Joy-when did you last experience it?
Can you remember when you last felt joy? You know, that spontaneous expression of delight that can’t be faked and is a key weapon in the battle against stress? Unlock your joy potential and find improvements in your health, wellbeing and productivity.
I took this photo this morning as Panda and I enjoyed our regular beach walk. I caught him in a moment of what I can only call pure joy. Every time I looked at this photo today, it made me smile and I could almost feel some of the uninhibited joy he was expressing.
This made me think about the whole notion of joy. How often do we actually feel joy? That spontaneous burst of elation or quiet contentment usually triggered by the simplest of things.
Most clinicians believe that stress is the cause of or a key contributing factor to at least 75% of our illnesses. How we explain events, how we manage setbacks, the degree of gratitude we have, how well we live in the present, the patterns we are training our brain to recognise, the degree to which we are part of a community and the proportion of altruistic vs selfish actions we take all have a huge bearing on our wellbeing, stress and productivity-and our ability to experience joy.
These are not just some trivial talk show suggestions, they are all strategies backed by hard core research and science in the field of Positive Psychology from some of the world’s leading universities and researchers. In our diary driven lives, we sometimes spend more hours looking at smartphone, ipad, computer and GPS screens than we do the things around us that make positive contributions to our lives. We can have major problems or challenges in our lives and still find those people and moments that provide us with joy.
If this does resonate with you, I encourage you to think about the following in the next week (it will be good for your health!).
- When was the last time I experienced pure joy like Panda is expressing? Not necessarily a high octane excitement, but pure ‘from the inside’ joy that just makes me lost in the moment?
- What were the triggers for the joy?
- What is keeping me from joy now? What can I do to remove the barriers?
- In the next week, look for 3-4 things that are part of your ‘ordinary day’ that have extraordinary potiential to bring you health refreshing joy. Mindfulness or awareness of the presence can be a first step to joy.