Finding Moments of Joy
You know how people are feeling stuck with so many sad things happening in the world? We all go through hard times at some points in our lives. Stressful events and seasons can bring about sadness, anxiety, or even just a general sense of feeling “stuck.” Even when we ourselves aren’t going through trying times, those who are sensitive to others’ pain and discomfort can experience difficulty in this area. When we see others going through bad experiences, it can be easy to resist moments of enjoyment out of a perceived sense of solidarity or guilt.
As a relaxation and life coach, I am here to tell you that it’s not good for you to stay stuck in those feelings of sadness and guilt. More than ever, we need to find moments of joy to carry us through the tough times. These joyful times help us to stay resilient and enhance our ability to keep moving forward in constructive and positive ways.
Experiencing moments of joy can also help you think clearer and find pathways forward during challenging times—there is a science to it. When you are having fun, the amygdala (located deep in the brain, in the hippocampus) releases a drop of dopamine that not only makes your brain and body feel good, it also facilitates the transfer (and retention) of new information. How’s that for a convincing reason?
You may be thinking, “Sure, I can see why it’s important to find joy during difficult times, but how exactly can I do this, especially when I’m feeling so down?”
First, give yourself permission to feel joy – say it out loud or write it out if that helps: “I allow myself to feel joy, no matter what is happening.” Even when you might not feel happiness, which is an outward expression of elation that is temporary, you can still feel joy, which is an inward experience of peace and contentment that is enduring. This will help you feel centered and better able to be present for others.
Next, think about activities you’ve done in the past that make you feel content or at peace – painting, hiking, traveling, singing your favorite song, or cooking a new recipe, for example. These activities are not merely diversions—they can help refresh you and keep you going through stressful times.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert (or do you fall somewhere along the continuum)? Identifying how you recharge (with or without others) is important, especially when choosing what types of activities will bring you joy. If spending time with other people energizes you, reach out to friends and invite them out to dinner, to a movie, or for another activity you enjoy together. If solitude recharges you, perhaps reading a good book, enjoying a cup of tea, walking in nature or listening to music will give you that feeling of joy. Relying on tried and true fun activities is a good way to start. However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that trying something new is a great way to shake up your routine and add yet another avenue to joy in your life.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to live your life and enjoy it, especially during difficult times. The joy you derive from doing pleasant activities (either by yourself or with others) will sustain you and help you find pathways through whatever you or those around you are experiencing.
May you find a way to express your joy now and always.