No matter how old you are, what stage of life you are in or your life circumstances you can be your own Chief Joy Officer. What’s a Chief Joy Officer you ask? It means you are the boss of your own happiness and no one can take it away from you.  Don’t worry, I am not recommending that you become an isolationist and only hang out with “me, myself and I”. I am suggesting that you don’t root the source of your joy in other people. If you’re a control freak or a people pleaser, you will really love this because I am going to share with you how to experience stable joy in your life so you can get off of the emotional roller coaster of highs and low. Isn’t a freeing thought to think that you don’t have to depend on anyone for joy in your life?

So how do you become your own Chief Joy Officer? Here are 3 simple steps:

  1. Don’t look to others to make you happy. Even though humans were made to be social and rely on each other, solely depending on other people to make you happy will lead to frustration and disappointment. No matter how much someone cares about you, they will still disappoint you. This is because they are different than you and so what’s important to you may not be important to them and we naturally focus on what’s important to us. Therefore, expecting other people to innately focus on what’s important to you will eventually erode your joy.
  2. Give yourself a pep talk. When you are having a down day, shift your negative self-talk to focusing on being grateful for all of the positive things in your life. As they say, count your blessings. This doesn’t mean that you have to go around being superficially happy and hiding your emotions all of the time. Joy sometimes looks like having some quiet time or doing something to escape your frustrations like watching a movie, exercising or working in the yard. Recently, I had a 48 hour pep talk with myself as I was frustrated about a personal situation in my life. So rather than sulking and throwing a tantrum, I grabbed my iPod and spent one day cleaning my whole house and the next day doing 10 hours of yard work. During this time, I thought about my situation and compared it to all of the positives in my life. At the end of the 48 hour period, joy had overwhelmed my frustration and I was even happier than before the upsetting situation arose. One of the benefits of this approach is that I didn’t lash out at friends or loved ones causing relationship damage that would need repair in the future.
  3. Reduce joy stealing activities and interactions. If you find there are certain people or situations that repeatedly steal your joy, consider reducing the time you spend with those people or in those situations. Often times completely eliminating the situation is not always an option so look for ways to minimize the joy stealing activities. When you are in such situations, amp up your positive pep talk and remind yourself that you are your own CJO, others can’t steal your joy. Also, I find that if I look for the positive qualities in people that frustrate me, then I tend to focus on them more than their negative qualities. And yes, everyone has positive qualities; some are easier to see than others.

See how simple it is to be your own Chief Joy Officer? You’re probably already feeling more joyful because what you focus on you become. Therefore, by focusing on joy as you read this, you should already be happier. Don’t you love that?