How To Find Joy
We are in the thick of the holidays and everyone is busy running from place to place, shopping, eating, planning, and putting up decorations. When I was working as a police officer I never liked working around the holidays. I found people’s grief and unhappiness were only amplified during the holidays. It was difficult to find joy when all day you were dealing with people’s pain and misery.
Now these holidays have a very different feeling after losing my brother. Someone told me that this year would be especially difficult because it will be a year of “firsts”. First Thanksgiving without him, first Christmas without him, first birthday without him, etc.
So how do we find and cultivate Joy when life is difficult. It’s what I’ve said before, “Life is not just rainbows and butterflies.” Sometimes life kicks us in the face and we better figure out how to pick ourselves up, before we get run over.
1. Meditate – my daily practice of meditation has been especially difficult because I can’t seem to slow my thoughts and calm the monkey mind. But I sit in stillness everyday and though it may seem like a struggle, I still do it. If meditation isn’t for you, then read, pray, sing. Something that takes you inward for a few minutes a day.
2. Exercise – the body needs the release of oxytocin to elevate our mood. It feels good to feel my body moving, working up a sweat, and taking my mind off whatever is bothering me. Move! Walk, run, lift weights, go to a yoga class, or ride your bike.
3. Listen to Music – turn off the television, stop watching the news and listen to good uplifting music. Whatever that is for you, but find music that fills your soul with good feelings.
4. Socialize – talk to people who you know you can laugh with. Even in times of grief and heartache, we have to be able to laugh. Make time for those people that you enjoy and truly have a good time laughing until your face hurts.
These are just a few of the things that I know can help us all find more Joy in our lives. Remember, someone you encounter during your day may be having a difficult time. Treat others with respect and kindness and smile at a stranger, that may be the highlight of their day.