I hope that all of you reading this have had a Happy Christmas and brought in the New Year feeling good, and that this festive season has been a time of joy and celebration. But if you are someone who finds Christmas difficult - it can be hard if you are alone, or maybe relationships with family and friends are strained. It may be that your mood, anxiety or intrusive thoughts make it harder to feel joy at this time. So…. if this is you here are some thoughts about ways of bringing some joy into your life.
Thinking about what brings joy into my life is being grateful for all I have, it is having a close family that I can depend on, my dog that brings joy into my life in so many ways, having a roof over my head and an outdoor space for the first time - I am discovering the joys of gardening. I enjoy reading and continued learning, and just being able to have ‘me time’. I would love to know what brings joy into your life no matter how small or simple.
I think it is particularly important at this time of year to take stock and reflect on 2019 and the whole last decade - where you have come from; maybe there have been tough times which need acknowledging too. But by trying to remind ourselves of all the positives, which can be hard, changing the perspective of the way we view things can have a profound effect on bringing more joy into our lives. It is often not about the big achievements in life but it can be the small simple steps that path the way in our journeys that can bring about a more positive mind-set.
I recently read a book that inspired me and that I would highly recommend, it is ‘The Book of Joy’ a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the book they talk about their eight pillars of Joy which are:- 4 qualities of the mind - Perspective, Humility, Humour and Acceptance and 4 qualities of the heart – Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion and Generosity.
This got me thinking and I felt how important it is to change the way we think and feel about situations and suffering which can have a profound effect on how we view our lives. It can be very small steps in all these pillars that can take us from a negative perspective to a more positive and joyous one. Simple things like making us laugh about situations, by being humble to those around us, and accepting our situations as they are now. This is not to say that they can’t change but right here, right now is where I am at and this allows for us to start finding ways to move forward, to plan and set goals for our future. But by being present and mindful of our current situation, can lift the weight of the past and worries about the future.
As for qualities of the heart forgiveness is very powerful, it is not to say that you can’t acknowledge wrongdoing, but by forgiving those you may have felt wronged by allows for the heart to heal and to move on in life. One thing that I try and practice is gratefulness, every day I write down three things I have been grateful for that day, no matter how small, it may be catching some sunshine, or listening to the birds sing, or appreciated a flower in bloom, as well as the people in my life, how they help and support me, and this for me brings joy into my life. I also try and show compassion in my life, if someone snaps at me rather than taking this personally, I try and remember that they may be having a bad time and rather than getting upset, it can be better to reach out to them. By trying to show compassion to ourselves, family, friends and community and being generous in spirit, time and actions helps to manifest joy. They don’t need to be big grand gestures, I always believe in the little things in life and build these up over time - I speak from personal experience how it can change the way you think and feel and leave you feeling more joyous!