Time To Reconnect With Our Inner Joy

This year is almost half over, and it feels like a lifetime has passed! These last few months have been grim, frightening, and uncertain. Luckily, States are steadily reopening, and companies are slowly rehiring employees. Yet, people are still extremely stressed out and irritated.  Too much happening too fast.

Time to Find Our Inner Joy!

Self-isolation has affected us all. For a while now, I have read disturbing articles about customers yelling and spitting at shop owners and employees from not being allowed into the store without a mask to not having the product the customer wanted.  One woman punched the shop owner in the face when told the last above-ground pool had been sold.

With emotions running high, it is immensely vital we reconnect with our positive emotions and let the negative feelings go. It affects the decisions we make and the actions we take in our personal lives and business. It affects our relationships with others and with ourselves. A fundamental emotion, Joy, is the foundation for our positive emotions. Waking up and happy to be part of the living feeling.

Besides, when I stopped at a light, the car in front of me had a vanity plate, ‘IGOTJOY.” I can’t argue with synchronicity! I knew I had to write about Joy.

Reconnecting with Joy

How do we reawaken the feeling of Joy?  You can’t earn or work for it, and you can’t attain it through goals. Happiness is a state of being. The following ideas can bring Joy back into your life and work.

Where To Find Joy

Joy lives in the present when you are entirely focused on a task, not thinking of anything else.

When we are thinking about old hurts or fear we didn’t do well enough, we are living in the past. When worrying about what we have to do to get “stuff” done on time or what we need to do next, we are living in the future.

Often in our hectic lives, we get lost in the minutiae of living, and we feel overwhelmed, out of balance, and can become despondent at the most and frustrated at the least.  When you bring yourself back to the present, you can find peace and Joy.  It allows you to aspire to a higher quality of life.  What you do today creates your tomorrow!

When you are thinking about what could happen or what did happen, it distracts you from what you are doing now and affects what you will experience in the future as a result of your actions.

Joy Is Not Self-Critical

Most of the time, we are concerned with what other people are thinking, which can inhibit what we genuinely enjoy doing.  The irony is they are feeling the same way!  People are so entangled in their dramas that there is no room to think about us. Don’t be the victim of needless worrying about what others think of you. Focus on what you feel is the right action to take in the present moment.

Joy Is Deflecting Self-Judgment.

By trusting in ourselves to do the best we can, we can enjoy what we are doing. We can make better, deliberate decisions instead of reacting to the situation.

Part of our worry comes from our fear we are never good enough.  When we can accept our uniqueness, cherishing both our strengths and weaknesses, we acknowledge our special-ness.  We build on our strengths, and we learn from our shortcomings.  After all, if everyone was perfect, how challenging and exciting would life be – not very.

As Don Miguel Ruiz wrote in “The Four Agreements,” “simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

Joy Is Accepting Our Weaknesses As Well As Our Strengths.

To avoid self-judgment, accepting what we like and dislike about ourselves reduces the feeling of inadequacy and helps us focus on what we do well and determine where we could do better.  When we are not judging ourselves, it is easier not to take things personally. Each day we do the best we can. Accepting that we are doing our best each day, even though our best can change from moment to moment.

Two books worth reading are:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie

The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz”

 

After all we have been through this year, it is time to get our Joy back!

 

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Developing a New Normal Moving Forward

Coronavirus has pushed a Country-wide reset button and has created the opportunity for the creation of a “new” more satisfying normal, despite its negative impact. We now have an excellent opportunity to look within ourselves, discover our innate inner wisdom on how we would prefer to live and make changes for a more compelling life.

The following are five suggestions to consider implementing and continuing after the Virus crisis is behind us.

(1) Practice Mindfulness to Create Wellness, Positive Energy, and Increased Productivity.

Before, when our busy lives created high stress, there was little time to pause, breathe, and reflect on what was important in the Now. When we are so busy doing “stuff,” living loses meaning. A friend once shared with me that he wanted to watch the sunset with his small son, but he had emails to read. Emails will always be demanding our attention. Our children do not stay small for long.  Which of the two are more meaningful?

Now, things are quiet. Mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety, and fear, allowing the body to relax and energizes the mind by being focused on what is happening this moment, not thinking about the past or concerned about the future. Our immune system responds by becoming more robust, and our bodies healthier.

One Mindfulness tool to increase productivity and reduce distractions is Chunk!  Chunking is setting aside time to complete one task.  For example, schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to check emails once at 9 am and a second time at 5 pm daily.  During those times, you would concentrate solely on emails.  Chunking works for anything you want to do, from exercising to executing a program. Chunk time can vary based on how long you believe a task will take or the time you wish to devote to it.

(2)  We Can’t Control Everything.

Yes, the Virus is scary, but we cannot personally eradicate it from the Country. We can, however, do things we can control.  WHO suggests we limit checking the news to once or twice a day. Practice social distancing, etc. Being mindful (there’s that word again!) of what is essential at the moment.

When back to Normal as possible lives, instead of worrying over things, we have no control over, focus on what you can influence.

Practicing Mindfulness can take many forms.   Since there are many books and articles on this topic, and I am always looking for new ideas, I just ordered “Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t” by Monica Sweeney. I chose this one because there were over 3,000 ratings. I figured a lot of folks liked it, and I would check it out.

(3)  What Have You Put Off That You Can Do Now To Improve Your Experience?

There are many paths of thinking to answer that question. Today, I am focusing on learning new skills, acquiring wisdom, and immersing yourself in things that bring you joy.

Research indicates that adult cell phone users spent 3.5 hours each day on the mobile Internet in 2019 (1,277.5 hours). They estimate it will be over 4 hours in 2021 (1,450+ hours).  On the other hand, ten thousand hours spent on developing a skill will make you an expert.

Would it make sense to reduce those hours spent on the phone and redirect it to learning a subject that interests you or reading a book or taking a walk or (you decide)?

Another path would be to take a digital detox from social media. I have done that in the past, and it is rejuvenating. Recently, I have begun to stand outside at night and hear silence—such an incredible sound.

What would bring you peace, joy, or satisfaction?

(4)  Take Time To Remember Who You Are And What Makes You Happy.

During this time, we have a fantastic opportunity to take the time to know ourselves again.

When we are overwhelmed with work, commitments, and social media, we forget who we are. We can feel lost and dissatisfied.  With the economy at a momentary standstill, we can take this time to reacquaint ourselves with who we are, make changes to be happier, and create a “New Normal” going forward.

There are many paths to understanding why you do what you do. Insights lead to strategies to change habits or live and work differently.  Meditation, self-reflection, and journaling are some ways to become more self-aware.  Another way is taking on-line assessments proven through the years as to their efficacy and validity.

One assessment is the Keirsey Assessment I recommend, which helps people to gain insights about their personality and how they interact with others. A link to this assessment is

https://www.16personalities.com/

My clients have had significant insights using this tool on why they react in situations and which have led to making changes, some very small, that carry a remarkable impact on their interaction with others.

Lastly,

(5)  We Always Have A Choice.

In every moment, we have a choice to be fearful or joyful, anxious or peaceful.  Instead of reacting in situations, chose to respond. Pause, breathe deeply, and then consider, would you rather be at peace, or would you rather be anxious or fearful?

When we are anxious, angry, or stressed, our minds focus on the problem, limiting us to see only one or two solutions, neither the best answer. When calm, you will come up with more solutions you wouldn’t have when stressed.

 

Coronavirus has affected us as a Nation. We can still take charge of our lives and make choices on how we want to live our lives now and after we have moved beyond it.

Create your New Normal!

Be safe, and stay healthy.

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The Bully Factor

Bullying is extremely destructive, so much so, that, in extreme cases, youngsters have committed suicide.  They get bullied in the school yard and on social media—on their cell phones, on Twitter, Instagram, etc.  It can be overwhelming and devastating.  Singled out, they feel alone, small, and hated so they end themselves.  We are horrified and call it horrible, judgmental, and unloving.

We say there is no room for bullying.  That it is unacceptable; yet, every day we persist in bully behavior!  How? We bully ourselves with negative self-talk, such as, I am not good enough.  I am stupid. I am ugly.  I am a failure.  I am sure you can think of a few good examples, because we all do it at one time or another.

If we consider school-yard bullying unacceptable, why be one to ourselves?  Isn’t it about time to let go of this self-sabotaging thinking? It keeps us from achieving our dreams.

It feeds on our fears.  Two biggies are fear of failure and fear of success, although there are many others. Let’s look at those two here.

If you feared failure?  What is the worst thing that could happen if you failed?  Many highly successful people have claimed they would not have been nearly as successful if they hadn’t failed along the way because they learned what didn’t work.

If you discovered you feared success, what does success mean to you? What would change if you were successful?

Positive self-talk can replace negative, bully talk through actively replacing pessimistic thoughts.  When you say I can’t, replace with how can I do it, until you say automatically, “I can!”

Successful people do not give up hope, they banish bully talk and practice positive self-talk, and they don’t give up.

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