Joy does simply happen. However, you have to stop working so hard at making yourself miserable.
Look at the thoughts in your mind. Are they happy? Are they productive? Are they fun? Or are they filled with anger, sorrow, and misery?
The first step is always to just look at where your mind is living. Only then can you consciously decide if you want to continue living there. If you want to move, then it’s simple. (Not necessarily easy, but simple.)
You have the power to focus your mind wherever you want. You move by re-focusing your mind.
By focusing your mind, the thoughts and feelings you experience have no choice but to follow. The mind is a fantastic filter; by upgrading the filter to things of beauty and gratitude we notice more things of this type. When thoughts of misery appear, instead of indulging in them, focus your mind on beauty and gratitude. Then watch what happens.
Initially, the ego will fight for control. After all, it has spent years creating the mind states in which you live. And here you are, suddenly changing all of that and choosing something new. As we’ve been conditioned to believe, new is scary and dangerous. Part of allowing Joy to spontaneously appear is overcoming this deep-seated fear.
Spend a day using all of your will power to focus on beauty and gratitude; in whatever situation you find yourself, look for something within it that you find beautiful or for which you can feel gratitude. It doesn’t need to be huge or in any way belittle the horrible experience you are having. Just find some small thing of beauty or gratitude, and let your mind hold on to it. Continue doing this in every moment, all day long, letting go of the past, not jumping to the future, and staying in the present.
Notice your experience of things. Not just how you handle the big things, but also the small things.
Did you feel the Joy bubbling up? Perhaps it arrived in tiny drops, or maybe in a big fat smile.
When we cultivate mind states of beauty and gratitude, we think less. And that allows us to get out of the way of spontaneous Joy.