It’s a new year, and more than that it’s a new decade, so everywhere you look on social media you’ll see people posting about their resolutions or intentions for 2020.
I’ve seen everything from exercise/diet related posts, to new business goals, and giving up bad habits. You name it and someone is doing, trying, remaking, etc. I even saw one that read, “In 2020, I will cry less.”
Which kinda broke my heart.
But I have yet to see or hear anyone say they wish to cultivate more joy in their life this year! So, in case it hadn’t crossed your mind as an option and you were struggling for something to focus on, I thought I’d offer it up as a viable choice. 😉
My belief in the power of joy has been there for several years, but in the past few years, it has grown exponentially. The more I learn about the nervous system, brain, body, immune system, chronic pain, aging, and well… life! The more important a tool it has become in my life.
And the funny thing is that the more I think about it and practice it, the more others bring it up or speak to me about it even if I have never mentioned a word of it to them. It’s contagious!
It became apparent to me that as I was creating joy in myself (and yes, I do mean creating as this takes some work) it was being felt by those around me.
I was somehow even sharing it in my writing because I can’t tell you how many emails I received last year thanking me specifically “for sharing my joy with them”.
To affect others simply by expressing your own personal joy is truly astounding, don’t you think? It’s like having a superpower!
Let’s look at the power of joy.
When you feel joy there is a release of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. (You Can Read More Here)
The release of these chemicals, amongst many other wonderful things, can boost your immune system and help your brain to think clearer. It can even help you look younger through changes made in the circulatory system. And new research says it can even lengthen your telomeres.
The more you repeatedly experience joy the more resilient your brain becomes by lowering your stress response, allowing you to stay calmer when things get crazy. Thus, the practice of creating joy has a cumulative effect on a global level in your body.
That’s pretty cool, I’d say.
But what’s even cooler is that it doesn’t affect just you!
We are low-level electric beings that transmit electromagnetic waves from our hearts approximately 3-4 feet in any direction at all times, according to the HeartMath Institute. You and your joy (or the opposite) affect those around you via those waves.
I know it sounds a bit woo-woo. This HeartMath video on [social coherence] will help make it more clear.
Knowing this… How do you feel about what you are sending AND receiving when you are around your family? Friends? Strangers?
All of the highly sensitive people out there reading this are shuddering, right now, lol.
I feel ya, we emotional sponges can find being around others draining and difficult. We are affected more than most by the energy of others.
You have possibly never thought about the emotions you are sending out to those around you (or taking in). But my hope is to make you more aware so you can help first yourself (think airplane procedure), and then those in your proximity too.
Here is a quick exercise that I use daily in my life to create more joy. If it feels challenging just keep trying. It gets easier and faster the more you practice.
Joyful Heart Exercise:
Find a memory in your life that brings you great joy.
(Once you find your memory, you can use it repeatedly forever. No need to find a new one unless you want to.)
Your memory can be from any point from birth to now.
Breathe in a relaxed manner.
Recreate your memory to the best of your ability in your mind. See it in full color. Hear what’s going on around you. Is there a texture to anything you can touch? Make it real.
Though we made the image in our minds, we are now moving it to our hearts.
Begin to FEEL the EMOTION of joy that you are experiencing in your memory.
Feel it in your heart (not your brain) and allow it to glow there a moment or two.
Then begin to grow that emotional heart feeling. Allow it to get bigger, warmer, more sensational. Keep growing it…
Send it throughout your entire body (and beyond even).
Let it fill you up completely and immerse yourself in that feeling for as long as you like.
That’s it. It’s that easy.
I start my morning this way, oftentimes before I even get out of bed. You can use it as many times as you like throughout the day.
It makes a great state changer. Bad day at work? Kids make you grumpy? Take 20 seconds and feel your joy! Change the state of your mind.
Learning to live and exude in a more joyful state will affect you profoundly in many ways. At the same time, you get the joy of knowing you are sharing that wonderful energy with others.
And like the proverbial chicken and egg- while you are enjoying your joy, and sharing it, you are also automagically protecting yourself from the negative emotions of those around you. It’s like a protective shield, if you will. See the endless circle of it all? It’s a gamechanger! Or should I say, “world-changer?”
Go on now. Feel the JOY!