Now here’s another question: Would your answer be the same if I asked you this question yesterday? Two days ago? Last week? Last month?
I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before; happiness is a choice.
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”, said Abraham Lincoln.
I believe that happiness is a choice. I also believe that happiness has its own “up and down” cycle and it is a conditioned state. You can feel happy when you get good news, when you receive a gift, when you eat something delicious or when you love the new shirt you purchased.
Happiness is when your life fulfills your needs. “Feeling good” hormones, such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are being released when you are triggered by external circumstances, situations or people. Happiness is an emotion and it can pass through. One minute you’re happy and the next minute you’re not.
While happiness can come and go, joy is permanent.
Joy is a deep, spiritual-based attitude. Joy is a fundamental part of your true being. Joy can live together with anger, sadness, grief and fear. On a previous Inner Circle Call, Dawn, one of our beacons in our sisterhood, said that joy is the solid rock underneath you that is always there, regardless of the circumstances.
Joy is your solid rock, your never-ending sense of gratitude, fulfillment and appreciation of something bigger.
You can grieve over someone you lost and still have a sense of joy. You can be in fear and still have part of you that knows, deep down, you are ok. You can be in physical pain and be hopeful and grateful at the same time. Being in pain and hopeful is smarter than being in pain and scared.
I’d like to challenge you to do a little Joyful experiment, beloved.
The goal of this experiment is to help you discover what is different in your life when you make an intentional effort to be joyful. Are you in? Let’s start our little experiment.
3 Ways to be Joyful and Joy-Full
- Give yourself permission to be joyful and joy-full.
When you are in pain (physically or emotionally) or when you’re anxious, it might feel impossible for you to be joyful. Joyful has different layers. When you are in pain, leaning on joy can help you shift to HOPEFUL. When you’re hopeful, leaning on joy, can help you shift to TRUSTFUL. When you are trustful, leaning on joy can help you shift to PEACEFUL. Give yourself permission to be joyful. Allow yourself to connect with the deep sense of knowing that you are ok, no matter what. That’s what joy is all about.
- Connect with your six-year-old joyful self.
When people tell me they have no idea what being joyful feels like or they don’t remember the last time they felt this way, I ask them a simple question: What did you like to do when you were a child? What filled you with joy when you were six?
When I was young, I could spend hours making art: drawing, painting, knitting, cutting paper, gluing buttons, doodling and playing with colors. If you told me “be joyful”, that’s where I would start. A few years ago, when I herniated my disc, I was in excruciating pain. One of the things that helped me experience joy, even in the midst of pain, was creating art.
What is it for you, beloved? What brought you joy when you were a child?
- Collect evidence of joy.
Joy is underrated. We are programmed to pay attention to the negative. We have gotten used to fear, anger, sadness and grief. I have this homework exercise that I often give to my coaching clients: Stop collecting evidence to show that you are ________ (fill in the blank) and start collecting evidence to show that you are__________ (fill in the blank).
As part of your “Joy Experiment”, stop collecting evidence of negative emotions and start collecting evidence of joy-full moments. It doesn’t have to be big: simply make mental notes or real notes on paper of small joy-full moments throughout your day. You might be surprised by the major shift you feel when doing something as small as redirecting your focus. Try it!
Did this message speak to you? Share one activity in the comment section below that brings you joy.