Take a few minutes to sit quietly with yourself and ask yourself about feeling joy. When do you feel the most joy? When do you feel the least joy? What are you doing when you feel joy? Are you with other people? Are you alone? Does it last for hours or days, or does it fleet by in seconds?
Feeling joy can be uplifting, invigorating, and expansive. It can also be overwhelming and intense. Joy is one of the greatest feelings of life. It is filled with happiness and love. Its filled with laughter and play. It’s delightful. It’s warm. Feeling joy is like taking medicine that evokes happiness. Feeling joy can bring light to the darkest moments. Feeling joy is not something we need to work at. It’s something we all can feel; we are born feeling joy.
Unfortunately, we have many people in our society that struggle to feel this and are overcome with depression. Medication for depression is prescribed at increasingly high rates. Why is it that we have people being overthrown by sadness? Where is their joy?
There are beliefs that problems with the heart arise out of lack of joy, longstanding emotional problems, and the belief of strain and stress. Heart attacks are like squeezing all the joy out of the heart. The heart represents the center of love and security. It’s very hard for research to prove any of this, but from a metaphysical standpoint, this is a respected view. Our heart is a sacred organ that needs to feel love and joy regularly to feel safe and protected.
If this belief is true, that heart problems arise out of lack of joy, then increasing the amount of joy in your life and in your heart would be preventative care. No doctor is ever going to tell you this. An eastern medicine doctor might, but no western doctor will.
The connection between our heart and the joy we feel should be recognized. Becoming aware of this connection is the first step to understanding it. Take a deep breath into your heart. Exhale letting go of any tension held in your heart. Think about it: There is a reason why we call it heart ache when losing a loved one. Our hearts actually ache, that is how we feel it. Being aware and open to its power is the first step in keeping it healthy.
Just like anything in our lives, we can’t make changes unless we know what the baseline is. Knowing where you are now in terms of feeling joy is the only way to increase it in your life. It’s important to know what makes you feel joy and when you feel joy. Ultimately, the place you want to arrive at is that you can install joy in every situation that you encounter. There is always some feelings of joy in the experience of losing a loved one because you are able to honor their life and the joy that they brought you. Knowing how to install joy in all moments puts you in a place of power. It puts you in a place of clarity and health.
The first step of installing more joy in your life is by doing more of what brings you joy. If salsa dancing brings you joy, make an effort to do it weekly. If baking bread brings you joy, do it weekly. Don’t make excuses on why you shouldn’t have joy in your life, that’s ridiculous. There is plenty of time to fit joy in your life. You are granted that time. You are deserving of that time. You are deserving of joy. Additionally, the first step is to put yourself around the people who bring you joy. If they don’t bring you joy, it’s time to re-evaluate why you’re around them. Get those people out of your life. If this is more complicated, get help in doing it. Life is too short to be around people who don’t bring you joy.
The second step of installing joy is choosing to wake up every day and putting on joy as if you were putting on a pair of pants or a shirt. Choose joy every day. This might be hard to remember, no one ever taught us to put on feelings in the morning. Write yourself a note and keep it next to your bed. Wear joy today. Choose joy today. Starting your day this way will help you move forward.
The third step of installing more joy in your life is by reaching a level of awareness where you can see the good in all things. When you are presented with something that does not produce joy, you are able to see the good things in it and then able to let it be and let it go. Focusing on the negativity produces negativity in your body. Keep it light! If you recognize that you're thinking negatively or feeling negatively, take a few moments to be thankful for the little things in your current reality: you have food, shelter, and people who care about you. Then take a step back and look at the situation you're seeing and try to understand the goodness. It may be small, but try to see it. This will bring you to place of joy and gratitude. That is where you want to be. The more you practice this, the easier it gets, and then it becomes automatically integrated into your thoughts and feelings.
I understand these steps aren’t easy. These steps take practice. These steps take focus and desire to achieve. Open your hearts up. Be courageous in integrating these steps. Be honest with yourself, your heart deserves it. You deserve it.