By Melanie Jager July 28, 2019
Considering many online articles about activities that bring joy, the following top 10 list is compiled based on the appreciative promise informed approach to living. The N.I.C.E. Model focuses on developing characteristics and qualities for nurturing and caring. It stands for Nurture Intrinsic Care Engagement. This TOP 10 list of joy filled activities aligns with the purpose of the N.I.C.E. Model which is to enrich the experience of promise informed living through reciprocal joy.
TOP 10 ACTIVITIES FOR INSTANT JOY
#1 - Exercise Daily - Whether you take a walk, go on a bike ride, or fit in a 10 minute abs routine each day - exercise in your daily routine will elevate your joy. Developing a nurturing character begins with caring for yourself. By exercising we also build self-confidence and “there is nothing like a boost in confidence that can increase overall happiness.” MindBodyGreen.com
#2 - Spend Time with Animals - There is ample research that shows interacting with pets is good for the soul. The unconditional love of a pet brings instant joy for most people. Caring for a pet or foster animal is a great way to develop your nurturing and caring instincts.
#3 - Do Something Creative - Caroline Gregory, writer for Healthy Living states, "Psychologists find that creative activities can trigger an “upward spiral” of well-being." Sometimes our daily or weekly routines provide a creative outlet. Reflect on your daily routines - in your job and/or in your home to identify those opportunities. If you do not see opportunities in your life allowing for creativity - find time to make the opportunity once a week if possible.
#4 - Keep a Journal - According to Psychology Today, journaling can boost happiness in five minutes or less. In keeping with Promise Informed appreciative practices, journaling about what you are grateful for creates instant joy. Remember you don’t have to write a book - just a few words - like a list. Consider, instead of writing a to-do list everyday, write a with-who list once a week to make intentional plans for reaching out to friends, family, and loved ones. This action will guide your thinking and planning to do things that bring you and others joy.
#5 - Have Indoor Plants - There are many benefits to having indoor plants. One benefit is they bring beauty to our surroundings. Another benefit is the care responsibility that comes with having indoor plants. This responsibility compels the on-going development of our nurturing character. When we nurture and care for something - we generally feel happy.
#6 - Send a Card to Someone - Sending a card in the mail to someone is a great way to exercise your care condition. It also provides the chance to take a slower communication pathway. In our fast paced world, slowing down for a moment can yield a surprisingly joyful sensation. So, enjoy taking the time to drive to the store, pick out the perfect card, carefully craft your message, address and stamp your envelope, and put your card in the mail. The idea of your recipient getting your thoughtful message will bring further joy to your experience.
#7 - Give Someone a Compliment - Giving compliments spreads joy in every direction. Coach, Holly Sheerer shares, “learning to give sincere and constructive compliments is a small change that has a huge impact. It’s something everyone can do and doesn’t cost a dime.” This coach is right - giving compliments is something we can afford to practice every single day. This appreciative practice of care and consideration will not only bring others joy but you as well.
#8 - Spend Time Outside - The Aesthetics of Joy website tell us, “the power of nature is that it not only elicits joy; it also reduces stress.” This activity is mostly relevant to self-care and nurturing. Find time to sit outside as often as possible. Eat lunch or take a break outdoors to sit in nature and focus on the sky, the greenery, the sound of the wind sweeping through the tops of the trees, or watch the gentle movement of the clouds. Sit in the shade and enjoy a breeze or sit in the sun and feel the warmth on your face. Bring a friend along so they feel the joy too.
#9 - Take A Nap - Peggy Noonan said, “Naps are nature’s way of reminding you that life is nice - like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity.” This colorfully written explanation of napping is why it brings us joy - naps remind us that life is nice - and we find comfort in that belief through this self-care action. We all know that a quick 20-30 minute power nap will restore, refresh, and renew our mind, body, and spirit. Joy!
#10 - Eat Chocolate - Research tells us that dark chocolate boosts the production of feel-good chemicals called endorphins which affect receptors in the brain leading to feelings of euphoria, like the kind joggers get from runner’s high. Isn’t it exciting to know that eating a little chocolate can bring us happiness and joy? Though it is a great truth, we must remember to do everything in moderation. Get excited as eating chocolate IS one way we can practice self nurturing and care and also know that giving it to others is a way to care for them as well.
Melanie Jager is a career educator and systems strategist who specializes in school and organizational concept and project development. Melanie leads strategic planning and program creation for The Promise Group as Co-Founder and Executive Manager. She is the Executive Director of Promise Informed Schools and serves as a Promise Informed strategy and implementation trainer and Leadership consultant for schools, organizations, and businesses. Melanie and her husband, Sean, enjoy Lowcountry living in Charleston, SC, where they are raising two teenaged sons.