“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”- Joseph Campbell
Over the past year, with all the seriousness that the world has been living under, I’ve thought a lot about the importance of finding our joy. It’s been so easy to be swept along with fear from the latest news broadcast or to discuss how negatively Covid has affected our lives, but does it do us any favours at all? It can heavily impact not only our own mental and physical well-being, but those we love around us.
What is our joy?
So what exactly is ‘our joy’ and how do we access it? Joy is a far deeper state than simple happiness, it is a state of knowing that everything will be OK. Of being at peace with where we are. Of revelling in the here and now. It is the very essence of light and love.
It has many different faces – it can be quiet or loud, meditative or celebratory. We can find it in the past, present and future and it can be still or active.
It is what we are always striving for – whether we pursue it through love, money, career or family – joy is the elixir of our lives.
So how do we find it?
Our mental wellbeing is quite rightly getting a lot of press these days. And there are many wonderful tools and therapies that can help us unravel the fears that weigh us down daily.
But finding our joy on a regular basis is something different. It’s making a choice to move away from old, dark negative patterns of thinking and to start consciously moving towards a lighter, healthier way of being.
It’s not always easy – it can take some discipline, leaving old habits behind. But if we can make the effort, the rewards are rich and life changing.
So to start becoming more joy-full, one simple way is to replace the negative thought patterns with the following 3 different faces of joy. And then to start practicing them and allowing them in regularly until they become second nature.
The joy in satisfaction
Satisfaction comes from a sense of achieving, accomplishing or overcoming something. But the beauty of satisfaction is that it doesn’t have to be something big or grand that we’ve overcome. It can be the tiniest thing:-
- Getting something done that you’ve been putting off for a while
- Learning something new
- Immersing yourself in something that you enjoy- a hobby or activity
- Savouring a sweet moment in time
- Helping someone else to feel better
- Knowing you’ve done a job or chore well
The most important thing about satisfaction is allowing yourself to feel it and revel in it. You deserve it, that moment of sweet satisfaction, so savour it!
Allow it to linger and feel the quiet joy that comes from it. And then you can move onto…
The joy in appreciation
Appreciation is one of the quickest ways to turn your feelings from negative to positive. When you stop to fully appreciate something, it is impossible to feel anything but a warm, glowing joy.
True appreciation is all encompassing and immersive. You can also use the past, as well as the present and future, to access it. And like satisfaction, you don’t have to start with anything big – you can appreciate:-
- A recent smile or a kind word
- The people or things that make you feel safe and secure
- Magical memories of the best parts of your life
- Anticipation of the things you’re looking forward to
- All the positive things you’ve learnt from your life so far
- The sheer awesomeness of the natural world around you, whether it’s an ant or a mountain
With appreciation, comes a knowledge that all is as it should be. All is well in that moment and you are deeply thankful for it.
And from that place you can move into the greatest joy of all…
The joy in love
Without joy, there cannot be love. Love is in the very bones of who we are and why we are here. It is the fuel that fires us – whether passionately and vociferously or quietly and contentedly.
The joy in love feels so much bigger than us and yet also like coming home. Giving and receiving it are equally sweet. And there are many different forms of love:-
- The companionship of a partner or dear friend
- Love for those who raised us and cared for us
- The fierce love for our children and grandchildren
- Love for an animal who depends upon us and who gives us unconditional love back
- Love for a wondrous moment in time that will stay with us forever
- Love and respect for ourselves
The last one is probably the hardest and yet the most important for us all. We’ve been taught to think that self love can be selfish, but in fact it’s incredibly essential to our inner joy.
But however you can find love and joy, find it. And most importantly of all, make sure you acknowledge it at least several times a day. Because…
Finding your joy can change your life
Having a practice where you continually look for ways to feel joyful can have a dramatic impact on your life. I know, because it happened to me!
Turning my thoughts away from negative thinking and consciously choosing thoughts of joy led to the creation of Tickled Moon – our personalised book company and something I love working in every day.
It didn’t happen overnight, it took months of attention to what I was thinking and how I was feeling, but eventually I got to a place where some level of peace and joy resonated in me most of the time.
And from there, things started to happen – new opportunities, new ideas and inspirations and a brand new business.
So I hope that this blog will make you think about how important it is to have joy in your life. And that finding joy can start with some very simple steps and a constructive change of thought.
And finally, that if practiced regularly, joy can become second nature to us and lead us to a world full of inspiration and wonder!
Alison Reddihough is the co-founder and writer for Tickled Moon. Their joyful personalised books include “The Joyful Adventures” and “The Birthday BOO!” and their mission is to spread a wee bit more positivity and playfulness all over the world.
You can read more about Tickled Moon’s joyful journey so far here.
However before writing personalised children’s books, she was a trained practitioner of NLP, Aromatherapy and Reiki (amongst others) so self care and well being is very important to her too!