Eight Steps to Finding Your JOY!
Readers Inquiry: Chronic Stress or Ultimate Joy?
In my previous post I wrote about the importance of living life more joyfully. About choosing how you want to live, at what pace and with what purpose, and about making necessary changes to allow that to happen. In essence, how to let go of chronic stress and embrace ultimate Joy. In this post I offer a guideline on how to get started in that direction.
Eight Steps to Finding Your JOY!
1) Heart to Heart: the first thing to do is to sit quietly with yourself and have a heart to heart conversation. It might go something like this: Am I truly happy with my life as I am living it now? Am I happy now or is it something I’m saving up for the future? Is my happiness out there waiting for me on some distant horizon? What activities or commitments bring me the greatest Joy? What activities or commitments cause me the most stress? How can I find better balance between the two?
2) If I could design my life anyway I chose, it would look like? What? Really think about this. Would you actually work 5 or 6 days a week by your own choosing? Would you make all the same commitments and choices you are living with today? What time of day would your workday start? What would you do in the mornings if you had more time? What would you do differently? Even if you do enjoy the work you do, do you find yourself working too much? Are other areas of your life begin sacrificed?
Dreaming is the precursor to potential and reality so by all means, dream away!
3) Of the life you “would” choose for yourself if you could, what can you do now to head in that direction? Can you go into work a little late? Can you drop a day and work only 4 days instead of 5? Yes, of course there will be a price to pay but where there is a price, there is a gain. The question to ask here is this, “what will bring me the most joy?” And then act on that. You’ll never know unless you ask so start planting seeds for future possibility.
4) Of the things in life you enjoy, how much time do you spend engaged in these activities? Two hours a day? One afternoon a week? Less? How can you rearrange your priorities to tip the scales in your favor?
5) Make the commitment! You get to choose how you want to spend your time and with whom. Everything we do, everything we have, is based on a choice we made at another time. If you don’t like where you are right now, make another choice. Make a healthier choice. Make a better choice. This is not to say you should walk away from your responsibilities. This is to say however that you can choose to do things differently. You can choose to get help. You can choose to live with less. You can choose to lighten up and have more fun. All these things are your choice.
6) Guilt and Joy are not of the same world. People so often feel guilty about being happy. “Who do I think I am” they might say as if there is some crime in living a happy life. Truth is happiness spreads and so, by YOU being happy, it allows others to be happy too!
7) Break free from conventional thinking. Other people might not understand your choices….your choices might not be the norm. You might decide working your whole life for money just isn’t your priority and you’d rather live more simply and have a lot more time on your hands to do the things you love! That’s great! Kudos to you! We all must follow our own heart and let others’ follow theirs. Only this will bring us true happiness.
8) Take one small step. Just do one thing in your favor that will increase the joy in your day…in this very day, right now. And then, do the same tomorrow. Just take it one step at a time.
The health benefits of Joy far outweigh those of chronic stress! You get the picture.
It’s your life, choose accordingly.
Below is a great video of a young women who did just that. It’s really inspiring….she’s so sweet!