Joy actually, is all around.
Over the last year I’ve come to love this word. Like anything related to ‘positivity’ or ‘happiness’, I used to struggle with the concept of joy and how I was meant to be cultivating it in my day-day life. In my quest to have joy I found myself constantly looking for external things to do, plan, or schedule throughout my day. As a result, Joy became just another task to fit into my life. It became stressful and frustrating.
It wasn’t until I let go of the notion of having to ‘do’ joy, that I learnt it is discovered, not created.
By consciously not worrying about ‘fitting joy in’ to my life, I started to notice that it existed all around me in the simplest of forms - whether it be the time I had for myself in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee, hearing my nephew giggle, taking a spare moment to lie on the couch and read a book, looking out across the ocean during lunch, or simply blasting my favourite tunes in the car and singing like a kick-ass rock star. I discovered that joy is in the moments that allow us to be present with ourselves and our surroundings.
There is no complex equation to it, or ‘right’ way to experience it – it’s about simply noticing these moments when they happen, and allowing yourself to take the time to appreciate them.
With this in mind, I wanted to remind you of joy today, and to give you the permission to let yourself have these precious moments over the next few weeks. During the lead up to Christmas we tend to put ourselves through the wringer trying to tie up loose ends at work, filling our evenings and weekends up with friends and family, planning for Christmas day, buying presents, working out finances….it can become overwhelming.
With all these stressors going on, people start wrapping their joy up in guilt – believing that the act of taking time out to experience joy, is indulgent and selfish.
We start to believe that we don’t have time to be enjoying things, and that we should wait till we’re on break or have finished. We end up depriving ourselves of these moments, which is really depriving ourselves of a higher-quality life – now and in the future.
Fact for the day: Joy isn’t a present we give ourselves when we believe we're deserving of it - it is a critical component to our health and wellbeing, especially when we are feeling stressed. When we experience joy it enables the body and mind to recharge and strengthen itself, so that we handle challenging situations without sacrificing our own health and happiness. Joyful emotions trigger the release of feel-good chemicals and hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, which changes your overall state both mentally and physically. It enhances the immune system, allowing it to combat inflammation, and overall you feel more energised, engaged, and calm – exactly what you need when heading out for a dose of Christmas shopping! Simply put, when you give yourself the permission to discover and receive joy, it makes you a better person for yourself, your family, your work, your friends.
So, if you’re reading this and find that you’ve been holding yourself back from enjoying life lately, I challenge you to discover the joy that exists amidst your everyday life, however it shows up for you, and trust that it is something you deserve and need.