How 10 Minutes of Joy Can Change Your Life
Friday, March 17, 2017
I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. After dealing with a bout of depression in 2016, I decided I wanted to wear joy like a suit of armor. I wanted my children to remember the sound of my laughter. I wanted them to remember my smile. I knew that the prior months didn’t offer much in the way of reaching either goal, and so I made it my mission to find simple strategies that would increase my joy. Did you know that if you carve out just 10 extra minutes a day to focus on joy, you’ll collect more than 60 joyful hours per year? Imagine how that could impact your life!
I got curious about just how an extra 10 minutes per day would impact my own motherhood and my life, so I added up how many joyful minutes I’d add over the next 9 years (until my youngest child reaches 18 and could potentially leave my nest). If I practice joy with my kids for just 10 extra minutes per day, I’ll gain 32,850 joyful minutes.
That might be 10 minutes of reading aloud.
10 minutes of Lego building.
10 minutes of Monopoly (okay, we all know Monopoly takes forever, but stick with me).
10 minutes of stirring the cookie dough and rolling it out.
10 minutes of snuggling.
10 minutes of listening.
10 minutes of undivided attention.
10 minutes a day equals 32,850 more minutes of happiness during their remaining childhoods.
32,850 more smiles my kids see.
32,850 more minutes of feeling loved, cherished, and seen.
32,850 more minutes of feeling connected.
32,850 more minutes of focusing on those that matter most to me.
I’ve been putting everything aside for at least 10 minutes each day to focus on seeing and feeling joy, and I can tell you that it’s making a difference. Slowly, I’m building up my joy armor. I feel happier and more connected to my people. I feel like time slows down just a little bit during that 10 minutes that I’m fully present and experiencing joy. I feel like I’m not missing out on life.
“This is joy” has become my mantra. I look for it and I say it out loud (or just in my head if there are strangers around who might think I’m super weird). When the boys have a mess of paint and clay all over my table, I say “This is joy.” They’re here. They’re still children. They’re creating. This is joy. When we all climb in bed at night for read aloud time, “This is joy.” When we watch a movie together, “This is joy.” When my son throws him arms around my waist from behind me and says “Love you so much Mommy Girl” I think “This is joy.”
And the joy is spreading! I can see it in other parts of my life and I speak it out often. When I’m folding laundry, “This is joy.” We have clean clothes. When I’m cleaning the house, “This is joy.” I have a home. When I’m walking the dog, “This is joy.” What a beautiful day. That may seem a little Pollyannish to some of you, but in days such as these, I believe we need to clothe ourselves in joy and use it like a shield. May our joy sustain us. May our joy spread across our homes and across our nations. What would 10 extra minutes of joy mean for you?
This article was originally published at Creative Child Magazine.