Joy can be loud and exuberant. It might come in a mad, frenzied rush and sweep you off your feet. Or it can be small – sneaking up on you in still, quiet moments.
Intensely personal, joy is different for everyone but essential for us all. It defines who we are and steadies us in a storm to reaffirm what’s important.
A missing link
Sometimes, it can feel like joy is MIA, hoovered up into the ether by some giant vacuum until you can barely remember what it looks or feels like.
For inspiration, we asked readers to share the things that bring them happiness. Maybe you can identify with the sentiments and use them to help hone in on your own.
‘Lying in the hammock that’s strung between two old beech trees in my parent’s backyard on a warm summer afternoon, drifting off into a half sleep, listening to the kids laughing and playing off in the distance. That’s joy for me. Oh, and my dad’s old and corny jokes that he still loves to tell.’ Becky, Orange, NSW
‘I volunteer at a nursing home once a week. It’s where I am reminded of the fragility and preciousness of this short life. Many of the old folks love a chat; they have stories and great wisdom to share. I am uplifted and humbled by them every time I walk through the doors.’ Maisie, Glenelg, SA
‘Baking. When I’m in the kitchen creating yumminess to share with friends and family, that’s my place. I’m good at it, I love it and I love to get lost in it.’ Sara, Chatswood, NSW
‘Not gonna lie, my one true joy is cherry and white chocolate chunk ice-cream. What can I tell ya?’ Suzanne, Capalaba, Qld
‘Nothing brings me greater joy than the moment my feet finally leave the ground at the end of the day and I can slip between the covers of my magnificent, glorious, welcoming, beautiful bed! Can you tell I truly love my bed?’ Marisa, Hobart, Tas
‘Creating an awesome recipe from scratch and knowing that there’s no garbage in what I’m feeding my family. That brings me joy.’ Amy, Tuggerah Lakes, NSW
‘My first sip of coffee each morning
before dealing with any of the day’s
to-do lists or drama is joy to me. I grind
my own beans for each cup so inhaling
that aroma is my idea of pure bliss.’
- Jo, Brighton, Vic
‘Having nothing to do but curl up in bed in my jammies and watch re-runs of Gilmore Girls or Grey’s Anatomy with my 13-year-old daughter who’s a TV junkie like me! Bliss!’ Jess, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
‘Call me odd but I find deep joy folding and putting away clothes fresh off the line. I love the way they smell and feel and it gives me a sense of place and purpose.’ Lisa, Manly, NSW
‘Seeing the love expressed between my sons, aged 17 and 11, brings me pride. And when I see them show kindness to others? That’s true mummy joy!’ Gina, Randwick, NSW
‘Sunlight. The sound of the ocean. Hard rain at night. Meeting friends for brunch. The sound of my hubby’s car coming up the driveway. An unexpected call from my daughter. Hugs from my grandbabies.’ Sarah, Bunbury, WA
Make a ‘joy’ list. Over several days, as they occur to you, write down the things that make you feel happy or bring you a deep sense of peace, pleasure or contentment. Don’t worry if they seem insignificant or small, it all counts. Now, read over your list and pursue your joys!