The first post in my new series, “Finding Your Joy.”
People search for happiness as if it is a hidden treasure buried in someone or something, and they must make a quest to find it.
Your spouse, your closest family and dearest friends, your career, and your personal assets are not the keys to your happiness. Although they can certainly fill you up or suck you dry, as the old saying goes, “you can’t put all your eggs in the same basket.” Similarly, you can’t rely on people and worldly events or pleasures to give you peace, contentment and fulfillment.
You have to find it inside of you, and sometimes in the hardest of times, create it within you. Occasionally you may not even want to find joy, but you have to fight that feeling.
The happiest people have cultivated a positive mindset and sought ways to find joy in their every day lives, in all seasons of life.
I have found my own joys that allow me to see the good through the bad and I’m learning how to brighten my own day without relying on anyone else to cheer me up. After all, acts of love or motivation from others cannot sustain us, we have to take control of our own attitude, mindset and have the mental endurance to withstand and persevere through the negative and even downright ugly.
It takes practice – trust me. I’ve been going at this consistently and wholeheartedly for a few years now and I still struggle. It’s so much easier to dwell on the negative, to feel sorry for yourself, fall into an “I’m the victim” mentality.
According to John Cacioppoo, Ph.D., currently at the University of Chicago, our brains have a “greater surge in electrical activity” when we experience negative feelings.  Why do you think the news isn’t full of happy stories? It’s not because those stories don’t exist, but rather that those storylines don’t collect the ratings that devastation and disaster receive, and stories that provoke fear chalk up even more popularity.
If we are scientifically wired to be attracted to the negative it’s clear we have to work at this, it’s not supposed to come easy.
So what do you say about working on this together? In the upcoming weeks, or maybe even months, I’m going to chat with my friends, business associates, acquaintances and complete strangers, and together we’re going to come up with a variety of ways to find joy in our everyday lives – amidst adversity, loss, the mundane, and every day in between.
Because the only way we can be happy, is to learn how to be.
So for now, I leave you with this. Three places I look to find joy in my everyday life:
- Photography – my hobby
- Reading – my place to escape
- Gratitude Journal – keeping my perspective
Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200306/our-brains-negative-bias, (accessed September 13, 2017).