Replenishing Joy When Life Gets Hard
Let's face it - life isn't always nice and kind. Sometimes, it's just plain rude, leaving us tired, beat down and lacking energy. And for years, I've subjected myself to whatever mood feels most fitting. But lately, I've been thinking about how to take control of my emotional temperament. Sad situations don't have to leave me with my head hanging down. Sure, there are moments when it is important to acknowledge the emotions at hand, but wallowing in sadness is entirely different. So I'm making a decision to intentionally choose joy (although we all know there will be days when joy seems far fetched and impossible). Why joy? Well, because I want to believe what Carlos Santana said is true.
If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment. - Carlos Santana
But what happens when life has been so difficult that joy seems unattainable? What can we do to replenish our tanks and refresh our energy?
Phone a friend
What can this do? It can help uplift your spirits. There's nothing like talking to a good friend that can make you laugh when you feel like crying. Even more so, simply taking the time to talk about the issue/s helps alleviate the pressure that's sapping your energy. The more you release the issue, the more space you have to replenish more positive energy aka joy.
Re-survey your life
We've all seen the hundreds of articles that recommend gratitude journals. And I'll admit, I'm the first to consider them helpful but not everyone cares to write and not everyone has the time to sit down and write down 5, 10 or 15 things they're grateful for. But everyone can stop and re-survey their life. Consider your family and friends. Your job. Your hobbies. Your favorite travel memories. Your favorite food. Even thinking about your most recent favorite dessert can help lift you up out of a funk and have you rethink the entirety of your life. As bad and as hard as life can be, it can also be worst and there is always something happening in life that can remind you to smile. Think on that. Life isn't all bad and whatever you're dealing with will pass in time.
Spend Time Outside
No matter the season, there's something about nature that never fails to remind me how awesome life is. Whether it's a quick walk through the park, or a stroll through a quiet neighborhood or even a 15 minute break outside on the back deck, spending time outside is an easy way to release stress and invite a little joy back into your life. So the next time you feel yourself in a slump, spend a couple minutes outside and take in the beauty of the world around you.
Sometimes, a good book is all you need to help bring you back from an emotional funk. Regardless of the genre, literature can help you leave one world and enter another. And while escapism isn't the best way to handle situations, it does give you a good bit of time to cool down and gather your thoughts and that dear friends, is a step toward a better mood and an even better day.
Listen to Your Favorite Album or Song
We all know that music heals but have you ever put on your favorite song when everything seemed to be going wrong? Well let me tell you, it's a miracle. Something about the lyrics, the beat and the melody just picks you up and puts a smile on your face. But don't just listen to it once. Keep on listening until you have the energy to reclaim your mood. You'll feel like an entirely different person.
Complete a Small, but Substantial Task
If you're anything like me, marking off even just one item on the to-do list helps to uplift my spirits. So when life hits you hard, stop and think about one tiny thing you can do that has the potential to help turn your day around. Regardless of what the task (email, laundry, meal prep, article, blog post, exercise) is, go ahead and do it. Regaining even a tiny amount of control helps to re-center you and boosts your energy for the next task at hand.
I know. I know. Laughter isn't probably the last thing you want to do when you're upset, tired and pissed off but it is beneficial for sure. We've all heard that laughter is the best medicine but I really like what Jean Houston says.
"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."
I don't know what you're facing but if you can somehow reach a place of laughter, I can assure you, the weight of hopelessness and despair will ease and you'll begin to see yourself and the situation with new eyes. If you feel like you have zero reason to laugh at all, find a clip of your favorite sitcom or comedian and let the humor and absurdity of it all chuckle. That chuckle will become a giggle and that giggle, a full fledged laugh.
Pray and/or Meditate
We've heard it before but the best joy comes from within. Sure, there's nothing wrong with using external things to evoke positive energy and joy, but when you're finally able to look at a difficult situation and choose joy because it's stored up on the inside of you, you will have taken a major step toward emotional maturity. So take a few moments and ask for wisdom and guidance. Ask for joy too. Believe it or not, the universe has a funny way of providing exactly what you need when you need it the most. Why sit and wallow when you can ask for what you need?
"Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… It’s your responsibility to love it, or change it." – Chuck Palahniuk