It’s not always easy to feel joy in life, especially when we’re bombarded with discouraging news and wrenching images of human suffering. Yet holding on to happiness in spite of everything is a challenge which confronts everyone. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote: “Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the very spot where I now am.”

In this same regard, Swami Kriyananda said, “Joy is the solution, not the reward.” In other words, joy is a dynamic choice we can make every day, not a passive response we feel only when favorable circumstances warmly greet us.

Here are ten portals you can choose every day that will expand your joy. Select a few of them, or as many as you like, but do some of them every day. You’ll be surprised how your joy level begins to rise.

Door #1: Do Something You Love. Decide for yourself what it is—walk, paint, call an old friend, knit, read a good book, pet your cat—but make sure it’s something that you’re doing for the joy of it, not from a sense of obligation. Joy Password: I Enjoy.

Door #2: Challenge Yourself. Find something that you thought you couldn’t do, and then put out the energy to accomplish it. Begin with little things—don’t start with running a marathon, if you’ve never done it before. Think rather of things that are doable but above your present level of skill or experience, then persevere until you’ve done it. Joy Password: I Can.

Door #3: Do a Task You’ve Been Avoiding. How much energy and peace is wasted in all the niggling, little things that we keep putting off! Clean out your desk drawers, give away all those books you’re done with, or answer those complicated emails you keep in the “Hope They Disappear” folder. Joy Password: I Will.

Door #4: Read or Listen to Something Inspiring. The gifts of the great spiritual teachers are abundant, but we pass them over in the midst of our busy lives. If you take only five minutes each day to immerse yourself in the wisdom from enlightened souls, you’ll be laying a foundation of joy that nothing can destroy. Joy Password: I Attune.

Door #5: Tell Someone They’re Appreciated. Yogananda once said to a group of his disciples, “If you only knew how beautiful you are. I see you all as beings of light.” This is how God sees each of His children—as their divine potential. By serving as a channel to express His love and appreciation for others, we draw closer to His bliss. Joy Password: I Care.

yogananda how to be happy, quotes on joy by yogananda and kriyananda

Be grateful for something in your life.

Door #6: Be Grateful for Something in Your Life. Don’t be grateful just for the good things. Think appreciatively about each setback and test, and realize how much you gained from the experience. So whether it’s a loving friend or an undermining competitor, simply think, “Thank You, God.” Joy Password: I Give Thanks.

Door #7: Make Someone Smile or Laugh. As your joy increases, be sure to share it with others—with friends, strangers, and even those who are difficult for you. Let your joy be like an unseen effervescence in the water of life that you offer to everyone. Joy Password: I Share.

Door #8: Gaze at Something Beautiful in Nature. Find something in the natural world—a flower, a pinecone, a leaf of a houseplant, the rings of a tree stump. Gaze at it until you see its beauty. Then close your eyes, and try to feel the divine thought that created it. Finally, open your eyes and look at it anew with appreciation for the joy our Creator has put into everything. Joy Password: I See.

Door #9: Do an Anonymous Act of Kindness. Be a secret agent for help and support to others. Service is even sweeter when it’s offered without any thought of personal recognition. Joy Password: I Serve.

Door #10: Meditate with Joy. Don’t wait for joy to come to you. Bring it into your meditation, until you remember that it is who and what you really are. Yoganandaji wrote, “From joy I came, for joy I live, in sacred joy I melt.” Joy Password: I Am.

May all the portals of joy open for you,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. Thank you Deviji, this dose of joy to start the year with is most wonderful!
    It helps orient me towards having more joy and gratitude for the whole year. Jai Guru.

  2. Very helpful. Thank you Devi!
    In Master’s Love, Paula

  3. Wow! Thank you so much Deviji,
    Wonderful ones. Will strive to follow these beautiful concept of Joy Passwords.

  4. Such a beautiful and practical Touch of Light! thank you both so much for your all the joy and wisdom you share in these Touches.

  5. “Joy is the solution, not the reward.” –My new favorite affirmation! Thank you, Devi!

  6. Thanks Devi ji, for this very helpful article. Jai Guru !

  7. Thanks for this very helpful article. Jai Guru !

  8. Devi, I joyfully accept this guidance. Your saintly wisdom fills me with joy. Thank you, Mary Jo

  9. Wonderful. I cannot express the happiness after reading this . Thank you so much.

  10. Thamk you for spreading the joy, day in and day out. We appreciate.

  11. Beautiful! Just reading this post makes me feel more joy.

  12. so simply explained the route to enjoy happiness and to be joyful. ?

  13. Thank you..very good list..liked in step 1,pet your cat..there are many
    homeless cats,dogs in shelters,cages..just waiting to be loved,in need
    of good is a special joy for someone to rescue and give a
    loving home and care to such beautiful lives in need

  14. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for this inspiring blog. Simple acts that could bring joy :)

  15. Dear Deviji, in deepest loving and Divine Gratitude, I thank you for your Divine support and friendship. Namaste


  17. I need so much your words, dear Deviji, in this period of my life. Thank you for your wonderful article!
    With all my love.

  18. Thank you again. My best friend is dying of cancer and I am walking the process with her. We are very close and although her spiritual
    path is a little different we share the love for GOD the same. It will be very hard to not have her in my life but I am so grateful to have
    had this very loving person in my life for the past 10 years that I have lived at Ananda. Your posts always give me more courage to
    deal with the hard things in life.
    Blessings to you both, Yvonne

  19. Dear Devi , I am just now getting to write to you since the holidays and your wonderful,wonderful letter and print. Also it was real cool to know that my stuff …….. I sent was so received ! And another thing was ..about that ….. VISITOR you had from el satan ( it ‘s so nice some time to get a visit from the old thing ! It sure helps to know you MUST be doing something right!!! ) …… What I refer to ,you know , is when that persona came to you and tried to shame you about the pace of your sadhana……….I my self have had a few such visits. Alot about the fact I have been on this Path since 61…62 and not made the progress so many of you all have .( LET ME BE QUICK to say No One at Ananda has ever been an avenue of The Dark Foe to Me about THIS !!! ) But came none the less…..and I was given the answer for me , and that is……………… ” I am not what I would like to be , that is true..!…………………..I am surelly Not what I should be !!………..BUT I AM NOT WHAT I USED TO BE !!! And THAT said REGULARLY is all I need !!! I AM ,as always YOURS in GODS LOVE , James

  20. Simply liked the ten DOs which indeed are great reminders.
    Thanks and deep regards

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