If you’re like me, then answering the question, do you want more joy in your life, is a no-brainer. I mean, can you have too much joy?!!
If you were then asked, how do you go about injecting more joy into your own life, would you be able to rattle off some ideas?
Being a woman who is open, curious, fun-loving and committed to creating a fulfilling life, I’m betting that would be a yes 🙂
But even us self-aware women can sometimes have a blind spot when it comes to our own habits.
And that blind spot can keep us from squeezing the maximum amount of juiciness out of our every day and expanding our capacity to live a wildly joyful life. And we want a wildly joyful life, right?!! I know I sure do 🙂
I was sharing with a friend the other day my six-step process. It’s what I use to take clients from feeling anxious, disconnected and like life has lost its excitement, to a place where they are reconnected with their inner wellspring of joy and back in touch with their lust for life.
The steps that surprised him the most were those that tackle the blind spots – because of course he had those blind spots too!
Many of us do and that’s perfectly normal. I had blindspots around these areas too until I started really looking into how to make joy a regular event in my life rather than a fleeting feeling.
Because the thing to understand is, we’re not taught in our early years how to go about living a joyful, happy life – it’s usually something we have to figure out as we go along! (Along with so much else, right?!)
So today, I’d love to offer another piece in your joy puzzle and share three ways you may be sabotaging your joy – and how to turn those habits on their head pronto. Because you and I both know that the way to a better, happier world is through creating a better, happier you! So let’s tackle those bad habits and crank up those joy levels.
Habit #1: Waiting for joy to come a knockin’
Joy doesn’t need an invitation. It doesn’t need a perfect moment. It doesn’t need a set of circumstances to fall into place.
It needs your presence and attention.
Joy is already within you, so to call it forth, all you have to do is choose to tap into it. I know your lives are busy and you’re juggling kids, partners, careers and time for yourself! But if you can just stop for one second every now and then and connect with the magic all around you, the reward is worth the effort.
One tip I share with clients is, while they’re getting into the swing of the regular joy thing, to put an alert on their phone and when it pings, they stop and list every little thing in that moment that makes them happy or puts a smile on their face.
What is making me smile right now is…
What I really love about this moment is…
I am so happy because…
There is ALWAYS something, and usually a lot more besides.
So if you want a life infused with sustainable, every day rather than fleeting joy, don’t wait for it to turn up – call it forth! You can so do this 🙂
Habit #2: Closing off to the positive
Sometimes we can’t avoid commitments and responsibilities that, if we’re honest, we’d actually prefer not to have. The kind that you don’t really look forward to and that can bring you down just thinking about them.
When we label something as negative, we often close ourselves off to the possibility that within that event or experience, we could find something positive. But most things can contain some joy if you know how to look for it.
Maybe there is a part in us that doesn’t want to find good in something “bad”. I know that feeling! But if we make that choice we shut ourselves off to a wealth of juicy goodness. So, what if, instead, you changed your view and made a commitment to finding the joy in the experience or, better yet, injecting some joy into it?
For instance, a lot of people really don’t love doing their accounts. Going to the dentist is preferable to playing with numbers for some! But there are so many ways you can make it a pleasurable experience. On my accounts night I make it a date – there is music, wine, chocolate… and a reward at the end (the next episode of whatever boxset I am currently addicted to of course!)
Or maybe it’s as simple as you and exercise are far from buddies but you want to exercise because it’s good for you. So perhaps you buy yourself some new kit that you’ll love to put on beforehand; or you know exercising with a friend will be infinitely better so you put some dates in the diary; or you do exercise in surroundings that inspire you, like walking in the woods or cycling in a park.
So rather than let weighty commitments or responsibilities stay that way and drain your energy, choose to inject them with some life and levity in whatever way you can think of! Get creative.
How about starting right now? Bring to mind one thing in life that you do fairly regularly that you don’t enjoy and answer these questions…
When I have finished this I am going to… [reward]
To make this more enjoyable I will… [buy beautiful stationery; celebrate how far I have come]
Habit # 3: Kicking joy out as soon as she arrives
One thing I’ve learnt through working with joy is that growing a sustainable feeling requires stretching your capacity to be able to take on board more and more joy.
Sometimes we can have beliefs or judgements that conflict with our desire for joy.
“I don’t deserve joy”
“I shouldn’t be happy when others aren’t”
“I haven’t done enough to earn my joy”
“I’m never going to be really happy”
When your subconscious is out of alignment with your desire for joy, you simply can’t hold onto it. It goes as quickly as it comes. It’s like your body says, “Hello joy. Oh, wait, I don’t deserve you. You’d better go – now!” And it gets kicked out the door.
This can look like your brain going into overdrive and looking for problems; it can be other feelings coming to the fore like guilt; or it can be you picking a fight with your partner or colleague so that you can bring yourself “back to reality” as your subconscious determines it.
So your job is to stay present with joy and hold on to it for as long as you possibly can.
In his book The Big Leap, author Gay Hendricks shares a tool that is perfect for this. He suggests focusing all your attention on the good feeling. With your attention, it will expand. Use your mind to spread it throughout your body, and then enjoy it for as long as you possibly can.
Each time you do this you incrementally increase your capacity for joy!
If you would like to learn more ways to actively and consciously call in more joy to your life, then I invite you to pop over to my website and sign up for my FREE ecourse, The Five Secrets to Living a Wildly Joyful Life, at www.lynnhord.com.
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