Joy. Joy is what makes life rich, full and beautiful. It gets us through challenging times and allows light in to illuminate the shadows in the darkest of times. Joy is the medicine that can heal wounds, inspire greatness and fill the world with goodness.
How do we find pockets of joy in the midst of transition, grief, sorrow or diversity? At these times joy can often feel unattainable, like a fuzzy intangible memory. However, it is possible and can be found in the simplest of steps…. You will SURVIVE this turmoil. Furthermore, you may even THRIVE. Often our deepest pit is on the path to the highest peak. A breakdown can be the catalyst to a breakthrough.
Why not resolve to find more joy in your everyday life, regardless of circumstance? We explore ways and means to recognise, and wrap yourself in, everyday joy when you need it most…
Recognise and accept fear
Fear is a natural, yet powerful force that creates a freeze, fight or flight response in the brain. When we are faced with fear and survival mode kicks in, it can be difficult to see clearly or from a different perspective than the one that you are engulfed in. At this time, recognise and accept that what you are experiencing is fear and understand that it is a fleeting state of mind.
Keep it simple
When your world feels like it’s spinning out of control, take a step back. It is crucial to find brief moments of lightness where you can – a sunrise, a song, a hug, in your breathing – focusing on a small and simple detail will give your mind and body a break and a moment of reprieve.
Allow yourself to be happy
Despite what may be happening negatively around you, there are always opportunities to feel happiness. Perhaps these opportunities are presenting themselves to you on a daily basis, but due to a state of mind you are unable to realign your focus to notice them. Quite often we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are. Our brains have a built-in ‘negativity-bias’, which means we pay more attention to negative than positive information. The brain is programmed this way to make us cautious and therefore safe from danger, but this negativity-bias can override our perception of reality to the point that we see things as much worse than they really are. When we make a conscious effort to shift our focus, in turn, our perspective changes. Then opportunities to feel true happiness in the moment open up.
Forget the dream
We all have big dreams, and there’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but the danger starts when you rely on those dreams to serve you joy. Real life is happening right now, all around us while we’re waiting for the ‘big thing’ we hope is going to give us some sort of inner peace, contentment or joy. What about the here and now? We all can feel stressed, overworked, too busy and ‘under-happy’, but instead of waiting and wishing for that big dream to come to fruition – the new job, the bigger house, the luxurious holidays – acknowledge the blessings and achievements in your life right now.
Alter your thought patterns
There is a formula to true happiness, and it lies in changing thought patterns. Your everyday approach to life, your inner voice and your attitude all determine how happy you are. Have you considered that finding joy may have nothing to do with what is going on around you, but everything to do with your state of mind? Take a little time each day to look within yourself and consider how you have been choosing to view the world around you.
Find your peace
Anxiety is primarily fuelled by worry about the future: something that may occur. That means that peace from this anxiety can be found in the now. Regardless of what’s going on around you, peace is available in every moment if you bring your attention to what is within you. Find a quiet space, close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Place your hand on your heart and bring your awareness within yourself, to your body. Oxygen will flood your body and quieten your stress alarm.
It is easy to forget that we are a result of the company we keep. Happiness can not only be chosen but it can be fostered by surrounding yourself with positive people. The people we fill our lives with are our influencers. If you choose wisely and change your life influencers for the better, you can dramatically increase your chances for true joy.
Embrace the small stuff
Isn’t it sad that it takes a loss or a tragic incident to take stock and recognise how rich your life really is? Those simple things we take for granted – a roof over our heads and food on the table. Simple everyday details that more often than not go unnoticed and unappreciated. It’s all too easy to consider them insignificant or unimportant, but in reality they are crucial to our existence and happiness. Our materialistic culture is always seeking MORE, but what if we made it a habit to embrace and celebrate the small (yet vital) things in life? Even in the midst of crisis, gratitude is a great gateway to optimism.
It’s as simple as that. LOVE truly makes the world go round. Feeling and receiving love, loving and being loved is the root of pure joy.