Joy Is Good For Our Health
It lifts our spirits and relieves our stress. Scientific research has proven the benefits of a joyful disposition. Overall people who are joyful have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, colds and flu, and high blood pressure. The brain of optimistic people is healthier, too. The part of the brain responsible for memory and concentration (hippocampus,) as well as the left frontal cortex is more active. There are no negative physiological or psychological side effects from joy.
Joy is also an essential emotion for feeling alive and living fully. It is our birthright; a natural state of being human that energizes us. Being joyful has an amazing power to connect with other positive emotions – freedom, inner peace, happiness, creativity, harmony – and inspire love for ourselves and our lives.
No matter what multitude of pressures have our attention in everyday life, full-of-joy is something we all seem to be desiring and striving for. The problem is we are so used to putting it aside that our default setting seems to be set to adding in joy only if we have some time. We treat being joyful as if it is an outside event that depends on circumstances or people lining up in a certain way before we give ourselves permission to let it in.
I have heard joy referred to as the oxygen of life and I really like that metaphor. Like oxygen, joy is ever-present and we all have access to it. When we give up expecting life to be a certain way, surrender inner resistance and struggle, and let go of the imbalance from constant activity, we naturally align with the reservoir of joy that is always available within us.
The Experience Of Joy
While we all go through challenging times, the good news is that inviting joy back into our lives doesn’t have to be a complete life overhaul. When life is hard, don’t run away from it. Use your emotion as an indication you may be blocking out the inner light of joy and make some small adjustments. Joy is an intrinsic quality of the authentic self that can be easily cultivated in daily experiences. There’s no need to have a special relationship, launch a new career, find a new place to live or really, to do anything special to experience more joy. The experience of being joyful is catering to the light that is already inside of your heart; what you already love.
When You Notice That Joy Has Left Your Life
Consciously invite joy back in by owning what makes you happy, by making space for it in your life, and living what speaks to your joy. While joy is a natural result of tuning into your good feelings, it is also the result of allowing it to flow through conscious choice to make it your natural inclination. In other words, practice it by appreciating the moments that inspire joy each day. It is up to you to see the loveliness of everyday things like birds singing, a creek flowing, the sun shining and flowers growing.
Here are a few tips to get you started with inviting joy back into your life:
- Allow yourself to experience joy. You deserve to be joyful because it’s a natural state of being, an essential expression of human nature. We all struggle with negative emotions. You are not alone.
- Ask yourself: Am I working too hard at pleasing others, taking care of others, or creating situations so I can enjoy myself? If your answer is genuinely “yes” then you are too stressed to fully enjoy deep connections with others.
- Fill your cup each morning with reasons you are joyful. Think of these as reminders that life is good. Appreciate when you notice one of these reasons pop into your mind during the day.
- Make time for joy in small ways. Ask yourself: What speaks to me that is joyful? Dancing with the music turned up in the kitchen? Sitting outside at sunset? Smiling more often? When you prioritize joy, life gets better.
- Think about how you might welcome joy to lead to the way during your day. You can just as easily learn new things through joy and have fun at the same time.
Seeing with the Heart
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