“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

A friend recently passed away, who was young, talented, and vibrant. Her name was Joy.

Joy pursued her passions in many ways. Joy was a foster parent, real estate entrepreneur, artist, teacher, and author. To bring about these talents and accomplishments, she acknowledged her inner beauty. People who knew Joy write that she was always kind, generous and had a positive attitude.

The Joy effect is available to us if we just let joy into our lives. My friend Joy touched the lives of many people and so can you.

Try theses eight ways to feel alive and resilient. The joy effect will help you bring about change in your life, bounce back from any setback, and overcome obstacles you never thought possible.

1. Do a happy dance.

Joy started her day doing a happy dance and shared her insight one day when I was feeling overwhelmed with many to-do’s. I created a happy dance playlist of my top five songs and play it over and over to fully engage in my busy day. Now I am happily checking off my to-do list.  You can also do a happy dance to your favorite songs in your car like James Corden, host of The Late Late Show and his notable Carpool Karoake scenes.

2. Acknowledge your inner beauty.

Your inner beauty is the quality you most appreciate about yourself. My inner beauty is to have gratitude and the way I hide it is foolish, and the way I choose to express it now is to acknowledge it. Write this sentence for yourself,  “My inner beauty is _______, and the way I hide it is _______, and the way I choose to express it now is _______.

3. Turn obstacles into challenges.

This tip is one of my favorites as I always love a challenge. Don’t be afraid to see obstacles as merely a consideration. Learn to plan your next step with care the next time an obstacle occurs. What can you do to make the best use of your time and how you are feeling at any given moment? My husband and I are learning to communicate better through the distractions of TV, the Internet, and other outside influences.

4. Do the Joy Review exercise.

The Joy Review as shown in the referenced post, is a way to get in touch with areas of your life that bring you joy. If you’re honest with your feelings, you must separate the negative feelings from positive feelings so that you can feel a higher purpose in life. This will require reckoning with any circumstances that you may be blaming others for. Remember that only you can bring joy into your life when you decide to receive it.

5. Be around people who you love and make you happy.

It seems quite simple if we already are around people we love. Research studies have shown that satisfying relationships are associated with better health, greater happiness, and even a longer life. As Melanie Greenberg Ph.D., a practicing psychologist says, “While the number of social ties makes a difference, quality also counts.”

6. Have empathy.

The dictionary defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This would require good listening and being present to fully experience and acknowledge those feelings of others. A former sociology teacher many years ago taught me this one skill, empathy, as he described, will influence the way you think of other people wherever you go.

7. Practice voluntary simplicity.

Do you cram a list of ten or twenty things you need to do today, and wind up not remembering everything you did? In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a thought leader on mindfulness and author of Wherever You Go There You Are, writes “choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.”

8. Smile.

Smiling spreads joy. According to Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, teaches that the simple act can transform the world around you. A smile is contagious, makes us appear more attractive, lifts our mood, and the moods of those around us.

I encourage you to discover joy that truly brings about more fulfillment.