So often, it seems like the world presses against us, day in and day out. Work duties, family obligations, endless chores, finances, on and on. Who has time for anything as frivolous as deliberately “finding happiness”? Much less “living your joy.” Like, when? How? And why would it even matter when getting through the day in one piece seems like “joy” enough.

It matters a lot. The science is unequivocal. Happy people are healthier. Happy people cope with stress better. People who cope with stress better are more successful – mostly because their energies are less bound up in anxiety and fear. Plus, being happy just feels good. Look at any toddler running around. They have a singular objective; to be as happy as possible. They don’t care what you think of it, the mess they may create, or how their bouncy, quirky selves annoy others. They are happy, and that’s reason enough for them to do whatever they are doing.

You groan. OK, fine, but what if happiness for you means traveling? To far distant lands, for example, which costs more money than you can afford, and means time off work/family/etc. which you can’t get?

Use the creative portion of your brain to come up with a way to satisfy – to some degree – your travel urge without costing big bucks. A friend of mine, whose passionate longing to visit Japan has been squelched by work, finances, family and COVID, came up with a unique solution: he and his partner visited their town’s local “Japan town” and spent an afternoon there. They soaked up the different architecture, visited the stores with their Japanese goods, ate at a Japanese restaurant, relished the different language spoken all around them – and went home, guess what? Happy!

Did this replace my friend’s desire to visit Japan? No. But it did give him a wonderful few hours of quasi-immersion in the Japanese culture. It gave him some happiness while he saves for when the time to actually go to Japan becomes available.

Your happiness might be to become a best-selling author. “But who has the time to write?” you ask. You have an hour, somewhere in your week that you can devote to writing. Maybe even an hour twice a week. You can master the “4 pages a week” writing goal that another friend of mine used to eventually complete her first novel.

It really doesn’t matter what brings you happiness, you can find a way to do some portion of it until the circumstances of your life allow you to indulge in a bigger way.

That’s what “finding happiness” is all about. “Living your joy” is the natural consequence of the deliberate cultivation, bit by bit, of what makes you happy.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of "Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes" and “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right." Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson, and listen to her podcast Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical on Spotify, Google Podcasts and on YouTube.