Take a moment to reflect back on the last week and see how many moments of joy you can recall… 10? 3? None?
Joy isn’t landing very high on the priority list for a lot of folks these days. So many are struggling from the social isolation, money worries, being taken off-course in their initiatives, and general anxiety about the state of the world. But even outside of a pandemic, cultivating joy can be tough for changemakers.
When you’re trying to make the world a better place, it’s easy to convince yourself that there’s no possible time for joy with such an overwhelming task list or when others are depending so heavily on you. Joy can feel downright decadent.
But I’m here to let you know that it’s when you least feel like you have the bandwidth for joy, that you most need it.
You see, joy is FUEL for us and our life missions. Often disregarded as lightweight, the state of joy contains the kind of expansive and revitalizing energy that lights us up and sets our initiatives on fire.
First of all, joy is physically healing. Laughter has been proven to increase energy, reduce food cravings, decrease pain, and boost your immune system. Several studies have shown that daily joy even improves Type 2 Diabetes.
Joyful activities can make you more vibrant, connected, relaxed, and wildly creative. And joy is the good kind of contagious…inspiring exuberance and openheartedness in others.
Imagine the life you could create out of this kind of energy. Imagine the WORLD you could help create out this kind of energy!
Here’s the problem, though… If you haven’t made cultivating joy a priority, it might feel pretty elusive to you. Even when obviously celebratory moments happen, you may find yourself strangely numb.
That’s because joy is like a muscle…the more you flex it, the stronger it gets.
I have all sorts of tools for sparking joy (and in this week’s Changemakers Livestream Workshop, I’ll share a bunch of them with you…see below), but let’s start with a little daily system to start building that joy muscle up (even in lockdown! :p)
Put a small joy activity on your actual TO-DO LIST each and every day.
Almost all of us have some kind of to-do list, formal or casual, so how about using it for something as noble as building joy? That joy to-do could be anything from taking a work-break to play your guitar to having a quick Facetime with somebody who always lifts your spirits to going outside before bedtime to look at the moon.
Now if joy hasn’t been on the menu in your life for awhile, the idea of trying to come up with a daily joy item might feel exhausting. So, TODAY in preparation for this, I want you to create a List of Small Joys to pull from (this is important!)
So, write down a bunch of little things that bring you joy that you could easily insert into your day, like: a 10 minute cuddle with your fur kid, playing a new album while cooking dinner, texting with your brother, walking outside barefoot, playing a video game, relaxing stretches, your fave podcast, a mid-afternoon dance break, gardening, doing Kung Fu forms, or doing a little hike and smelling the spring flowers.
Then, pledge to take one of these items each day and put it on the official to-do list for that day. Just make sure that sucker is ticked off by the end of the day!
The important piece is letting go of any guilt you might have about taking time out for joy. You need to remind yourself that joy sparks that inner light…and the world really, really needs your light right now.
If you want to work that joy muscle even more, join me for my (free) Changemakers Weekly Livestream Workshop THIS THURSDAY where we’ll work with even more tools for cultivating joy and I’ll take you through an exercise to really experience the transforming power of joy.
I’d also love for you to bring to the workshop some things to share that bring you joy – songs, images, passages, or activities!
You can join us either live on Facebook or YouTube Thursday, May 7 at 1pm ET for Joy is Vital to Your Mission: 5 Tools to Cultivate It.
Now GET A JOY on that to-do list of yours and bring me some extra joy by emailing me and letting me know what it’s going to be!