Ready to change your view & experience of life? Learn how to lean into Joy!
Ok, so I was going to try really hard not to mention our lockdown situation in this email .... but it's so hard! So hard on all of us, and this 'death by a thousand cuts' approach to lockdown, as days are added on here and there, is making it even harder.
This morning I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a woman who has an admin role at a hospital and without going into too much detail: my definition of 'lockdown-hardness' was swiftly put into perspective!
I'd like to share one of the most practical and powerful tips, and an equally life changing tool, to help you live a happier life - and make life in lockdown that much more enJOYable!. Before I share the tip & tool, I'd like to plant a seed:
Your view of the world determines your experience in it.
Literally - seek and you shall find! If you're interested in a red Suzuki Swift, you'll suddenly see them everywhere: your brain goes into overdrive to help you see them. Everywhere!
We can use this to our advantage. When we make a deliberate choice to turn our view and focus towards the 'good', the JOY in life, the things we can be grateful for, our brain goes about it's day on a mission looking for those too!So rather than go into 'how to build your resilience' mode, today I'm going to:
- Introduce you to the four approaches to Joy.
- Share my findings of working with thousands of people on this subject alone. And how this dovetails with the findings of a 75 year long research study. This is your TIP.
- Set out the single most practical and powerful TOOL you can use to change your experience of the world. Lockdown included.
statement enough, we realise that what we really want is contentment, fulfilment, meaning, belonging... And no matter what a salesperson says, a new car, a new dress or a new pair of shoes, isn't really going to add anything to your 'fulfilment bank' that is long lasting.
BUT! You have a choice. Which approach to Joy do you choose?
1. Chasing Joy :(
We often hear others - or ourselves - say "I'll be happy when...". This is chasing joy - I'll be happy when I fit that dress, happy when I get a new job, happy when we get out of Level 4... ". I'm sorry to say it, but this is sitting in a happiness waiting room, waiting for these moments to arrive. If they do, great. But if they do - do you then find yourself moving the goalposts? "Well I know I said I'd be happy when I got a new car, but now I'll be happy when I get a pay rise (to pay for my new car!!?)".
Ask yourself - are you chasing happiness?
2. Depriving Yourself of Joy :(
This is when we are so afraid that the good in life will be taken away from us, that we deprive ourselves from feeling it and savouring it in the first place! Sound crazy?
Brene Brown gives an example of a parent watching a child sleep. And any parents out there will know all our children look like angels when they're asleep right? "Ahhh, my beautiful child, I'm so overwhelmed with love for you, my heart is filled with you....". Suddenly we jolt ourselves out of this trance worried about what might happen tomorrow when she goes on school camp, or she drives to visit a friend, or heads out for a swim....
Ask yourself - are you missing out on opportunities to savour Joy?
3. Giving up on Joy :(
Common. We aren't feeling fulfilled or content and don't feel we belong or have meaning. Which means we are filling the empty void in our lives with other 'stuff'. Anything. And it's usually addictive.
Retail Therapy. How many shoes do you have? Are you spending without giving any thought to your needs and wants, but just in the hope you'll feel happier, even if just for the car journey home with a shopping bag sitting on the seat beside you?
Ask yourself - are you filling a void in your life with something?
4. Leaning into Joy - WHOOP WHOOP!
This is what we WANT to be doing. Connecting with what it is that truly gives us the warm fuzzies. What has to happen for us to feel content, accepted, at peace...
Let me share what has come up as I have asked the same question to thousands of people.
The number one theme is: CONNECTION
People, and pets. Anything that relates to them - loud crazy family dinners, watching children play, talking to friends and family on the phone, going out with friends, being woken up by our kids' hugs, seeing our kids be nice to each other. The everyday, ordinary moments that fill our hearts with joy!
And if you're curious - the other top 3 themes:
LEARNING/GROWING/CREATING (self improvement)
It's true - even in a car sales yard not a single person mentioned a car. Not one.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:
A 75 year long study was started in the 1930s. The purpose was to identify the contributing factors to someone's health happiness and longevity.
After the study continued for 75 years they drew a conclusion. (Check out Robert Waldinger's Ted Talk for more info if you're keen)
And guess what - the number one factor was 'relationships'.
If the researcher wanted to be able to predict your health at age 85 years old, all they would ask is "what is the state of your relationships" at age 50 years? This was a better predictor of the quality of your life than your cholesterol levels.
Which is totally consistent with what I find in any discussion I have with teams about 'what fuels you'. Nice.
Ok so HOW DO WE LEAN INTO JOY?
FIRST, your TIP
Connect. Connect. Connect. Even in lockdown. Especially in lockdown. How can you tune into your relationships? Reignite some? Spend quality time with those in your bubble? Create some memories with people who are important to you? Reach out to someone who you think may be needing some connection?
Focusing on connection will do more for your state of mind and health than whether you eat that second piece of cake!
Today's challenge: who can I check on and connect with today?
SECOND, your TOOL
Lean into Joy by adopting a practice of gratitude. Sending your attention to those things that you can be greatful for, all the abundance in your life. Because as you now know, the more that you send this sort of instruction to your brain, the more your brain will work in your favour, actively trying to find the good, the joy, the abundance in your life.
Today's challenge: what can I be grateful for today?
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Here's some practical ways to adopt your tool of gratitude - in real life.
Ask everyone at the dinner table to share what they're grateful for, or what was the highlight of their day? If they know you're going to ask - their view of life will change without them even knowing!
Write down 3 things every night for which you can be grateful. Allow the emotion of this gratitude to take hold so you may 'experience' the gratitude. This is not a tick box exercise :)
I REALLY ADMIRE - FOR WORK
Great for a team. Each person starts with a blank sheet on which they write their name, before passing it to the person on their left. The idea is to write something you admire/love/respect about the person who's name is at the top of the page. The sheets keep getting passed around until you end up with yours in front of you - a page full of lovely comments about YOU. For which you can be grateful of course.
But more importantly, you've expressed to others why you are grateful for them being in your life.
GRATITUDE JAR - FOR HOME
Find an empty jar and have everyone in the house pop a note into the jar every day, or every week about what they are grateful for. Sit together and empty it - when it's full, or you're all together for a meal, or at the end of lockdown!!?? And be reminded of all the awesomeness in your life.
I kept a holiday gratitude journal once and asked anyone and everyone to write about what they were grateful for during the holiday. I now have a little book of delicious memories!
IN BRIEF: never lose sight of your CHOICE!
And that's the choice about where you spend your time and energy
TIP: When you connect connect connect with what gives you the warm fuzzies - do more of that! Prioritise those things. Why wouldn't you want to spend more of your time, energy and focus on the stuff that actually makes you feel good!?
And your choice about how you view the world
TOOL: When you choose to look for the awesome stuff in your life and lean into joy, you'll find joy shows up more and more often. There's simply so much to be grateful for. And thanks to your amazing brain it becomes easier and easier to spot once you get going!
Thanks for getting this far.
And extra special thanks to the incredible efforts of those working in essential services.
I am truly grateful to YOU.
Sending you my blessings and aroha!