“Serve G‑d with joy!” sings the Psalmist.

Joy is central to connecting to G‑d. Being happy when you do a mitzvah demonstrates that you like this connection, this tremendous privilege of serving the Infinite Author of All Things. And in fact, the Arizal, 16th-century master Kabbalist, once asserted that the gates of wisdom and divine inspiration were opened for him only as a reward for doing mitzvahs with boundless joy.

Not just mitzvahs, but everything you do—eating, sleeping, business, and even leisure activities—can be part of the way you connect to G‑d. All it takes is the right intentions. If so, “serve G‑d with joy” applies to all times and every situation.

“Serve G‑d with joy!” actually applies to all times and situations

When you’re happy, the toughest tasks are a cinch, the strongest adversaries are easily vanquished. If you’re down, on the other hand, even simple challenges seem overwhelming. Winning the lifelong battle against temptations, self-centeredness and just doing the right thing is largely dependent on staying bright, happy and optimistic.

A happiness meditation:

  1. Envision being given the opportunity to host your nation’s head of state in your humble home. Picture how overjoyed and excited you’d be at the honor.
  2. Consider G‑d’s unfathomable greatness.
  3. Take another moment to appreciate how small and insignificant you are by comparison.
  4. Contemplate now how He loves and cherishes you.
  5. Consider how, when you do a mitzvah, you cause Him to dwell with us here in our world—and you get to host Him!
  6. Let a sense of purpose lend bounce to your step as you go about your daily activities.

And one more:

  1. Recognize that all that transpires is part of G‑d’s plan, and that G‑d is in control.
  2. Understand that no evil could emanate from G‑d—for He is entirely good.
  3. Feel secure in the knowledge that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be, and Someone is looking out for you.