Wellness Wednesday – move toward Joy

What brings you joy? 

This question can strike fear into the hearts of some people. If it has been some time since you experienced either spontaneous or cultivated joy, you may feel scarcity or grief.

If you have been living someone else’s idea of a “good life” but not your own, you probably feel a lack of joy. Or if things seem to be not going as planned in your life, and you feel a sense of numbness or sadness, joy seems far away. You may be like a poor kid looking through the windows of the candy store, knowing that joy exists (not in the form of candy, actually) but believing you cannot have it.

However, joy can be a daily practice as much as a feeling or an experience. I first learned about this from Martha Beck in her book The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life. I pulled out her book from my shelves last summer and started cultivating joy more intentionally when I realized my work life was no longer bringing me joy. For years, it had provided me with growth, challenge and satisfaction.

Then it seemed the minor annoyances I was tolerating started to grow into major annoyances. The bureaucrazy (yes, this is Freudian slip, and also deliberate) felt more overwhelming. On balance, the joy did not outweigh the suffering anymore. I no longer felt I belonged in that place, in that position.

joy disney
Photo credit link – Disney’s Joy character

I started finding joy in doing art projects at home, meditating, writing, doing yoga, reading books, and listening to podcasts that fed my brain new ideas. I started taking more joy in my relationship, planning my wedding (which took place last September). Instead of working late, I left the office early, enjoyed evenings on the patio, which is quite lovely in Minnesota this time of year.

My focus on finding and appreciating joy daily led me to the place where I am now. I feel healthy and more balanced than I have in years. My sleep has improved considerably, with much less insomnia than before. My eating habits have improved, and I struggle less with fighting cravings for sugar and junk food. Those things had been a “buffer” to my feelings and did not allow for me to sit with the reality of the change my soul was calling forth.

Joy is always not in the big, bright moments of happiness. These can be a part of a joyful life. However, it is often in the small, quiet moments of gratitude for the abundance that surrounds us. Joy exists in moments of internal peace and in finding our center. Sometimes there is suffering embedded in joy, and it is an almost bittersweet experience. I would not trade it for any material thing.

What brings you joy? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

5 thoughts on “Wellness Wednesday – move toward Joy

  1. My mind kept returning to this question all day! Family and friends bring me joy, as do many aspects of my writing. I would like to say that a certain sense of spirituality brings me joy, but I don’t think that I’m quite there, yet. And then the memories. There is probably some joy to be found, there, too, if I can get beyond the bittersweet and focus on the positives of the past. Guess that I still have much work to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m using an app, Zest, to record at least three things for which I’m grateful each night. I’m often surprised at how I was ready to conclude it was a bleak day and am then able to see that there were some moments of sunshine peaking through.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this exploration of joy, Cristy, and the ways that you’ve brought more joy into your life. I agree that it doesn’t have to be a Great Big Thing but sometimes can be found in such small, personal moments. Thank you for this lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

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