Finding Joy in the Journey
A Roger Miller song reminds us that "You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you've a mind to."
Joy is such an elusive quality that we often confuse with happiness. Recently we extolled the dangers of depression/worry and some of the things it steals from those of us who are victims of it.
Happiness often depends upon external circumstances while joy is a choice and a by-product of trust.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
I found this delightful posting on FamilyShare.com.
Life is a journey down smooth paths, rocky roads and downright treacherous terrain. Joy comes naturally during the easy times of life, but it takes effort to find moments of happiness during adversity. Here are six ways to find joy during the entirety of life's journey.
1. Enjoy the good times - When things are going really well in your life, enjoy yourself. This is a time to build memories that will sustain you during difficulties. Capture these moments by taking pictures or writing in your journal. Keep mementos in a treasure box so that you can take them out from time to time and reminisce. Focus on the positive aspects of your experiences and ignore minor mishaps. Building happy memories now can help you through the more challenging times in your life.
2. Nurture your relationships - Nothing has greater potential to make us happy than our relationships with others. Nurture your relationships and build a good support system that will sustain you during adversity. Do not be afraid to let others help you through your trials.
3. Show gratitude - Gratitude is recognizing the abundance and blessings in your life, even in the midst of difficulties. It is appreciating the things that you have. It is savoring the moment and not taking things for granted. It is finding the hidden blessings in unexpected challenges In addition; grateful people are hopeful, empathetic, helpful and forgiving. Perhaps you can start by being grateful for food on the table, for the roses blooming in your garden, for hugs. Keeping aware of the blessings in your life will keep you from sinking into debilitating depression.
4. Live in the moment - There are moments of joy in even the most painful times of life. Look for them. It can be a baby's smile, a phone call from a friend, a funny TV show, making love to your spouse, a beautiful sunrise or a sudden summer shower. You need respite from the pain. Open your heart to these moments and rest in them.
5. Embrace nature - Nature is good for your health and well being. Spend time with nature. Take a walk, smell flowers, pray as you walk. Go find a quiet place where you can just watch what is going on in God's world around you.
6. Exercise - You know that regular exercise improves your health. Exercise can also make you happier. Exercise makes you more fit and relieves anxiety, which lowers cortisol levels in the body. In addition, endorphins are released when you exercise. Endorphins stimulate the brain; reduce pain, lower stress and boost feelings of happiness. You can increase your happiness from exercise by working out with others or combining exercise with nature. Anytime you feel the need for a shot of happiness, put on your running shoes and take a jog around the park.
One Final Note
Life is full of pain and sorrow as well as ease and happiness. Those difficult times can make us relish the good times all the more. Embrace your life here, where you are now, and enjoy the journey with joy