Do you find that a block to joy can be other people?
This is what happens to me. The joy is there when I’m meditating, but then boom! Life happens! Household chores that I delegated to my dear boyfriend, Andy, have not been done. I’m irritated so I follow up with him which he hates, so that makes him irritated. The joy is gone, the friction is there – Ladies, can you relate?
It’s easy to complain about things and be frustrated about other people – I know – but it doesn’t help us feel better and it doesn’t solve anything. One of the quickest ways to make yourself feel better is to actively train yourself to focus on the good and catch yourself whenever you’re about to complain or criticise.
Change your focus, change your life.
So let’s look at this focus on the good in terms
of my relationship with Andy. Instead of focusing on all the chores that he has not done, I can choose, instead, to think about what lovely things he has done over the past few days or weeks. I can choose to tell him how much I appreciated the lovely meal he made yesterday and also how this care he puts into making those meals makes me feel truly loved. It takes a bit of effort, but it’s so worth it.
It has to be a conscious choice on my part to ignore the chores that have not been done yet and instead talk about the good stuff he’s done recently. Then Andy feels good, I feel good, and the day has much more chance of going well. And – funnily enough, the chores get done too!
Just like you build your physical muscle by going to the gym, you can also proactively
train your joy in the same way by becoming aware of your critical thoughts and replacing them with a more positive, bigger lens.
You might have heard already that training your attitude of gratitude is a key to more joy, but did you know that you can turbo-boost the positive effect by turning it outwards and actively expressing your gratitude to others?
Researchers have found that when we actively focus on the good in other people and then tell them about what we see, it affects us positively on many levels.
First, it makes the person you’re acknowledging feel great and they probably had no idea of the impact they had on you. Secondly, it improves the relationship with them: they feel closer to you and will most likely say many positive things back to you.
So thirdly, through the virtual circle of positive feelings, you get to feel extra good, not just from the change of focus, but also from the positivity that you’ve created together.
So think about someone who’s brought joy into your life and tell them about it! It can be recently or a long time ago.
Why are you grateful for them and how have they made you feel? You might be surprised
how this conversation changes your day as well as theirs.