Joy, like happiness, can be an elusive commodity in our lives.
On one hand, we’re urged to “pursue happiness” as one of our inalienable rights. On the other, sometimes the pursuit of that happiness can be a grim and difficult undertaking that, in the end, robs us not only of our time and energy, but our joy as well.
Here are some typical exhortations on how to achieve happiness:
- Stop worrying.
- Change your habits.
- Banish negative feelings.
- Get over your grief/sadness/anger/etc.
While accomplishing these things certainly should put us on the path to happiness and joy, they look like awfully hard things to accomplish, singly or as a group.
How much easier it is to stop running after it and just allowing it to happen.
What does that look like in the real world? It’s about getting out of your head and opening your awareness to the larger world.
I could be the original Nature Girl – I have been known to hug actual trees – so going outside is one sure-fire way for me to find joy and happiness. This works especially well when I am stressed or about to embark on a day that I know will contain many stressors.
How to find joy
- Look up. Most of us either look at the ground when we walk or straight ahead. We may swing our heads from side to side, but typically it’s on the same plane. Looking up can reveal many marvels – wispy clouds that look like angels. Sunbeams painting the tops of trees. Birds lining wires, or in the case of raptors, perched high on poles.
- Open your ears. What do you hear? Get specific. How many kinds of vehicles can you identify in the bustle of traffic? Can you tell the difference between the types of sirens you may hear? Can you recognize the birds by their songs? What does the wind sound like blowing through the leaves of different trees?
- Put skin in the game. Do you feel the wind on your face? Which direction is it coming from? Is the air dry or humid? How does the temperature affect your body? If it’s hot, do you sweat; if it’s cold, do you hunch inward to preserve heat?
- Look inside. Review of your inner workings. How is your breathing? Do your legs and arms work? Can you hear, see, smell, touch and taste? Does your heart beat steadily, lungs fill and empty as they should?
All these things can lead you to a greater appreciation of your life and the good things you have, and help you reach a level of gratitude that is too often overlooked in the rush (and crush) of daily life.
Do we have problems? Of course. Everyone does. But by recognizing the amazing things we have in our lives, it is much easier to put those problems in perspective. And find joy.
#findingjoy #pursuinghappinessishardwork #letithappen
#NatureGirl #treehugger #getoutofyourhead
#lookup #attitudeofgratitude #beopentopossibilities