Awakening Wellbeing by Practicing Joy through Troubled Times

Well nourished, well rested and well cherished babies often squeal with sheer delight at the joy of being alive. We were all that baby once, and it is that state of being that, with a little help, we can consciously access again. Well-being does not come from outside of ourselves, but is right there inside of us waiting to be once again unlocked and awakened.

What prevents us from taping into this natural joyous state? We all lose our easy access to this basic sanity by the process of growing up. Growth is traumatic, and we begin to fear life, which clouds the mind and the heart. With practice, however, we can learn to once again cultivate a mind that more easily chooses love rather than fear, and invite this fundamental joy back into our lives.

If you are having trouble connecting to this natural sense of joy here are some simple regular supportive practices that you can incorporate into every day. The emphasis here is on the regular. Take on as much as is comfortable and don’t feel guilty if you skip a day but do feel good when you do manage to practice these well-established methods taken from the Awakening Joy course by James Baraz, designed to awaken joy and wellbeing in your life. 

• Meditate or take some quiet time by yourself regularly. If you don’t meditate, just try sitting with a cup of tea for 5-10 minutes as you look out the window. See what it’s like to be quiet without doing anything else.

• Sing, every day if you can, or do some other creative expression like writing, drawing, playing an instrument or dancing. Expressing ourselves in any of these ways helps us feel and come alive.  If singing doesn’t come easily to you, listening to music has also been shown to have major beneficial effects on us.

• Move your body (walking, exercise, yoga, etc.) regularly—three times a week or more, if possible. 

• Create a Nourishing List and do something nourishing for yourself regularly—three or four times a week, daily if possible—no judgments if less. 

To create your own nourishing list do the following exercise, (taken from How We Choose to Be Happy, by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks.)

 1. In four minutes write down everything that brings you joy. It can be the simplest thing, like watching a sunset, or something exotic, like hang-gliding, or anything in between (walking your dog, listening to music, etc.) 

2. Check the items you do regularly in your life. 

3. Then circle the things that are realistic to include in your life these days. 

• Consider starting a Wellbeing Journal. You might ask yourself: What am I grateful for today? Were there any moments of well-being? If there were, what did it feel like inside?

If you are having difficulty finding joy in these troubling times, I am here to help. I would like to encourage you to contact me to discuss how together we can use psychotherapy and explore other practical ways for you to develop a mindset that will help you to find greater joy in your life. Through both fun and rewarding scientifically proven practices you will develop deep insight into yourself and your place in the world that leads to authentic, not just fleeting, joy.

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