Let’s face it; our life can be so busy with juggling multiple priorities that we don’t realize how busy we are until we get the chance to unplug for a day or two. This is exactly why I focused on increasing my capacity for joy while I was away on vacation.
It may sound overly simple (or even hokey) but taking time each day to unplug and consciously gathering moments of joy can have a profound impact on your stress resiliency, health and even your appetite.
Creating a moment of joy changes your physiology by balancing stress hormones such as cortisol and increasing feel good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. In Emotional Brain Training (EBT), we call this getting to a brain state of 1, which is high level balance and wellness. This is where your brain naturally is connected to your internal/eudonic rewards and you feel happy, content, creative, connected to life, compassionate and understanding of others. Not only do you feel good but you can accomplish great things, your body will feel stronger and ease the stress of aging and disease.
On top of that your drive to overeat high sugar and fat foods diminishes.
How do you create moments of joy?
- Take a couple of deep breaths
- Consciously check into your breathing notice if you are carrying any stress in your body and make an effort to release it (don’t worry if you can’t at first, with practice you will be able to).
- Make a few corrections to your posture – sit up tall, pull your shoulders back, look forward and make a slight smile. Notice if this ‘body at 1’ stance helps you feel more connected and positive.
- Take a moment and do something small to bring you a moment of joy. For example enjoy the sight and smell of some flowers, listen to a favorite song, feel the sunshine on your face, stand in the rain, say a prayer or meditation, stretch your body, or anything else you can think of that would be nurturing for you. For example, I just stopped work and took a minute to look at a couple of pictures of my vacation last week….I had such a great time visiting with friends and I loved sitting by the pool and enjoy the amazing sunset.
- Pay attention to yourself in this moment (notice your thoughts, feeling, and sensations). Don’t judge or criticize yourself, just notice what is going on for you right now. I feel proud I just checked in with myself and am feeling more relaxed. I also realized I’m thirsty and need some water before getting back to work to complete my project”
Note: If you are struggling with staying afloat in a crazy day, feeling overly tired or stuck in feeling angry, sad, hopeless or shamed then you may need to bring your brain into greater balance before you can access a moment of joy. In EBT participants learn that they can’t access joy points at brain states of 3, 4, or 5. If you find yourself in the category, consider joining our Wired for Joy introductory emotional brain training course.
Lets create a Joy Page! We started a moments of joy board on Pinterest, and I encourage you to post yours as well. Email email@example.com if you’d like to be added to the board as a contributor,