Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night is a book about how to find joy every morning, even after life’s darkest nights.

The book includes more than 40 simple things you can do every day to feel joy. Below is an excerpt featuring two things you can do right now to make your day more joyful.

Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Trying to control something that’s out of your control is guaranteed to suck all of the joy out of your day. But letting go of what you can’t control is far easier said than done for most of us.

Several years ago, a client told me that he put things into two circles—the circle of control and the circle of concern. The circle of control contained things he could do something about; the circle of concern contained things that might affect him but that he couldn’t do anything about.

For things in the circle of control, he figured out what he needed to do and took action. For things in the circle of concern, he let go—he didn’t worry or even think about them because it was a waste of time and energy. I’m sure he adapted this concept from Stephen Covey’s work (Covey’s most popular book was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), and I don’t think he was as genuinely nonchalant about the things in his circle of concern as he claimed to be. But the approach is a good one.

If something that you can’t control is bothering you, let it go. Do it just for today—or maybe even just for a few hours—if that’s all you can do. But let it go and see how much room you have for joy in your day.

Take a Fresh Look

Look at your world as though you’d never seen it before. You’ll be surprised at how many things you’ll notice that you’ve been overlooking.

Do this for a few minutes or a few hours. Drive down a street you travel often, looking at the landscape with fresh eyes. Look at your church through the eyes of a first-time visitor (without nitpicking all the little things that need correcting—focus on the good things you’ve been taking for granted). Take a fresh look at some of the people you deal with regularly—your spouse, family members, friends, and coworkers. Do your job as though it was your first day at the company.

You’ve heard the old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t think that’s true. Familiarity is how we build relationships, establish intimacy, and learn to love. What actually breeds contempt is disrespect and dishonoring others. But sometimes—especially after we’ve become familiar with them—we take people and things for granted, we’re not excited about them anymore. Looking at your world and the people in it through fresh eyes will show you things you’ve been missing and restore interest and excitement to your day.

What simple things do you do to add joy to your life? Share in the comments.

Jacquelyn Lynn
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