Life can be a bumpy ride, full of twists, turns, ups, and downs. For women in midlife, we know all too well how our well-ordered life can be turned upside down by unexpected, unanticipated, and yes, unwelcome events.
But if you’re willing to shift your perspective and look for the little joys along the way, something amazing can happen. You’ll start to find joy in your day-to-day life, leading to more peace of mind and increased quality of life over time.
In this post, I’m sharing 7 ways that women in midlife can use for finding joy in the journey through life.
So join me on this quest to discover more joy and fulfillment – let’s get started!
The Difference Between Joy and Happiness
Joy and happiness are two emotions that are often used interchangeably. While the two may be similar in certain respects, there is actually a meaningful distinction between them.
Joy can often be associated with something deep within us, far from what society or other people’s opinions causes us to experience. It often grows out of our spiritual perceptions, involves a sense of inner peace rather than excitement, and may last even when things aren’t going well.
Happiness, on the other hand, is more fleeting; it comes from external things such as success, recognition, more money, or material possessions. As such, it is more tethered to superficial pleasure and exterior matters.
Put simply, joy is an emotion that comes from within while happiness is something we feel as a result of external sources. Take some time to explore and examine these two states to get a better understanding of how they coexist in your life.
Joy is a Choice
Joy really is a choice! We have the power to decide how we want to feel and what mindset to approach our lives with. Choosing joy is about making decisions that cultivate more positive emotions and experiences.
For example, dance along to your favorite song, relish in time spent outdoors or soul-nourishing activities like journaling or reading. When you are feeling down, try changing your environment or have conversations with supportive friends and family. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can bring us much joy.
Find little moments of levity and humor – even if it’s as simple as telling yourself a joke or smiling at a stranger! Each moment can be an opportunity to choose joy.
Finding Joy in the Changes that Midlife Brings
As women over 50, life transitions can be the cause of both stress and joy.
Moving to a new city, adjusting to a different lifestyle, either improving or declining in health – all of these can be positive and negative experiences. Finding time to adjust is key – take it slow and enjoy the little moments that create joy in your life.
When facing changes in family situations such as becoming newly single or an empty nester, focus on what you can control – yourself.
Take advantage of this extra time to do activities that bring you happiness such as travel, joining meetup groups, or learning something new.
Changes like these often come with retirement, a time when the lack of structure can be very intimidating but also freeing – use the extra free time wisely and enjoy retirement.
My Personal Experience Choosing and Finding Joy in the Journey
We could all sit down and write about the ups and downs of our lives, particularly as the decades go by. So my story isn’t necessarily unique, but it is my personal journey of life over the last seven years.
When my husband passed away at the age of 61, I was left a 60-year-old widow. Prior to his passing we had experienced financial upheaval and had started over again in our 50’s. So there were some significant events that could have turned me inside out and affected my outlook in life in a huge way.
Because of my faith in the Lord and the knowledge that He is always with me, no matter what happens, I was able to put one foot in front of the other, see and appreciate each new day, and keep moving forward with my life. And yes, although it took a while, with joy.
Life is always a process, and as much as we plan and set goals, twists and turns are inevitable, some more significant than others.
Finding joy in the journey will always help to keep our mind, body, and spirit healthy and cared for.
Turn the Challenge Into a Statement of Gratitude
It’s easy to focus on the negative when things aren’t going our way. But what if we consciously choose to add a statement of gratitude to our difficult or challenging situations? It can be a game-changer.
For example, let’s say you’re having a rough day at work. You can choose to focus on the fact that your boss is breathing down your neck, or you can be grateful for the job that pays the bills and allows you to support yourself and your family.
Or let’s say you’re in a relationship that’s not going well. You can wallow in self-pity and focus on everything that’s wrong, or you can be grateful for the good times you’ve had and the lessons you’re learning.
When we choose to find the silver lining, our perspective shifts and we open ourselves up to possibilities we may have otherwise missed. And you know what can happen after that? Yep. We can find joy in that particular journey.
7 Ways of Finding Joy in the Journey of Life
1 | stop waiting
If we are constantly waiting for “the next thing,” we can miss out on the joys of life that are already here. We may never feel satisfied because as soon as one goal is achieved, our focus shifts to another goal and we forget how far we have come.
Instead of allowing ourselves to remain suspended in anticipation of what may be around the corner, let’s focus on the present and celebrate our victories along the way.
When we look back at those accomplishments and recognize how much progress has been made, it can be incredibly empowering and can help us find joy both in our successes and in our journey overall.
2 | adjust your thinking
When we change our thought process, it can make a big difference in how we experience joy in our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life and think negatively, but if we just take some time to be mindful and become aware of our thoughts, we can break that cycle.
We can choose to focus on the little moments of joy that are always there if we look close enough – the beauty of nature, the smell of a dish being cooked, even spending time with others. Once we start actively searching for these moments and appreciating them, suddenly our journey through life doesn’t feel as mundane or tiresome; it feels more alive and meaningful.
By changing your thought process into one that is grateful and optimistic instead of stressed and negative, you open up new avenues for joy in your life.
3 | give back
Finding joy in life’s journey can be tricky but it can be made easier when we look for ways to give back. Whether it’s a simple act of kindness like holding open a door, contributing to a charity, or volunteering our time, giving back provides us with an instant boost of happiness.
Plus, knowing that by doing something small we have made a difference in the world is an emotional reward that we can’t put a price on.
So next time you’re feeling that joy may be eluding you, give something back – you might just find what you were looking for.
4 | journal
Spending time journaling can be an incredibly rewarding way to tap into your joy, as it allows you to reconnect with and appreciate yourself in a deeper way. Choosing to dedicate even 10 minutes each day to simply reflect on how you’re feeling or express gratitude for the present moment can add immensely to your joy.
Even if you have never journaled before it is worth giving some time to this practice and trying it out. It doesn’t matter what type of journaling you choose – free writing, specific question prompts, or any combination of the two – it can help us start conversations with ourselves that lead to better understanding and deeper emotions. Writing gives us a place to express fully how we feel – something that many things in life cannot give us.
And, journaling has been scientifically proven to boost levels of happiness and is especially great when celebrating little victories in the journey of life – things like achieving a goal or picking up a new skill.
If you’re looking for ways to bring more joy into your everyday life, consider trying out some journaling techniques and seeing what kind of positive change comes from this simple activity!
Is it time for a new journal, planner, or notebook? I’ve created some lovely designs with you in mind! Personalize them with your name, title, and more:
5 | be good to you
Being kind and gentle with ourselves is a great way to find joy in life.
Taking the time for self-care, such as eating healthy meals, meditating, being physically active, or just curling up with a good book can do wonders for your mental health and sense of well-being.
Even small things like using positive affirmations before you start your day can lift your spirits and set you on a positive path throughout the day. The key is to be mindful and compassionate towards yourself so that you don’t end up depleted after giving away too much of your energy to others without replenishing it within yourself.
When we take the necessary measures for our personal growth and development, we can foster a sense of openness and contentment toward learning more about who we are. This will help us find true joy in the journey of life that comes from truly investing in our lives.
6 | be grateful
Gratitude is an essential tool to help us find joy in life. As we take time to recognize the wonderful gifts and beautiful blessings that surround us in life, we unlock a flow of greater joy.
Rather than focus on all the things that have yet to come, let’s practice appreciation for what we already have!
Being thankful for small moments strengthens our connection with hope and opens the door to finding peace-filled contentment in our present circumstances. Cultivating day-to-day gratitude can foster a different perspective on challenging situations, endowing them with newfound opportunities for growth and enlightenment.
Doing this regularly can instill in us an attitude of gratitude which helps us feel contentment in the present while inspiring feelings of hope for the future.
7 | have faith
Having faith in the Lord can give you the strength and hope to approach life with joy. Trusting in something greater than yourself enables you to draw on a source of optimism and be open to opportunity, shifting your perspective from one of self-doubt or fear to one of confidence and peace.
In addition, when we stand in the assurance that our lives are deeply loved and known by God, it becomes easier to find purpose and meaning within both difficult moments and successes alike.
Ultimately, having faith can equip you to recognize blessings amidst any circumstance, allowing you to find joy in the journey each step of the way.
Conclusion: Finding Joy in the Journey Through Life
Living a joyful life is not always easy, but with the right tools and mindset, it’s possible to find joy in even the most challenging of circumstances.
By practicing gratitude, self-care, journaling, and having faith we can better recognize blessings amidst any situation. We can also open ourselves up to opportunities for growth that will lead us down paths of peace-filled contentment.
So let’s make an effort to start today and cultivate more joy into our lives through these simple yet effective activities!
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6 thoughts on “Finding Joy in the Journey Through Life”
So well put!! I don’t know how anyone can live a life of true joy without Jesus Christ!! Life is full of so many simple joys daily!! Praise the Lord for His care for us!!! He gives me so much and will for you too!! Reading His word enriches and strengthens my life!!! He is so good to us!!! Thank you for such a wonderful statement of how to bring more joy into our lives!!!!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Natalie, they are much appreciated.
Fantastic words of encouragement! Thank you for always bringing a breath of fresh air to my Friday!
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! I’m glad you found some encouragement from them. xo
I admire you so much!!! After reading your story of losing your husband and financial troubles in your 50’s, it’s amazing how far you have come!!! I love your blog and I always am impressed with your message. I never gave a lot of thought to the differences between joy and happiness, but you explained it perfectly. I think your message is spot on!!!
You surly are an inspiration!!
Hi Debrah, thanks so much for your kind words, and I’m glad that you found this message an inspiration. My faith in the Lord and assurance that I am never alone is what has kept me moving forward with joy in my heart.