~ A guest post by Danie Botha sharing how to increase your joy this holiday season. ~
When joy has slipped from our lives we live busy, if not bleak and boring lives. We get up in the morning, go to work, get home, eat, watch TV and go to bed. Tomorrow we repeat the same old story. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do something about it now and have a joyous holiday season. We can feed our joy.The joy that sustains is within our reach. Click To Tweet
We’re desperate. Perhaps joy lies in having more. We work harder to gain:
- More friends.
- A happier marriage.
- Better health
- A bigger house
- A newer car
- Nicer clothes
- A bigger bank balance
But happiness and contentment still evade us.
MISPLACED JOY IS UNRELIABLE
Happiness built on circumstances and possessions is fleeting:
- Our “beautiful things” can disappear, get stolen, destroyed by a flood or a fire.
- Our lives can get turned upside down in a moment—we fall ill, we lose a loved one
- Disaster can strike—we lose our job. Get into an accident. We struggle through a divorce.
The Apostle Paul, the author of Philippians, uses the word “joy” sixteen times in the short book. He writes about joy while imprisoned in Rome, awaiting execution. How does Paul do that? He learned something.Misplaced joy is unreliable. Click To Tweet
REAL JOY IS MORE THAN HAPPINESS.
- Joy rests in the knowledge God is in control of all the details of my life.
- It is a confidence everything will work out alright in the end
- It is a choice to praise Him in every situation, however bleak things seem.
- This isn’t foolishness, it’s called faith.
HOW TO FEED YOUR JOY
Let’s get practical. There’s science to joy and happiness.
Joy is a choice: Every day we choose. Joy, amidst upheaval, can only spring from inner calm and serenity. We need alone time, but don’t isolate yourself for too long. We need other people; we need nurturing relationships. Give. Give your time. Be the ear. Help. Reach out—it brings joy. Here are three things to know to be happier.Joy is a choice. Click To Tweet
Rediscover gratitude: Gratitude is more than celebrating Thanksgiving once a year. When gratitude becomes a habit, a part of your daily living, joy sprouts. Many of us sometimes write down three things to be grateful for before bedtime. Try also writing down three things when you get up first thing in the morning.
Find joy in nature: Get outside. If you live in the north this time of year—layer up and get out! Meditate. Pray. Learn to be quiet. Listen to nature’s voice. Listen to God’s voice. Peace comes to us when we learn humility.
Laugh more: Deep belly laughter has medically proven health benefits. Laughter, like exercise, is the best medicine. According to the American Psychological Society, humor improves learning, reduces stress, reduces anxiety and increases motivation. Surround yourself with positive people. Get away from toxic relationships.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones. – Proverbs 17:22
Find pleasure in making simple handmade gifts: Become original in your gifts this Christmas season. A gift, made with love and affection, can have so much more impact on both the giver and recipient, than a shop-bought electronic gadget costing hundreds of dollars. Brianna Lamberson has 23 DIY ideas for Christmas Decorations. Have some fun!
Create art—we were all made to create: Enjoying art, music, and literature is healing. The creation of it is even more powerful. Don’t rob yourself by saying “I’m not the artsy type.” Paint, draw, embroider, quilt, learn how to write, learn a musical instrument. Art heals us, as well as the people who listen to, see it or read it. Creating art improves wellbeing.
Be generous without spending a dime: Give your time. Drop in at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen—become an extra helping hand. It’s impossible to walk away unaffected. It will feed your joy. Visit an assisted living home—focus on those seniors who don’t have family members. Read and speak to them and watch their faces. It will touch your soul. Being generous needn’t cost you money.Be generous without spending a dime. It will feed your joy. Click To Tweet
Find joy in exercise: Like laughter, exercise can heal. Talking about joy and exercise always reminds me of Eric Liddle, the Scottish Olympic athlete. He’s famous for refusing to run his favorite distance, the 100 m on the Sunday at the 1924 Summer Olympics. He went on to become a missionary to China. His family was concerned all the running and exercise would dissuade him from becoming a missionary. Eric’s response was:
God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run I feel His pleasure!
Go for a walk, a swim or a bike ride. Take a friend along. Take care of yourself.
DECIDE TO FEED YOUR JOY
We can regain the joy that has slipped from our lives. In spite of the heartache, stress, and the upheaval we face, joy is still to be found—we don’t need to choke in misery. Let’s shift our pursuit of happiness. Joy is a daily choice. It’s to be found in nature, in practicing generosity and gratitude, in laughter, in participating in art and regular self-care.
The joy that sustains is within our reach.Decide to feed your joy. Click To Tweet
- Which of these joy feeders are you most interested in? Let Danie know in the comments.
- Know someone this would help? Please share.
- Feeding your joy is one way to practice self-care. More on that: Getting Started With Self-Care
I was born in Zambia. I completed my school education and medical training in South Africa. Anesthesiology specialization followed later. Canada has been home for the past 19 years. I blog at daniebotha.com about positive aging and lifelong fitness, preoperative optimization, ethical medicine and overcoming abuse, the writer’s journey, and the art of reading. I have published two novels and a novella (Contemporary and modern historical fiction.) You can get in touch with me on Facebook and twitter @danie2life
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