I was listening to a Joel Osteen message about Joy and how nothing can take our joy from us. This means that no issues with a spouse, illness, loss of job or abilities or challenges associated with caring for an elderly loved one can take our joy away from us. We can however, give it away.
This is quite a revelation! Even though I have a conceptual understanding of my control over my reactions to people and situations in my life, I was daily giving my joy away to inconsequential events such as being stuck in traffic, fear of running late for a meeting, worry about personal and family health issues. Now you may think that worrying about health issues is not inconsequential. Any health issue that you or a loved one is facing is most certainly of consequence. What is not, however, is the act of worrying about these challenges.
Worrying does nothing to change the traffic pattern, fear doesn’t change what time you get to your meeting and most importantly, worry does nothing to change the outcome of the test to see if the cancer has spread.
Worry and fear can negatively affect your personal outlook, relationships with loved ones and health (which is ironic as that is the very thing you’re worrying about). We allow worry and fear to steal our joy from us and for what? Something we have little to no control over. The test results will be what they will be, worry and fear will not change them, but could hamper our ability to make good decisions about next steps and treatment options.
Studies have shown that there is a strong association between positive health outcomes and people with strong social well-being (happiness & joy that comes from within). This is great news! This means that you can have a positive effect on your health by adjusting your focus to things that are positive and joyful!
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to change your focus to become joy-filled, but there are some steps that can help you start your joy journey today!
- Focus on the positives – spend time with people who fill you with joy :family, friends, children, grandchildren.
- Disengage from “drama” people in your life – you know who I am talking about. The people who can turn any story into drama (i.e. – a dog jumping on their leg becomes a vicious attack). These people especially focus on the potential negative aspects of your situation. Politely turn down their offers to hang out and focus attention on positive people.
- Create a Joy Journal – get in the habit of writing down positive experiences EVERY DAY! At the beginning you may have to really stretch to find them (i.e. – I got out of bed today). After a while you will start to notice that there are more positives in your life than you realized!
I heard this saying “Worry does not change tomorrow’s burdens, but steals joy and power from today”. SO TRUE!
Take hold of your joy TODAY! Don’t give it away no matter what the circumstance. Things may be stressful, life can be challenging, but you have the power to find the joy in life no matter what else is going on around you.