on the 1st of Jan this year I wrote out a list of things that bring me joy, with the intention of dong one of things or more every day. It hasn't exactly gone to plan but some of those things are;
travelling (pre Covid), going on walks with my family, cooking with my daughter, spending time at the beach, cooking dinner for friends, spending time in the sunshine, music and definitely dancing!
The more I have thought about joy and tried to actively seek it out, the more I find that there are actually a lot of joy filled moments throughout the day. One of the moments I had today was a belly laughing conversation about men with some lovely ladies this morning! These moments of joy can be really easy to miss if you aren't paying attention or don't take the time to be grateful for them. If you haven't connected with what joy feels like in some time then it might pass you right by without you getting to really feel it.
Everything really starts with a thought and we can get lost in a repetitive thought cycle of negativity, thinking that we don't have joy in our lives. Joy isn't something that we wake up excitedly with. I am a naturally positive person, but I am definitely not a naturally joyful person. I think there is a real difference between passivity and joy.
A quote that I have pinned up on my wall above my desk is, 'what you're not changing, you're choosing'. If we are feeling flat and down we can choose to do something that is going to bring us the feeling of joy - Like putting on music that we love and dancing around the house (a common occurrence at our place) or catching up with that friend who makes us laugh till we cry.
We are a constant work in progress and, its ok to feel negative and feel as though you hate everyone around us for a while, we don't wake up to rainbows and butterflies every day. A colleague brought up 'opposite action' in a conversation we had this morning, which really got my thinking. So for example doing the exact opposite to what you may feel like sometimes, like going for that walk we don't feel like, or getting up early even if we're too tired and cold, getting up early and doing our morning routine, or taking the time to cook something nutritious instead of ordering take away. The joy is there on the other side of that thing we don't really don't feel like doing.
Obviously there isn't joy in everything and there's times where we are just trying to survive. It's so easy to find the negative... and to find something to complain about. Finding the joy and the positive doesn't come naturally to some people, just watch what's on the news or all the negative stories on social media, really effects our energy. If you're someone who listens to, reads and watches negative stories, be mindful of that and pick up on the triggers that change your mood in a more negative way (like my anxiety over that Chinese rocket ship falling from the sky last week!). Social media is the number one thief of my joy. I like to follow positive recovery pages and positive inspirational teachers, I've unfollowed a lot of things and people that trigger me or that I know can sometimes post distressing content
Now I may be positive but I can like most of us be judgmental at times and get sucked into negative thoughts or feelings about others. I read something recently about changing our judgmental thoughts about people by instead of getting angry at that person driving under the speed limit or someone whos child at the supermarket is losing their shit... change your thought by saying... that person or parent etc. is doing the best that they can. My road rage has definitely reduced since having kids. I don't want to stress them out and ruin their day by passing my negative energy onto them.
Joy can be a choice. They say you are most like the 5 people you surround yourself with most of the time. So try surround yourself with people who find joy, those that can change the energy in a room to be joyous. It can be easy to get sucked into other people's low energy and negativity. But we need to try to connect with our joy and radiate it to affect those around us. Start with changing a thought and practice it regularly. How I am is affecting those around me, and I am around my family the most and I don't want anything negative for them, so for me its how can I be the best that I can be for them.
How we spend our days is how we spend our life. I don't want to look back and think that this whole time I was just trying to get to the end to be joyful and I missed those small joy moments along the way.