You Don’t Always Need to Feel Joyful to Live a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life

Osaka Pork Izakaya with Cindy

A philosophical thought I had: you don’t always need to be in a joyful, upbeat, or “happy” mood to live a fulfilling, meaningful, and heroic life.

Mood isn’t a good indicator for “happiness” and fulfillment in life

Cindy at work at our Airbnb in Osaka, 2018
Cindy at work at our Airbnb in Osaka, 2018

I had this thought while eating delicious chicken yakitori in Osaka:

The food is good, my life is good, but I don’t feel super joyful, giddy, or excited.

Which made me realize,

My mood is so capricious and changes like the wind or weather. I shouldn’t take my mood too seriously, or use it as a barometer of how well my life is going.

Things which lower my mood

Red and yellow texture. Osaka, 2018
Red and yellow texture. Osaka, 2018

For example, here are some random stuff which hampers my mood:

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Lack of sunlight
  4. Lack of movement/walking
  5. Lack of creative activity

But when I do the opposite of the above things, I am in a better, more joyful mood.

What is the purpose of life?

Osaka Red, selfie shadow, 2018
Osaka Red, selfie shadow, 2018

Now, I don’t think the purpose of life is to always be in a happy and joyful mood. I know that in the wintertime, when I have less sunlight, I feel a more melancholy, slightly anxious, and depressive mood — even if my life is going awesome. But once spring comes to bloom, and I experience more sunlight, I steadily feel my mood get better.

Osaka graffiti, 2018
Osaka graffiti, 2018

To me, the purpose of life is to do epic stuff, to make creative things which empowers yourself and others, to come up with ideas and art that empowers humanity and future generations, and to essentially make the world a better place.

But of course, being in a joyful mood is beneficial to living a more active and creatively productive life. But not always necessary.

Urban landscape. Osaka, 2018
Urban landscape. Osaka, 2018

For example I’m often doing meaningful work, but not in the most joyful mood —and that is okay. I know that my mood is always changing, and I should not take my mood too seriously. But of course, if you’re in a depressive mood for really extended periods of time, that is when you must address it.

How to improve your mood

Street scene with man in front of Pachinko. Osaka, 2018
Street scene with man in front of Pachinko. Osaka, 2018

Simple things which improve my mood:

  1. Vigorous exercise: lifting heavy stuff at the gym, such as heavy deadlifts, squats, dumbbell press.
  2. Going on walks with my camera, and taking photos.
  3. A nice conversation with a friend or loved one.
  4. Listening to my favorite upbeat and empowering music (Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Daft Punk)
  5. Doing creative work: writing, intense reading, making videos, making pictures, etc.
  6. Laughter: watching stand up comedy, improv comedy, or just cracking jokes with friends.
  7. Drinking black coffee or green tea.
  8. Ice cold showers: Surprisingly, this really improves my mood. I get a huge rush of dopamine after an icy cold shower.
  9. Really really hot bath: to relax myself in the evenings before sleeping. Close to scalding water. Theory: Contrast between ice cold showers and really hot sauna-style bath.
  10. Getting a massage: Cheap Thai massage or Chinese massage is good, around $20-30 an hour. Instantly improves my mood.

I hope some of these tips work well for you friend.

Cindy hand shadow yukata uji
Uji, 2018 #cindyproject

Remember, your mood is fleeting. But the creative work you do to empower yourself and others will last forever, in a positive way, to help the present and future generations of humanity!

So stay focused on your work, be bold, brave, and never stop hustling!



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