Eight tips for increasing joy

There is little in life that is as satisfying as sharing ourselves with others in need. Whether it is tutoring a child, cooking food for those who have none or exercising whatever gift you possess, you will feel great.

There is little in life that is as satisfying as sharing ourselves with others in need. Whether it is tutoring a child, cooking food for those who have none or exercising whatever gift you possess, you will feel great.

by Nancie M. Barwick — 

For some people, the experience of joy is foreign. Perhaps they have not felt joyful in some time or, for whatever reason, they may believe there is no cause for joy. They may be so comfortable with depression or sadness that they feel it would be inappropriate to feel joy. For some, the seriousness of a physical condition has convinced them they should remain severe and subdued at all times. Maybe they have simply forgotten how to feel joy.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it may be difficult to find your joy, since you don’t remember what joy feels like.

These simple exercises provide a framework on which to hang your joyful experiences. Remember what Patch Adams, M.D., said: “Dying takes two minutes and all else is living.”

1. Join a child who is having a lot of fun. Children give themselves over to their fun and joy in a way that most adults have forgotten how to do. They enter into the experience totally. It is almost impossible not to feel the glee if we choose to join them.

2. Watch the silliest, funniest movie, video or TV program you can find. It really does not matter what you choose, just as long as it is something you find hilarious. You can watch alone or share the experience with others.

3. Play with puppies or kittens. These tiny balls of fluff swagger, climb and cuddle in such funny and adorable ways, it enraptures any animal lover immediately. If you love animals, or even like them, you will have a wonderful time with these little guys.

4. Give of your time and talents to others. There is little in life that is as satisfying as sharing ourselves with others in need. Whether it is tutoring a child, cooking food for those who have none or exercising whatever gift you possess, you will feel great.

5. Pamper yourself. Get a manicure, a facial … whatever feels great to you. It might be something as simple as using your best dishes or wearing your best clothing — you will know what works as a treat for you.

6. Enjoy your comfort foods. Whatever foods you associate with happy childhood times, the ones you really wanted above all others, eat them. Most comfort foods are reasonably nutritious, so eating them once in a while is fine for most people. If you do have special dietary considerations, be reasonable regarding the amounts and specific foods you choose, but enjoy your goodies.

7. Spend time in favorite places. Often, people who have had health concerns stop going to places they used to enjoy. Return to those places you have enjoyed in the past and enjoy them again now; reacquaint yourself with the feelings, memories, energy you may have forgotten and just have fun.

8. Treat yourself to whatever activity you have not been allowing yourself to do — as long as it is not an unhealthy habit you have finally kicked, of course. Along the same lines as going to places you have stopped visiting, do whatever it is you have not allowed yourself to do. Some people save things for future use. Allow yourself to decide that future time is now. What better time to enjoy something special? You deserve it.

 

Nancie M. Barwich is a hypnotherapist, lecturer and the author of Beyond Disability and Unstuff Yourself: Finding Joy on the Road to Wellness. www.doctornancie.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 4, August/September 2005.

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