Okay, so let’s say you’re interested in adding a little more joy to your life. Where do you begin? you wonder. My advice is right here and right now. It’s easier than you think.
Your day most likely contains many moments of pleasure, satisfaction, sweetness and blessings. You just need to pay attention. Think about your morning shower… from the abundant hot water to the sweet smelling soap to the agility and strength of your body to the thick clean towel – well, you get the idea. Instead of wasting this morning ritual with nagging thoughts of your to-do list, actually experience all the physical sensations that allow you to begin your day feeling clean and energized. Same goes for your morning cup of coffee or tea. Savor it. It’s full of flavor that you probably don’t often notice. Use your commute to work to listen to a great audiobook or uplifting music. If you work at home, go for a brisk walk before starting your work day. Say hello to your neighbors walking their dogs and the kids on their way to school.
Throughout the day look for ways to increase your pleasure and enjoyment. Notice what’s happening in nature. Try smiling more. Ask people how they’re doing at the grocery checkout. If you find a way to brighten up someone else’s day, enjoy the glow it creates inside you.
When you make it a point to notice all the good around you, it seems to grow exponentially.
Challenge yourself to see how much joy you can squeeze out of an ordinary day. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
It took me a long time to realize that joy was a choice. Or anger, fear, and despair for that matter. I didn’t know that I could choose my mood or state of mind. I just went along with whatever mood I happened to wake up with in the morning until something occurred during the day that caused my mood to change. So I might wake up feeling anxious, for example, and sit uncomfortably with that feeling until I took the exam or performed the task that was causing my anxiety and then I’d feel relief. Or maybe I’d feel angry about some incident or remark and stay in that place of anger until something distracted me. The point is I had no idea that I could control my state of mind!
It was a huge revelation when I started reading books and taking classes that taught me that I could choose my thoughts. (Thank you Louise Hay!) And that if I didn’t like the way I was feeling, changing my thoughts would change my state of mind.
It sounds so obvious now.
But it took a lot of practice to separate myself from that nasty voice in my head that filled my mind with negative talk. I had to work to replace all that toxic noise with a different soundtrack. One that was more positive, compassionate, and empowering. I read a lot of books, took classes, and practiced consistently until negative thinking was so uncomfortable that the minute my mind started down a poisonous path, I heard a voice in my head reminding me that I didn’t want to go there. And the negative thoughts extinguished themselves like a lit match thrown into a cup of cold water.
What a difference! Eliminating negative thoughts felt like taking off a backpack filled with rocks that I had been lugging around forever. I felt lighter, more energized, and totally free. While I know that that life will continue to have its problems and sorrows, I am confident that I can always choose joy.
How cool is that?