Create space to feel all the feelings. We must allow ourselves to feel the entire range of human emotions. What is the light (joy) without the darkness (sadness)? If we push away our negative feelings or numb ourselves to them, we likewise numb ourselves to the fullness of joy. It’s remarkable to sit with feelings and allow them to move through, rather than giving them power to stay by pushing them away.
Be and Do
What fills you with joy? Name the big things, and especially the little things. Engage yourself with these joyful experiences and be present for them when they occur. For me, it might be relishing an early morning snuggle, dancing in the kitchen, or connecting with a friend. And when we can’t do the things that bring us joy in the moment, we can create space in small moments to bring joyful memories into our minds and feel those feelings in our bodies. It’s a choice, and it take practice.
Practice Gratitude. Seriously. This deserves its own post, because of the power this one action holds. I’m not the first to say it. There are numerous books about and research on gratitude. This is an in-the-moment way to build your capacity for joy. I was inspired by Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversation with Shawn Achor to record three things I’m grateful for each day, and it’s been eye-opening. It truly helps to rewire your brain and shift your focus.
Get support. If you’re struggling or stuck, reach out to a friend, a therapist, a coach. Joy, as with life, is rarely fully experienced in isolation.