I've wanted to write on this topic for some time now, but waited until I completed more research on the topic.
Every day we have thousands of thoughts and feelings.
And based on our thoughts and feelings, we make assumptions, decisions, and take action accordingly. Sometimes our thoughts and feelings are helpful and true, and other times, they are harmful and incorrect.
Suggested reading: What you think may not be true
There are many choices we make daily that can steal our joy.
You can stop this from happening with some straight-forward tips, mindset shifts, and simple actions.
They work for me and I hope you'll give them a try.
We have 8 basic emotions and joy is one of them. To learn more about your emotions and access a primer on emotional intelligence (EI), download my free EI e-book here.
By definition, joy is "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires (delight); the expression or exhibition of such emotion (gaiety); a state of happiness or felicity (bliss); a source or cause of delight" (Merriam-Webster, 2021).
"Joy is of the soul. Happiness is of the moment" (Compassion.com).
"Joy runs deep and overflows, while happiness hugs hello" (Compassion.com).
Here's what I've learned:
All this to say that small changes can have a profound impact on our ability to experience more joy.
I've tried the following to help prevent joy stealing moments in my life:
When you notice that you're feeling stressed, guilty, or disappointed in yourself, stop for a moment to examine what's going on in your thoughts. By this I mean, consider what is driving your decision not to take action on that one nagging thing that you're putting off. It is like a slow leak in a tire that will soon leave you stranded on the side of the road if you don't stop and fix it.
Take action to change this tire so you can get back on the road again with confidence. When I realize I'm procrastinating and it is stealing joy from my life, I stop and examine what tire I need to fix and then I set a timer for 20 minutes and work on the one thing I've been putting off.
The 20 minutes goes by quickly and suddenly, I have momentum and energy to accomplish the action I was putting off. No more joy stealing here! I designed an entire self directed e-course on the topic of motivation, procrastination, and mindset.
It is a choice. Life can deal some pretty hard blows. Like Rocky Balboa (from Rocky, the first movie, which was quite good), he faced adversity, but never gave up on himself. He drew a line regarding what he would tolerate and what was too much.
He didn't compromise his beliefs and even though he wasn't academically intelligent, he had the emotional intelligence of empathy and integrity in spades.
Take time and reflect on what values you believe in and which ones you use as guideposts when adversity comes knocking and the going gets tough. Knowing and living your values helps to keep opportunities to live more joyfully quite attainable.
Also, consider who you admire and who honours the values you believe in. If they are famous, read about them and capture quotes that speak to you.
Better yet, if they are someone you know, ask if they would mentor you -- even for a very short time (one to two hours) and have questions ready to ask them to ensure you're making the best use of everyone's time.
Keep to do lists that are time-boxed. Here I mean, capture the biggest items on your list that you know you need to accomplish. Realistically categorize by priority how much time you believe each task will take. Be honest with yourself so that you don't underestimate how long an activity will take. Double the time if you are not sure.
I've included a link to my free downloadable time-blocking template so you can give this a try. This activity works so well especially when you feel stuck or in a state of analysis paralysis.
For a few days (2 or 3 tops) use the time-blocking technique to help you build momentum and see positive results.
Use the 20 minute timer tip along with this and you'll see a big difference in what you can accomplish and the momentum you'll build. It is a confidence booster that will counteract joy stealing opportunities.
I could go on, but I'll stop here. These tips and resources work and I invite you to give them a try.
Let your joy be in your journey -- not in some distant goal." Tim Cook
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Joy. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved May 30, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy
Compassion International (2021). What is the difference between joy and compassion. Retrieved from https://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/difference-between-joy-and-happiness.htm