I’m curious how many times do you give up or diminish your joy? 

I know I have and still sometimes do. I feel foolish and I fear judgement. I worry about the naysayers or the smug “I told you so” faces. I hit analysis paralysis and loop around my why, what and how…. or question my when. My inner critic speaks up and I don’t take her wisdom well. I distract myself with random stuff or better still someone else’s. Anyone need a hand? Now? Perfect, I’ll be right there.

Sound familiar? Yes? Keep reading.

I want you to consider the balance of your joy sources – how much of your joy relies on others? 

Women dancing sensually with a flowing dress sleeve over her extended arm, creating a joyful stance

Both have value. Both bring something extraordinary to our lives.

From a brain science perspective, you recognise and feel joy from within……and only from within.

Let’s take a simple example. You’ve got an extra 15 minute clear this morning, so you make yourself a cup of jo (or tea or smoothie….work with me!). You find your favourite mug and warm it. You hear the beans grind and smell the aroma. Your mouth waters in anticipation. You take the full, warm cup in your hands and find a comfy spot to pause. You feel the sun on your face and take your first sip. Hmm, it’s going to be a good day.

OK, so what happened? Where’s the joy? 

It’s in each step if you recognise it, if you take a split section to flex your joy muscles. It’s from within.

If the example was watching an exquisite performance by a star dance group or attending a sunny picnic with your girlfriends, where’s the joy come from? From within you.

It’s always from within you.

So how do you develop your joy muscles?

Smilnig woman leaning back into a lush green wall of shrubbery

Like any muscle, it takes regular exercise and knowledge of what makes it work. Here’s are my four practices you need to focus on: 

1.) Taking action to get really clear on your values, needs and boundaries creates the foundation to ensure you are set up for joy

2.) Taking action to ensure you create moments for joy creates the training plan

3.) Taking action to be really present and mindful in the moment creates the emotional and hormonal response to joy

4.) Taking action by reflecting and being grateful for the joy you experience, observe and participate in creates the “muscle memory” in our systems as well as connecting to Source (God, Mother Earth, the Universe, whatever your bigger source is)

5.) Taking action to remove or replace what takes or diminishes joy for you.

Like a great personal trainer, let me remind you that you’re training for the marathon of life and not a sprint once round the block. Many of your actions will go well and others not so much. You will need a team of people around you – to inspire, to celebrate or commiserate, to support and to gently point out what you don’t see, hear or feel in your joy muscle development journey.

Your joy training community lives in the Haven and you are welcome every day to come in there to share your actions, to seek new ideas and to get support for women like you. Women who want to feel more connected to their joy and able to create and utilise joy to fuel their lives in all aspects.

If you would benefit from a personal trainer in exploring your values, needs and in creating your action plan, drop me an email to talk about my coaching approach, both one to one and group programmes.

Let me finish with this quote from “The Secret Heart of Charlotte Lucas” by Laura Moncur,

Joy is not a commodity to be hoarded and protected. It is like a muscle. It must be used daily to keep strong and vigorous. For all my hardships, I have been able to remain quite joyful, for my muscles are strong.

May our muscles be strong despite our hardships, but because of our collective action and connection.