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Increase the joy in your life

A picture of sunlit green leaves with the words Joy -noun- a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

We’re heading into the festive season now… a slippery slope of love, joy and shopping mall carols…

It’s very easy in the hustle and bustle of end-of-year to-do lists and preparation for Christmas (or the holy-day of your choice) and school terms ending and everyone wanting everything and please-come-to-this-party to lose sight of what it’s all really about.

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Our celebrations at this time of year are traditionally celebrations of JOY: Love and light. The Solstice. The holy child. The blessings of your god/s.

But where is the joy in your drunken colleague’s photocopier antics?

Or in the snarling jostling for a parking space?

Or in the expectations and obligations (and all-too-often horrors and abuse) of family get-togethers?

How can we have any hope of staying in touch with joy amidst the general craziness?

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Here are three ways that you can increase the joy in your life at this, and any, season:

1. En-joy the beauty in the little things

There is beauty all around, if you’re willing to pay attention. Here’s some ways you can enjoy the beauty in the little things around you:

💛 Take time to stop and smell the roses – literally!

💛 Take a photo everyday on your commute. Make it as beautiful as you can, even if you’re in the concrete jungle. Look at the play of light and shade. See how lines flow together.

💛 Listen to the sounds around you. Can you hear bird song? The sound of the breeze in the trees? The distant hum of a busy road?

💛 Turn it up a notch and trying moving to the sounds around you – let your ears and your body work together. Let it feel awkward. Let it flow. Let it collapse in a fit of giggling! Let it be a moment of beauty and connection.

💛 Taste what you eat. Take time to chew. Feel the textures in your mouth. Savour the flavours.

Want more ideas? Check out this post: Creating quiet

2. Feel the feeling of joy in your body

Pause for a moment and pay attention to your body.

How do your body feel? Where do you feel tight and tense? Where are your muscles clenched? What feels loose and good? How do your guts feel?

Take a breath… and another breath

What would joy feel like in your body? Where would it live? Would it be a golden light infusing your bones? Would it be a relaxing sensation in your muscles? Would it be the smell of roses flowing from your heart?

Tune into your sensation of joy and let it fill your body. Spend time enjoying this feeling, then take this back out into your day. When the stress starts to rise, pause, breath and bring that feeling back into your body.

3. Share joy with others

 If you really want to increase your supply of joy, then there’s nothing quite like sharing joy with others – whatever the time of year:

💛 Smile at people as you go about your day. Even if you’re not fully feeling it, a small smile can make a big difference for them and you.

💛 Give with enthusiasm! This is a season of presents, so there’s a lot of opportunities to give joy along with presents: pop that present under the charity giving tree; really show up for your office secret santa; join in the food bank drive; write a card to those elderly family friends you always mean to catch up with; send an email or a message to someone you haven’t seen for too long…

💛 Share love and laughter on social media: write good wishes to your followers; share that funny meme or comic strip (my gentle humour go-tos are Breaking Cat News and Man vs Manatee); share your photos from tip 1!

💛 Be friendly and polite to shop assistants and wait staff. Some politeness and empathy goes a long way – it will improve your experience along with their day.

💛 Be fully present with people. Take time to really enjoy the company of those around you. Slow down, savour the companionship, and leave the phone and to-do lists in your bag.

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 I’d love to hear how you get on with these ideas, so don’t be shy about getting in touch!

And if you’ve got more ideas or hints or suggestions, please come over to Facebook and share with us 😃

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