Make a Joyful Noise: 31 Songs of Joy | via givinguponperfect.com

Over the last few years I’ve seen dozens of articles and posts about Highly Sensitive People. Every time I think I’m going to learn that I am an HSP, but the quizzes never prove that theory correct. I’m just not QUITE sensitive enough for an official diagnosis with capital letters.

Of course, a few people – like my husband, my mother, my closest friends – will likely scoff at this slight distinction. Because, okay FINE, whether we name my tendencies or not, I tend to be pretty sensitive. And not just when it comes to hurt feelings.

As my husband can tell you, my superpower is my incredible (or, overactive, as some might call it) sense of smell – and he knows well just how quickly my mood can change when an aroma reaches my nose. It’s also true that I often get hangry – but not the kind you’re familiar with. While I might get grouchy when I’m hungry (who doesn’t?!), I become livid in a heartbeat when I get too hot. Smell and temperature get me all worked up.

But nothing alters my mood like music.

Make a Joyful Noise: 31 Songs of Joy | via givinguponperfect.com

A song that reminds me of a particularly sad situation – a broken relationship, a relative who has passed away, an ASPCA commercial – will bring me to tears with just a few notes. Likewise, a song that makes me smile for any reason – its inspiring lyrics, a peppy melody, or the memories it brings to mind – can snap me out of a mood or a funk, raise my spirits and remind me that the sun really will come out tomorrow.

(Forgive that silly song reference. I’m watching the Annie remake with Annalyn as I type this!)

My friend and co-author Sara wrote about choosing joy, but she also admitted that sometimes that was easier said than done. So she had strategies to make sure she could choose joy even when life got unbearably difficult. She said:

“For me, it helps to have a plan. Most of this past week I spent more time in bed than I did on the couch. (Yes, sitting on the couch is my goal right now.) But I keep my sanity with certain cozy blankets that make me think of the people who gave them to me, certain movies ready to go in the DVD player, my computer propped on the bed, books and notebooks on my side table.

I make lists of the things I want to try to get accomplished eventually so that my brain isn’t always stuck in the unpleasant present. But I never put anything on the list that I know could be unattainable, because that will just frustrate me later. I keep my meds across the room so I have to get up and move whether I feel like it or not, because it’s good for me. I keep things around me that remind me of the joy, of the good things in my life, of the blessings that the pain can’t touch if I don’t let it.

It’s not always the big things like pain and immobility that can rob us of our joy. Sometimes it’s just the tedious repetition of the day. But we still know better, we still trust Him, we still keep believing – and it’s so much easier to do this when we have a plan to keep ourselves in the middle of the joy.”

Make a Joyful Noise: 31 Songs of Joy | via givinguponperfect.com

Having a plan to ensure you stick to your commitment, your choice, your priorities? Sounds like a good idea to me – and an excuse, I mean REASON, to create a song list full of songs full of joy!

On Monday I shared that the word I’m choosing to focus on in 2016 is [unsurprisingly] JOY. As I’ve learned from Sara, joy is a state of mind and a matter of choice. I’m determined to choose more joy in 2016 than ever before. And to help me do that, I’ve created a song list of joyful songs.

Last month I asked my Facebook friends to share their happy songs with me. I’d scribbled down a few ideas, some songs that cheer me up and get my foot tapping every time I hear them. But my list was incomplete, so I did a little crowdsourcing. And wow, did my friends have happy songs to share! I went from hoping to get 10 great songs to having several dozen to choose from!

I decided that, to help me kick off this new year of joy and, yes, also in honor of my book, Choose Joy coming out in a few days, I needed a list of 31 songs of joy. You know, one for each day of the new month in the new year?!

Make a Joyful Noise: 31 Songs of Joy | via givinguponperfect.com

I had to come up with some “Joyful Song” criteria to narrow down my choices, of course. Which means that you might not see all of your favorite happy songs here. Some of mine are missing, too! Too many songs! Not enough days in the first month of the year! To create this list, I tried to stick to songs that were both about joy and sounded joyful, while putting together a soundtrack from various genres. The lengths I go to [for you/for this book/to avoid other work/to create the perfect song list]. :)

ANYWAY. Songs full of joy work for me.

If you’d like to make a joyful sound or if you need a little help choosing joy in the new year, please enjoy these 31 songs of joy. [Click here if you can’t see the Spotify widget.]

What’s your happy song, the song that helps you remember to choose joy?

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