I'm sure you recognize that overpowering bubbly feeling when something creates a smile in your heart. When your friend tells the funniest joke you've ever heard or even when you've finally achieved something you worked so hard for, you find joy in these moments. We've all heard that laughter is natural medicine. Well, it's true! Just by letting out a genuine laugh, it releases dopamine, endorphins, and lowers the stress hormone of cortisol. All of this can reduce pain and send you on a natural high. Wow, isn't God awesome? All this is cool, but sometimes in our life, we travel onto a rough patch; a dry season – a time where everything seems worthless, depressing, and unmotivating. Sometimes I look around and think, "Hmm, what a sad generation this is," but if only we knew how to experience real Joy. Here are ten ways to fulfilling just that:
1. Chill. Drop what you're doing and just breathe. We live in a society where we get too busy to be. This causes us to merely exist instead of live. He invites us in His presence to rest:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
2. Dwell on your blessings. Seriously, think about all the positive things in your life! These are just some basic yet essential things, like actually being alive because God woke you up this morning since He loves ya, having something to wear on your body, being able to breathe, and even having some kind of technological device to read this.
3. Let go. It's so easy to feel stuck in the past. People have done you wrong, they've hurt your feelings, they've broken your heart, but it doesn't help to keep a tight grip on those grudges. It's time to forgive them and to forgive yourself.
4. Take it easy. We put so much pressure on ourselves. Personally speaking, I am so hard on myself sometimes. I beat myself up when I make mistakes and I strive to be the best. Do you know that perfection is unattainable? Despite our individual tragic flaws, we can become the best version of ourselves by allowing Father to reshape us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” .
5. Indulge your passion. What makes your pulse come alive? What do you firmly believe and could talk about all day long? Find that and run with it.
6. Acknowledge your talents. Everyone has skills. What are you good at? It could be playing an instrument, doing something athletic, or even drawing. When we do something we’re gifted in, it reminds us that we are unique and we have purpose.
7. Find your homies. Although life can seem lonely at times, be grateful for specific people who are willing to listen to you. It’s also possible to be stuck in a group of friends who can be manipulative, controlling, and just a bad influence. When we step away from these connections, it can be freeing!
8. Stay strong. Stand firm and steadfast in His promises. We can’t get led astray or discouraged by others. There are going to be people who try to bring you down or who don’t support your dreams and goals, but at the end of the day, you aren’t living your life for them. You have a bigger plan and a greater call on your life that only God can make happen. That’s so exciting because His ways are always good!
9. Delete social media. I know this is tough but try going without it for just a couple of days or even a week. Even if you do a month without any social media, you can notice a complete shift in your behavior. I had to take a little break from it because it made me nervous, insecure, and worried. I was always checking to see who commented on my Instagram posts. It sounds silly now that I think about it, but it’s a real struggle. We all want to feel accepted, important, and beautiful. But we can’t put our self-worth in other people who are doing the same exact thing. Our identity is planted in a soil more important than apps.
10. Get rid of temporary fixes. The things we run to are quick reliefs to emptiness that actually leave us worse off than before. We want instant gratification. That even means we would rather choose temporary happiness than everlasting joy. The decisions we make with this mentality set us up for regret and disappointment. The good news is, we have a way to experience the fullness of joy! That is found in His awesome presence. It surpasses all human understanding.
Above everything, you deserve to live a life of Joy. It gives our life more value and makes us appreciate even the tiniest things. The world will trick you into following advice that leads to false conclusions of fulfillment. But let me encourage you by leaving you with what I’ve found to work for me when I’m down, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” .
 The Holy Bible; NIV - Matthew 11:28-30
 2 Corinthians 5:17
 Nehemiah 8:10