8 Keys to Greater Joy and Vitality

8 Keys to Greater Joy and Vitality

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or of self-help / positive psychology works more generally then to be perfectly honest, you probably already KNOW all there is to know about how to be happy and healthy!

That being said, knowing is not the same as doing. We all need reminders sometimes and it gets hard for all of us sometimes; especially during difficult times.

So this Psychology Today article by Diane Dreher might just be a reminder for many of you, but it might also just be the reminder you need to find or re-find happiness and your path to thriving and flourishing …


  • Research shows that finding moments of joy during troubled times can build our resilience.
  • We can experience joy in positive practices such as connecting with nature, meditating, reaching out to others, and appreciating beauty.
  • Over time, these practices can build our vitality, hope, and resilience.
Photo. Happy Daughter. Michael Dam michaeldam, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Photo. Happy Daughter. Michael Dam michaeldam, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been feeling stressed and low-energy lately, you’re not alone. For the past two years, our lives have been turned upside down by the Covid pandemic, political conflict, economic uncertainty, lost jobs, lost relationships, and now the heartbreaking war in Ukraine. Yet research shows that during troubled times, responding with moments of joy amid the suffering can bring us greater meaning and resilience (Berrios, Totterdell, & Kellett, 2018).

Like daily vitamins that increase our vitality, these moments of joy are what I call “spiritual vitamins.” Positive psychology research shows how these revitalizing practices can energize and inspire us, building our capacity for hope. As you review this list, think of three “spiritual vitamins” you can add to your life.

1. Connecting with Nature

Research reveals how connecting with nature can improve our health, raising our mood, creativity, and overall vitality (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008; Howell, et al., 2011; Kaplan, 1995; Ryan, et al., 2010). You can connect with nature in many ways, from walking in your neighborhood or a nearby park to cultivating a garden, placing a bird feeder outside your window, or growing herbs indoors on a sunny window sill.

2. Exercising

Research shows that exercise can help relieve depression (Rethorst, & Trivedi, 2010). We need movement in our lives. Sedentary behavior, sitting for hours at computers, in cars, or on couches, can actually be hazardous to our health (Thorp, Owen, Neuhaus, & Dunstan, 2011). How much do you move each day? Have you become more sedentary during the pandemic? To get back on track, choose an exercise you enjoy. Sign up for a yoga, dance, or aerobics class. Start slowly, then increase your exercise as you build up stamina. As the Tao Te Ching says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (see Dreher, 2000/2022).

3. Connecting with Others

The World Health Organization (2021) reports how loneliness and depression have dramatically increased during the Covid pandemic and research shows that loneliness can undermine our health (Cacioppo, Hawkley, & Thisted, 2010). To flourish, we need a circle of support that includes not only family and friends but what psychologist Barbara Fredrickson (2013) calls “micro-moments of connectivity.” A smile, eye contact, perhaps a kind word with anyone we encounter each day, from our neighbors to the grocery store clerk, benefits both people, relieving stress and promoting greater physical and emotional well-being. What steps can you take to build your own circle of support?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE