Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

5 Ways to Get Your Joy Back

Having a tough week? Job stress, no time to exercise, or perhaps you had a run in with a loved one? Maybe your favorite celeb didn't win on "Dancing with the Stars" or your team didn't win the championship.  Often, before we realize it, we have lost our joy. So today I'm sharing 5 strategies I use to maintain my joy but first, a personal anecdote I'm sure you will relate to.

So many things can happen in the course of a day that can steal my joy, if I allow them to. This week was particularly challenging. Without going into the gory details, let's just say I felt like everything was coming at me at once.

"Looks like it's going to be another one of those days" I remember saying to myself on Monday.

Alas, Tuesday and Wednesday have had their challenges as well.

But, I'm still smiling. Yesterday, I went for a massage and relaxed. Today, I took a walk at lunch and enjoyed the chirping of the birds outside as I took a different route. Later in the afternoon, I turned on the radio for a bit, and one of my favorite songs came on and I started dancing around my living room right smack in the middle of the day! Here are some tips on how to keep your joy when times are tough.

1. Step away from the stress.
   When we realize we are not feeling joyful, t's time to  helps break the pattern of stress and get away mentally. Take a walk, listen to music, make a nice dinner, get together with friends; these all help me keep my joy.

2. Talk to yourself.  I remind myself of the truths I believe in. "Lord, you are in control of everything in my life. This might not look like a good thing to me, but I know you can work it out for my good. I will take responsibility for my decisions and actions. I will trust you and be glad today." I will forget what happened at work this afternoon, what happened on monday, and I will live in the present moment. I will enjoy taking a warm shower and sitting out on my balcony with my cup of hot tea.

3. Indulge in self -care. 
    Self-care is not selfish. If we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to take care of anyone else. Take a hot Epsom salts bath. Go for a walk. Polish your nails. Go for a massage or a walk or a jog. When the pressures and problems of the world crowd in on us, it's time to get alone and take care of our spirits, calm our minds, and rejuvenate our bodies.

4. Have some fun. 
    As a single parent for many years, it was hard to find time to have fun. It is vital to our well-being to schedule fun into our to-do lists no matter how busy we are. What do you like to do? What takes your mind off your problems? Be sure it's a healthy activity that will restore and energize you, instead of deplete you.

5. Give it to God. 
     I know I like to be in control. As a single parent, I did not have any choice. Everything was on me. The truth is there are only some things under our control. Much of life is not and the sooner we come to understand this, the more peaceful we will become. Do what you can to attend to any given situation and then give it to God. Notice we have a part in fixing our problems. We can't just say "Well, God will take care of it." When we do what we can, God will do what we can't.

Joy is an indispensable commodity.  Life just isn't worth living if I can't be joyful most of the time. Yes, we are all going through difficult situations and I'm not minimizing what you or I are going through right now. But, I have learned that the tough stuff will keep on coming. It is up to me to decide how each situation will affect me and how I will respond to it. The quicker I can let go of unhappy, negative thoughts, the more I can enjoy my life by implementing these five steps.

How about you? Is there something stealing your joy? Can you step outside of your situation and believe that perhaps there may be a silver lining to it in the long run? I can almost guarantee that there is. Don't let the challenges of life steal your joy. Make a decision to be happy and enjoy each day for the gift it is. That's why they call it "the present".

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Until next time, keep smiling and keep looking up!