12 Simple Ways to Create Joy in Your Life

12 simple ways to create joy
It's easy to get caught up with worries during difficult times. It's also easy to find yourself feeling a bit jaded during retirement - even your favourite hobby might not feel so much fun when you have all the time in the world to do it! You may think that finding joy involves a great deal of work or money. This isn't true at all - there are plenty of ways to create joy in your life right now!

Here are some ideas to help you enjoy more happiness every day:

  1. Turn off the news, TV, and computer. While theses things can be helpful to keep you informed and entertained, it's important to remember life without them. You'll be amazed at how many projects you can complete without these distractions!

  • For example, instead of mindlessly watching another rerun of Seinfeld, complete a photo album or redecorate a room - something that will give you a sense of satisfaction on completion, rather than a vague sense of having just wasted another day.

  1. Take a class. Almost everyone has a hobby they've been meaning to try for a long time. It's time to actually do it. Take the plunge and take a class!

    • Most community colleges have a flyer or website that lists their class schedule. You'll find that they're affordable too!

  1. Get in touch with a friend. The Internet has made it easier than ever to reconnect with people from your past. Whether you last spoke to your friend last month or decades ago, it can be a joyful activity to reconnect. Reflect on your friendship and discuss the good times you've had.

  1. Start a garden. There are many plants and herbs that you can grow both indoors and outdoors. Experiment with different plants or grow some vegetables that you'll enjoy later on, too. There's nothing like the taste of homegrown vegetables!

  1. Dabble in arts and crafts. There are so many fun activities that involve arts and crafts. Just take a trip down the aisles of your local craft store to get some ideas. For low cost alternatives, go to your nearest pound shop or dollar store. You'll be amazed at your new treasures!

  1. Go for a walk or a nature hike. Take your family or go alone. Walking and hiking can be a great break in your day. You'll be able to reflect, relax, and enjoy the fresh air.  You'll probably sleep better too, as a result!

  1. Organize a sports night. Get some of your friends together for a game every once in awhile. It's always beneficial to get a little exercise and it'll be fun to socialize, too.

  1. Start stargazing. On a peaceful, clear night, get in touch with nature in a different way. Enjoy the stars! Pick up an astronomy guide and learn to identify the planets and constellations.

  1. Try journaling. One great way to reflect on your day and get to know yourself is by journaling. For additional fun, pretend you're writing to a long lost friend or write a letter to yourself in the future.

  1. Learn to cook something new. It's always a good idea to add exciting new meals to your repertoire. Find a recipe website or a cookbook and try something you've never tried before.

  1. Have a game night. Gather your family together for some fun and games. Invite friends over to add to the fun. If you're feeling especially creative, try designing your very own board game and play that one.

  1. Be a tourist. You can become a tourist without ever leaving your hometown. It's likely that you haven't been everywhere in your town. Pretend you're on holiday or vacation and try all the tourist attractions. You'll learn something new and may even discover places you'll enjoy visiting often!

You'll soon find that opportunities for joy in your life are around every corner. With a little creative thinking, you can have a great time every day, and you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it, either.


The Joy of Laughter

Joy of laughter
"Laughter is the best medicine" is a phrase that dates back to biblical times as an old Proverb and it's still widely used today all over the world. That's because it's true!

Let's take a look at what happens inside your body, mind and spirit when you laugh.

Laughter's Effect on Your Body

Endorphins are released throughout your body, stimulating muscles, nerves, organs and tissues when you laugh. Studies show these endorphins give relief to chronic pain, help to relieve stress and promote functioning of the immune system. Laughter literally helps heal your body.

Laughter and Your Mind

Happy thoughts lead to a more positive outlook on life. When you're hanging out with friends and having good conversation that produces smiles and laughter, your mind's producing happy thoughts.

On the other hand, if you're always around people who never smile and always find something to complain about, you'll lean toward a more negative outlook on life.

Strengthening Your Inner Being

Laughing causes your inner being to be emotionally and physically strengthened. When you laugh or even smile, your inner being is stimulated in an affirmative way, producing a more positive outlook on life. This helps your body produce more self-healing endorphins, which actually helps your body remain healthy and running optimally!

Boosting Your Spirits

Laughter causes a lift in your spirits, helping you feel uplifted. Laughter not only helps you personally, it's also very contagious and infectious, which helps those around you feel less stress and anxious.

Don't you just love it when you hear a baby or toddler laugh? What happens to you? You can't help but laugh too! Laughter begins to develop in humans as early as 3 months of age and a baby's laughter is one of the most contagious of all human sounds.

Laughter and Your Relationships

When two people share a funny story or a silly situation arises between two people, there's a unique bonding that is created. Something special is formed between the two that only they can relate with. It's an inside joke that is special to those who've shared in the moment.

When two people spend a lot of time together in laughter, a stronger, more ever-lasting relationship develops.

In a marriage, studies show couples that laugh together stay together much longer, if not for life. Think about a truly happy couple you know. Sure, every family has their issues and marriage takes work, but chances are they spend a lot of time laughing together. This doesn't happen by accident either. It can be created and fostered!

When you choose to embrace laughter, you'll be able to get through many more rough spots in life and come out a happier and healthier person.

Life can be tough, so why not choose to make it more joyous? You can if you choose to.

Always try to find joy in every situation and laugh as often as possible each and every day. Also, by spending more time around positive people, who love life and love to laugh, you'll be amazed at how you begin to feel on the inside and out!

Small Things That Affect Your Mood in Big Ways

We tend to notice how big things affect our mood. Taking a holiday/vacation to Hawaii, marriage, divorce, death, and serious financial issues are a few of the big items. However, small things can also impact your mood is a big way, and the small things happen more frequently. Understanding the small, day-to-day experiences that impact your mood is important.

Many of the smaller things in life can affect your mood:

  1. Dehydration. If you’re feeling sluggish or irritable, you might just need a drink of water. Some people don’t have the benefit of good thirst mechanisms. Have a glass of water at least every few hours. Your mood might improve considerably.

  2. Music. There are at least a few songs that impact your mood in a positive way. It only takes a moment of listening before you can feel your mood shift. Try to listen to a few songs you love each day. Upload them to your smart phone so they’re always handy.

  3. Scents. Certain smells can alter your mood. Your smelly seat mate on a plane has one effect. A scent that reminds you of your all-time best date has a different effect.

  • Are there any scents that you love? Find a candle or air freshener that mimics a smell you enjoy.

  1. Weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, or just right. A nice day lifts your mood. A dark, rainy day can drag it down.

  2. Compliments. Receiving a compliment is sure to enhance your mood. Just a few kind words can have a big impact. Giving compliments can have a positive effect on your mood, too. The opposite is also true. A few unkind words can result in a bad mood. Keep that in mind when you’re talking to others.

  3. Sleep. If you have children, you can probably remember how it feels to be sleep-deprived. Hopefully, they're no longer causing you to lose sleep now that they're off your hands but our sleep can be affected in other ways as we get older.  Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep that your mood isn’t being affected negatively.

  4. Your posture. Studies have shown that slouching results in more negative thoughts, and standing or sitting up straight results in more positive thinking.

  5. The food you consume. It’s common to have a mild reaction to certain foods and not even be aware of it. Try eliminating certain foods from your diet for a couple of days and see if it changes how you feel. Eliminate one at a time or you won’t be sure which food causes issues. The most common culprits are: Gluten, Soy Eggs, Milk, Nuts, Peanuts (which aren’t actually a nut) and anything with a high sugar content.

  6. Financial issues. You might not consider financial issues to be a “small thing,” but even small financial issues can harm your mood. For example, one unexpected bill can create a lot of emotional turmoil.

  7. Spending a lot of time with negative people. Whether it’s a coworker at your voluntary job, family member, or friend, spending time with a very negative person can sour your mood.

  8. Exercise. Interestingly, when you least feel like exercising, doing so seems to have the biggest positive influence on your mood. A brisk walk is all you need to boost your mood. It doesn’t take much to make a difference.

You don’t need to do anything like purchasing a sports car or holiday/vacation if you’re looking to boost your mood. There are plenty of smaller things that can change your mood significantly. These small things can occur on a daily basis and are well worth the effort to either seek or avoid. Focus on the small things that enhance or detract from your mood and you’ll enjoy pleasant moods more often.


Why Hobbies are Important

Whilst you're still working, you may believe that hobbies aren't really necessary.  After all, they do take time away from work and family and, let's face it, we never have time to do everything we want to do, do we?. However, personal pursuits serve many important functions including helping keep you emotionally and mentally healthy.

If you've been avoiding spending time doing activities you like to do, retirement can be a time to re-commit to some "me time" and start up your favorite pastimes again.

  1. Hobbies provide an opportunity to release your stress and recharge your batteries. It's widely understood in the medical community that stress can be destructive. Crafts and other personal activities help you let go of stress as you focus on something you enjoy.

  • When you feel anxiety or frustration, hobbies are a healthy outlet for those feelings.

  • Immersing yourself in your favorite activity frees you from troublesome thoughts.

  1. Explore your creative side through practicing a hobby. Do you typically take time out of your busy day to let your creative juices flow? Hobbies fulfill this very important role, giving you the time and reason to produce something of your own design. (And how satisfying does it feel to do that?)

  2. Planning time to do your special craft says that you're important and worthy. You deserve to have those special moments. They're a great way to practice self-care!

  3. Hobbies can bring balance to your life with social activities. Socializing is an important element of a balanced life. Hobbies can serve as encouragement to socialize, particularly if you display your wares or stay active in a club.

  4. Personal pastimes bring fun and enjoyment to your life. Hobbies are truly enjoyable for many people and give you a chance to take delight in something you're doing.

  5. Your work or career may not have allowed you to express yourself as you might like. Hobbies, on the other hand, provide an outlet for personal expression.

  • If your passion is painting pictures, you can paint whatever you want. Likewise, if you knit, you can choose the color, yarn, gauge, and pattern, to create something all your own.  It doesn't matter if no-one else likes it - so long as you do!

  • Because everyday life can seem monotonous and bring feelings of powerlessness, hobbies serve as wonderful respites.

  1. Particularly for people who live alone, pastimes provide structure and ritual to life. Find some daily time to grab your sketchpad and go outdoors to sketch a tree or the house across the street. (Rituals are comforting and enjoyable, and hobbies are a wonderful way to spend time alone.)

  1. Many hobbies are versatile; you can do them by yourself or with friends. Experiment with attending your local club or group to practice your pursuit with others.

Seeking Your Special Hobby: Find Your Bliss

Spend some time doing activities that bring you joy. If you're not sure what type of pursuit to add to your life, consider these suggestions:

  • Start looking around for a new hobby. Keep your mind open to new activities you hear about.

  • Check out your local newspaper or listen to the local radio station to discover what's going on in your community. Maybe there's a new boating club or book discussion group you'd like to join.

  • Feel free to go to just one or two club meetings to see if you're going to enjoy a particular pastime. You can always look for other activities if you find that one doesn't suit you.

  • Pay attention to the hobbies of your friends and neighbours. Ask to observe your friends or even join them for a morning, afternoon or evening, taking part in their activities to see what you think.

Hobbies are important for many reasons, such as de-stressing, allowing creativity, bringing balance to your life and providing opportunities for self-expression. If you haven't spent time lately with your beloved pastime, now's the time to get back to it.

If you don't have an activity you truly enjoy, use the suggestions above to find your bliss. Before you know it, your life will feel more enriched than ever before!


11 Famous People That Succeeded Later in Life

Late success
Do you feel like it’s too late to achieve a significant amount of success? Okay - so many of the most successful people did start at a young age. Which can be disheartening for the late bloomers among us. But many of the most successful people you know didn’t get started until much later in life.

If you think you missed the boat because you’re not in the first flush of youth, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, you’re wrong even if you’re 80.

Success often isn’t achieved until later in life:

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first big role until the age of 43. Prior to that he was a struggling actor with little future. Now he’s known by people all over the world for his acting. How many movies, TV shows, and video games has he been in since that first big role in Jungle Fever? 140!

Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart at the age of 44. He had been successful in the retail environment in his younger years, but nothing out of the ordinary. Wal-Mart went on to become one the biggest companies in the world, and Walton become one of the world’s richest.

Stan Lee. Known to everyone as the creator of Spiderman and the X-Men, Stan Lee didn’t experience success until the age of 39. And his most well-known work didn’t occur until several years after that. Who says it’s too late to do something incredible with your life?

Ronald Reagan never held a political office until the age of 55! He became one of the most popular presidents in modern history.

Colonel Sanders didn’t invent his famous chicken recipe until he was 50. His famous chain of restaurants is still doing well today. His likeness has been used to market KFC since the very beginning.

College students everywhere owe a debt of thanks to Momofuku Ando. At the age of 48, he created those Ramen noodles that poor students rely on for life itself. How many times have you had Ramen noodles in your life?

Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species at the age of 50. No book has had a greater effect on the theory of evolution than Charles Darwin’s iconic book.

Taikichiro Mori became a real estate investor at the age of 55. He was a professor before that. He was the richest man in the world in 1992 with a net worth $13 billion. He inherited his first building from his father. The rest he accomplished on his own.

And they were all just babies in comparision to:

Grandma Moses who started painting at the age of 78. If you have the gumption, you can still make an impact after 70. One of her paintings sold for over a million dollars.

Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65-years old. She wrote an additional 12 novels after that. A successful television series was built around her series of books. Older children still read her books today.

Peter Roget created the first thesaurus when he was 73-years old. He was trained as a medical doctor but had an obsession with words, especially words that had the same meaning. He quit his medical career to focus on the creation of the first thesaurus. The most popular thesaurus in the world still bears his name.

So you see - it’s never too late to leave your mark on the world! But time is constantly passing, so it’s time to start making it happen. Spend the later portion of your life pursuing something you love. There’s still time to do something amazing!


How to Make a Fresh Start

Fresh start
Is your retirement in the doldrums?  Do you sometimes wish you'd never retired at all and feel that your life has taken a downward turn since the day you left your job?  Do you wish you could start your retirement over again - and make a better job of it this time?

Sometimes, you've been looking forward to retirement for so long, that you blow it.  Completely.  

Let me explain.

When you looked ahead to your retirement, you saw the opportunity to chill out, spending leisurely mornings with coffee and the paper bed and, finally, doing only the things you really wanted to do (after a lifetime of doing what your bosses wanted you to do).

So, when retirement arrived, you did just that. You chilled, you read the paper and you watched a lot of TV (or played a lot of golf).  And, even though a niggling voice somewhere inside yourself was telling you that there must be more to retirement than this, you ignored it in favour of 'just a few more days of relaxation'.  Which was followed by 'just a few more days...' until, before you knew it, a couple of years had passed, you'd piled on the pounds from all that sitting around, lost contact with 90% of the people you knew and your world had shrunk to the size of your living room.

Okay, so you’ve thrown your hands up in the air and declared that something must change. You’re ready for a fresh start. While your current situation may be challenging, the intention of making a fresh start is a good sign. It’s much better than giving up and resigning yourself to watching daytime TV for the rest of your life!

What do you need to change? Is it just one area of your life or do you need a complete makeover?

You can make a fresh start in any area of your life:

  1. Home. Consider giving your living arrangements a makeover. You could move to a new home or change your existing home. Move the furniture or purchase new stuff. Paint the walls a new colour. Convert a spare room into a room with a purpose. It could be dedicated to music, arts and crafts, or meditation.

  2. Finances. Create a budget. Get a retirement job. Talk to a financial advisor. Start an online business. Address your debt. Start offering a service that people need. Look at your current financial challenges and finally address them with a detailed, step-by-step plan you can stick to.

  3. Social life. It’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life that drag you down and replace them with those that provide a boost to your life. Meet some new friends and try a few new social activities. Work on your dating skills and catch the partner of your dreams.

  4. Health and body. Hire a personal trainer or join a gym. Find a diet that works for you. Address any health issues you might have. Visit the doctor and the dentist. Try a new sport. Just get out and move your body!

  5. Belief structure. Investigate a new religion or philosophy. Learn how to meditate. Question your beliefs and find a purpose. Read a good book each month and apply what you learn.

These are just a few ideas. You can also address your current relationships, attitude, or fears. It isn’t necessary to change everything at once. In fact, addressing one area at a time will yield better results.

Useful tips for changing your life:

  1. Develop systems that support your desired change. For instance, if you want to meditate daily, create a schedule that ensures you’ll be compliant. Use a timer so you won’t worry about spending too much time or falling asleep.

  2. Visualize the change. See yourself with a healthy body or bank account. Allow yourself to feel successful and proud. Project yourself into the future and enjoy the changes you’ve made.

  3. Be willing to fail from time to time. It’s not easy to change. In fact, your brain is highly resistant to change. You’re doing well enough to be alive, and that’s good enough for your brain. It views any change as potentially dangerous, so it’s not going to allow you to change easily. Expect that you’ll struggle during the process.

  4. Commit to persevering. Make sure that you succeed.

  5. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Any progress is great news, so enjoy it.

The decision to make a fresh start can be daunting - especially when we're not as young as we used to be. If you're not happy with the way things are, it's never too late to try something different. Before you do anything irreversible, however, just give careful thought to the changes you want to make. It’s a mistake to believe that any change is a good change. There are many changes you could experience that are worse than your current situation. Make conscious decisions rather than clinging to the first log that floats by.

Making a fresh start can result in a new and exciting experience. Aim high and be diligent. You’ll be glad you did.


An Attitude of Gratitude

Do you realize how much you can improve your outlook on life by simply being grateful? This is what is called an “attitude of gratitude.” If you cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” you’ll actually bring even more joys into your life like a fulfilling retirement, better health, and stronger relationships.

An attitude of gratitude is truly a magnet for prosperity and success. After all, much of life is about your attitude and your outlook on things. It’s been said that optimists may be wrong and pessimists may be right about some things, but optimists enjoy the ride. Which are you?

If you transform your attitude you can change your entire universe. And yes, you really can change in your attitude by showing appreciation a little more often.

Be Thankful for What You Do Have

Many people, maybe even the majority of us, believe their lives are boring or meaningless. Isn’t that awful? Often, we see little to be thankful for because we’re always thinking about the things we wish they had. We may live in a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood and we may have plenty of food on the table, but we just don’t see the joys in the everyday.

We often take the little things for granted. Are you one of these people? If so, it’s okay! There’s plenty of hope and there are plenty of things for you to be thankful for.

There are so many joys in your life right now that you’re likely overlooking. For example, by reading this article you have obviously awoken for another day. Isn’t the fact that you are still alive something to be thankful for? After all, a cancer survivor, sure won’t take life for granted anymore!

Here’s something to think about:

  • Did the sun rise today? If so, be thankful for the gift of light and warmth.

  • Did you have chores to do today? If so, be thankful for the opportunity to make life better for you and your family.

  • Did you eat a nourishing meal today? If so, be thankful for the gift of food.

Even the smallest things in your life are reasons to celebrate! As we all know, “things could be worse” which is all the more reason to have an attitude of gratitude!

Lots of Gratitude = Positive Attitude

It’s a fact: those who are grateful are more uplifting and positive. By having a positive attitude, you’ll not only feel better, but it's highly likely that you’ll also enjoy better physical health because our body, mind, and spirit are so heavily inter-connected. Now, that’s something to be thankful for, isn’t it?

As mentioned earlier, by having a positive attitude, you’ll be a magnet for positive relationships. You’ll attract like-minded, go-getters who will not only inspire you, but push you further. After all, like attracts like, which is all the more reason to be positive!

Now ask yourself: What do I have to be thankful for today? Spend a few moments showing your appreciation to your loved ones, friends, or any random strangers you meet.