Hi! Happy ‘Wisdom Wednesday” I started to record a podcast but my brain is all over the place so I came here to write down all my thoughts so I can then read them lol. Today I want to share a short post on cultivating joy and how it’s different from feeling happiness. Happiness (& sadness) are an emotion that are attached to external circumstances. Meaning, whether we feel happy or sad has nothing to do with us, it has everything to do with what is going on in our world. The problem with this diagram – and I’m sure you’ve experienced it- is that our world will not always be filled with positive and happy circumstances, thus we can’t possibly feel happy 24/7. When you go on vacation, you feel happy. When you get a promotion you feel happy. Conversely, when you get fired you feel sad or angry. When you break up with your significant other you feel sad. You get where I’m going with this. If we are constantly chasing happiness (the feeling of happiness) we will always fall short and then we wonder if we’ll ever find it. You can’t find happiness. Nothing external will make you happy consistently and this is where joy comes in.
Being in a state of joy is cultivated internally. This is good news! This means that even during difficult times you can always choose to remain in joy. You’re probably thinking, but how? I’m glad you asked! You can start by living in the present moment. Not focusing on what you need or want tomorrow and the next day, but truly living and appreciating right now. For the last five to six years I have had difficult life circumstances, but I did not become a miserable human because of them. It’s important to remember that you may have crappy shit happen to you, and probably wonder why and when you’ll catch a break, but that doesn’t mean your whole life is crap! I feel happiness and sadness every single day. Literally every single day I cry because I miss my mom. But on instagram you see me smiling and laughing when I play with my baby and my dogs and go to yoga. I’m genuinely feeling happy in those moments. It is possible to feel opposite emotions in the same day!! When you’re feeling happy or sad it’s important to remember that this moment is temporary. Thinking about what could happen tomorrow will just make you feel unnecessary anxiety. Living in the past might make you feel regret, guilt and sadness. Living in the present there can only be space for whatever it is you’re feeling in that moment. How liberating is that?! By practicing mindfulness you can always bring yourself back to the present moment any time you feel your thoughts spiraling. This is an underrated super power! Whenever I start to spiral thinking about past situations (like what I could have done differently when my mom was alive) I snap myself out of it and come right back to right now. If you cannot change a situation, why are you wasting energy on thinking about it? It is literally a waste. of. energy. Don’t do it. And if you do it, catch yourself and stop doing it.
Cultivating joy means you’re living a purposeful life and believe that you are contributing to something greater than yourself. You are surrounded by a community of friends and family who love and support you. Being in a state of joy is also being in a state of gratitude. When you are grateful it’s nearly impossible to spiral into a negative place. Again, being grateful doesn’t mean you won’t feel sadness or anger, but once you realize that all of these emotions can coexist you can start to live in joy.
We all go through difficult periods in our lives. We all experience heartache and sadness. You’re never alone with what you’re feeling. If you’re going through a hard time, remind yourself that it’s temporary. Remind yourself that you have purpose and that you are loved. If you are reading this that means you are privileged to be alive, so while you’re here make an effort to live in a state of joy. Hope you enjoyed today’s short post. Sending love always. ❤️