Importance Of Joy 2
2 years ago
Losing Access to Joy
As adults, we tend to trivialize joy. We tell ourselves we will feel joyful another day, once everything is tidied up, checked-off and finished.
Oh, have I been there.
In fact, even with all of the features of a good life, including an amazing family, a healthy child, and loving friends, I am just emerging from a period in which I could not even let myself experience joy.
With the world getting more and more chaotic and out of control, how could I justify wanting to feel joyful?
Plus, there was always something to do, to finish, to check off the list. I was just too busy to stop and smell the roses.
Does this sound familiar to you too? I know I am not alone in this.
Recently I began to wonder if perhaps I was missing out by discounting the importance of joy. When I started to dig into the research on joy, I learned I was definitely missing out on something important.
Why Joy Matters
Research conducted at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology of Glasgow suggests there are really only four foundation emotions, three of which are the "negative emotions" of fear, anger and sadness.
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As explained so beautifully by the authors of The Book of Joy, "Exploring joy is nothing less than exploring what makes the human experience satisfying."
This means that if we don't consciously cultivate joy, we risk living a life dominated by the other, less enlivening foundation emotions. It also means we risk missing out on a huge part of what it means to be human.
When we are caught up in our stress, speed and to-do lists, we easily miss the beauty, awe and mystery that fills our world. Yet it is in these moments that experiencing joy matters more than ever.
When we are joyful, our whole body benefits, especially our heart and mind. Research shows that joyful people experience less chance of having a heart attack, lower cholesterol, decreased stress levels and longer lives.
Joy is imperative for boosting our resilience and wellbeing. It gives us the strength and energy we need to do our important work in the world.
In a world that seems more and more out of control, joy is the well that we can drink from again and again.
When you look at it this way, reclaiming our joy just might be the very ingredient needed in the world today.
As activist and scholar Joanna Macy explains in a recent interview:
"The most important thing to do is find your gratitude for life.
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It's Time to Reclaim Your Joy
Reclaiming your joy is a bit like coming home from a long journey. You may have even forgotten how to be joyful.
But here is the thing: I don't believe we find joy. I believe we create it. Joy, is something always inside of us that we can access and create more of.
Joy is a type of relationship we have with ourselves and the world. It is an inner attitude. Joy is lasting and ever present. Joy is available to us in every moment..
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