Can I Feel Joy during a Bad Day?

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We asked youth to read President Russell M. Nelson’s October 2016 conference talk on joy and practice the principles. Here’s what they learned.

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Photo illustration by Alex Dantas

Do you want more joy in your life? Sometimes we think of ourselves as too busy or too sad or too mature to feel joy—but that thinking is just wrong! Don’t believe us? Then check out this awesome quote from President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year! … The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy” (Oct. 2016 general conference).

We asked youth from all over the world to read President Nelson’s talk and practice the principles in it for one month, then share with us their experiences. Here’s what three of them had to say!

Joy During a Busy Year

“This year was a really hard year for me. Pretty much all of my waking hours were taken up with my schoolwork, upcoming piano exam, and seminary homework and reading assignments. It was hard to cope with, and I struggled and cried a lot in the beginning. I also fasted and prayed a lot for the Lord’s strength to help me cope and to be cheerful while I did.

“Then, in general conference, I was deeply touched by President Nelson’s talk—it was as if he was speaking directly to me. It gave me so much courage to hold on to my faith and endure to the end. When my school finals ended a few weeks later, it was tempting to dedicate all my time to practicing music for my piano exam, but I remembered what President Nelson said about how focusing on Christ will bring you joy, and I chose to work on finishing my seminary work first. After that, I focused on my music and took my piano exam.

“In the end, I passed everything! I did well in my schoolwork, in seminary, and on my music exam. Most important, my faith in the Lord was strengthened, because during the struggle I was able to feel joyful. And now I feel joyful because I endured it well.”

Victoria H., 16, Selangor, Malaysia

The Savior’s Atonement Makes Me Joyful

“As soon as I heard President Nelson’s talk, I loved it. I especially love that he says, ‘Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy!’ It changed the way that I thought about and focused on life—I focused a lot more on the joys of life rather than the hardships.

“There were multiple things that happened this month that I could’ve easily been upset about, and it’s easy a lot of the time to focus on those things. But because I chose to focus on Christ and joy, it was easier to make it through those trials. It was also a great month because in seminary we’ve been focusing a lot on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can make us joyful. I’ve been thinking a lot about how our Savior truly did do more for us than we realize, and I’m so thankful for Him. That makes me joyful.”

Aurora D., 14, Alaska, USA

Thomas with resurrected Jesus Christ

Doubt Not, Thomas, by J. Kirk Richards

Focusing on the Good Things

“When I started the challenge to focus on the joy in my life for a month, I honestly wasn’t expecting much to change. However, when I actually studied the talk by President Nelson and tried doing as he instructed, I noticed something: focusing on the joy and good things in my life (even ‘worldly’ things) really helped put it in perspective.

“One Saturday I was stuck inside working on a big chemistry lab report that was due on Monday. I was annoyed that I had to do homework at all on the weekends, and I felt like I was wasting my Saturday. Then my mom came into my room and told me that we would be going to visit my older brother and sister at their college. I could have stayed upset at the chemistry report and let it overshadow the good thing that had just come into my life. But instead, because I had decided to focus on joy, the frustration I felt from my chemistry report seemed instantly insignificant next to the happiness I felt thinking about hugging my older siblings again.

“When I focused on joy, I started to notice the things that I have and should be grateful for. When I don’t focus on the bad, and I see all the good in my life, the bad things pale in comparison.”

Luke G., 17, Arizona, USA

Submit Your Own

To read more experiences of youth who have felt joy during tough times, and to share your own experience, find this article at youth.lds.org.