article! And the Rumi quote..wow!
    I would add: work on a creation daily..a moment, a memory, a miracle…

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:49 pm

      You’re funny! Yes create…create, for me, for you, for the world.

  • rob white February 21, 2011, 8:04 am

    This is one to ponder: “If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago.” What a great way to wake up to our own inward Self-Talk. The ultimate insanity of humanity is all the energy we spend beating ourselves up! No voice “out there” can compare to the power of our inner voice.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:50 pm

      I get that, “The ultimate insanity of humanity…isn’t that the truth. I’m walkin’ toward freedom Rob. I love myself. I love my imperfections. Yours too!

  • Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition February 21, 2011, 8:18 am

    I love this post – its’ simple and clear and to the point – my favorite kind!
    I don’t think you’ve left anything out.

    I love – Live out of your comfort zone and don’t take things personally!

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:51 pm

      I’ve been livin’ in my comfort zone lately and I’m bustin’ out! I’m takin’ you with me;)

  • Bryce February 21, 2011, 8:31 am

    Great tips once again. I’m always a fan of enjoying the journey. We often find that life is more about the journey then the destination.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:51 pm

      so true and how often I forget that. Part of the beauty of my online journey is meeting friends like you.

  • Steve M February 21, 2011, 8:52 am


    Thanks Tess. πŸ™‚

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:52 pm

      Yes, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen. Hummed it as I typed.

  • susie @ newdaynewlesson February 21, 2011, 9:54 am

    I love love loved this post! And I so loved the quotes.

    I would add Continue to Learn new things and meet new people.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Yes I’m continuing those two things myself. It makes life so rich.

  • Galen Pearl February 21, 2011, 9:55 am

    What a terrific post. I responded to so many steps on your list. #5 is now in my mind because of a Shambhala meditation workshop I just attended. The focus was on our basic goodness, the basic goodness of all human beings. That also connects to #7. Great quote on that one. Isn’t that the truth?!

    You asked what steps we would add. Funny since my blog is about steps. Some overlap with yours. But in essence it seems that all the steps merge into some common themes–be kind and don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Thank you for a great start to my day.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:54 pm

      Sounds like a great retreat. I’m meditating more. I’m patting myself on the back. I think no.5 could have been no. 1 and nothing else needed to be said.

  • Evita February 21, 2011, 10:35 am

    It warmed my heart to read this Tess!

    P.S. Great tip to throw in to remove recreational shopping from one’s life….. truly a waste of our time, financial and planetary resources… and it really does not fill one void within us where it counts…if anything it makes the voids deeper….

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:55 pm

      Yes that’s the truth soul sista!

  • Betsy at Zen Mama February 21, 2011, 12:19 pm

    This may be one of my favorites of your posts yet (and I do love them all!). This is the way I try to live my life even though I occasionally get off track. I’m going to print this off and put it next to my desk. Thanks for another great post!!

    I can’t figure out my comment luv lately…but my latest post is about lucky thinking…oh and some Lincoln and Washington Quotes.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:55 pm

      Wow, thanks and according to these comments I think more than you felt that way. It’s simple, happy and truthful and so are all my peeps.

  • Little Lessons Under the Big Sky February 21, 2011, 12:57 pm

    This list really spoke to me…..not just your words, but the various pictures you put up to accompany them.
    Number 4: Be silly, laugh and have fun. I chose the word PLAY this year to help me remember the importance of this very thing. It is a great grounding word for me, when I recognize that most of the time when I feel the stress coming on I am taking things too seriously! And, of course, I’m loving the picture of the guitar. I am writing so much more music this year, in hopes of compiling a CD by years end. It helps my creative spirit, and my “play” so much!
    Number 8: Spend money wisely. We are trying hard to move more and more toward being stewards of the land. I hope for productive veggie gardens that will grow well this summer and I can share with neighbors. We decided long ago to NOT keep up with the Jones, and although it is sometimes difficult for our children, we hope to teach them sustainable living and that happiness DOES NOT come from box stores and things, but from community, nature, love, and respect.
    Number 9: Live out of your comfort zone. Ever since being diagnosed with panic disorder 5 years ago, I have taken the journey to live this everyday…..sometimes to an extreme (who REALLY needs to run marathons? But what it has done to do this is given me my life back, in an amazingly joyous way.

    I could go on and on….but those were my favorites that really resonated with me today. They are all WONDERFUL. Thank you, Tess, for the valuable reminder that the greatest present we can ever have is the PRESENT, wrapped up in joyful living.

    • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Wow this comment is rich with your journey. Congrats on the garden, the teachings for your children, and most of all getting out of your comfort zone. You may want to write a book on that! Love it that you do marathons. I struggle with a 1/2. Hubs says cuz I don’t like pain. He’s right;)

  • Caity February 21, 2011, 3:32 pm

    I love it! So many people consider these such simple things but then they often forget to pay attention to these things! They are so important. πŸ™‚

  • Tess February 21, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Yes we make life complicated to take the focus off where we need to be!

  • http://Clarbojahn.wordpress.com/ February 21, 2011, 4:53 pm

    So glad I met you on Alist. Thank you for these great tips. I love the photos and images for each tip. Gratitude is a great attitude. Hope we meet again. Seems like you are in touch with your soul.

  • Lauren Rains @ The Mad To Live February 21, 2011, 7:37 pm

    Hey Tess!
    This was an awesome post! You know what? sometimes life can seem so complicated, but it really is not so! Right here we have a list of so many things that make us happy, and they’re all pretty easy to have in our lives.
    We just have to learn to let them in. Everything from learning to forgive to learning to budget to learning how to both give and receive love.

    What’s the point of life if we aren’t enJOYing it?! πŸ™‚
    – Laur

  • Peppy February 21, 2011, 9:18 pm

    Hello Tess,
    I really enjoyed this post! So many good, positive points to ponder … they highlight the fact that we are responsible for the quality of the happiness and contentment we experience in life.

    We never know what drastic turn our life may take – your post has a wealth of insights that, when implemented, will ensure a good attitude for dealing with any life changes.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Quinn W February 22, 2011, 9:16 am

    What a wonderful list, Tess! I stopped living with joy for a long time and just starting to let the joy come knocking in again. The ones that spoke to me most was living my own life and not taking anything personally. I think they go hand in hand, at least for me. Anything someone would say to me, kind or cruel (or so I thought), it would hit me like a hammer in the heart and I’d continue to take it into myself. In turn, I was living through the expectation of judgment and hurt for so long. I was no longer living my own life.

    Your list is something for me to look back on towards my own healing journey.

    Thank you,

  • Marci | Liberating Choices February 22, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Great quotes, photos, and pathways to joy. I’m not sure what I’d add…”dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening.” And, give and receive hugs, snuggles, and squeezes πŸ™‚

  • The Exception February 24, 2011, 9:26 am

    Love this list – such hope and joy within these simple messages! It is a list of how to keep spring in the heart… blooming with love and happiness!
    Stay Amazed Tess!

  • Jannie Funster February 24, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Ahhhh, how do you keep coming up with this fresh exciting inspiring stuff of love, Tess!

    This brings great joy to immerse myself in.

    Rejoicing because the thorns have roses! So so cool.

    And that guitar in#4 is so beautiful — I can tell it’s a Taylor, and I can hear it ringing sweetly now.

    Speaking of living my own life, being my own silly self, and choosing my own way, I leave you with part of a verse from a new tune that seems to be falling sweetly into place…

    Where are the girls on banana seat bicycles
    who used to fly down the street,
    singing songs, all summer long
    girls with no shoes on their feet?

    Whhhhooooohooooo, i’ts fun writing songs.

    And being YOUR friend!

    And now Jannie has nice new black flip-flops for her feet, and soon shall have also for her feet, a right AND a left sneaker!!! πŸ™‚


  • simply stephen February 25, 2011, 9:22 pm

    Tess…you have a wonderful talent for making mundane web lists beautiful, poetic and extremely useful. These little lessons are gems.

    Love the Walt Whitman quote!

    Your choice words make a difference. I wish there was a way they could reach everyone…baby steps are good though.

  • Dana Ziebarth April 26, 2011, 11:14 am

    Hear you loud and clear…you made my day- along with a check in the mail, a gift of daffodils, and 5- minute burst of sunshine. Who could ask for more??? Dana Z.

  • test August 1, 2011, 11:44 am

    Appears it’s finally around to warm up again . Advertised . would be a wild winter this year all around the county. Is seems just like spring time won’t come soon enough. Anticipating the summertime months ahead !

  • norma August 25, 2011, 5:57 am

    Hi Tess,just would like to thank you for being so inspiring.You seem to be so happy.I’ll be taking a leaf out of your book.Norma.

  • asege July 2, 2013, 4:01 pm

    this list is fucking retarded if you don’t have money or people to share life with, duh!

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Your Fearless Life: Making It Happen
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Welcome! I'm Tess Marshall and I’m Passionate about supporting people who want to lead a fearless and bold life.
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