Health Topics

Make Joy A Habit

It’s been said that pleasure is in the body, happiness is in the mind, and joy is in the heart.

By Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA, CPC, RYT

Find Your True Joy

It’s been said that pleasure is in the body, happiness is in the mind, and joy is in the heart. Both pleasure and happiness are fleeting. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-in-the-soul feeling and state of gratitude. Unfortunately, the quest for immediate gratification - which is so prevalent in our society - can inhibit the feeling of true joy. We often go for the quick “feel-good” fix of fast food, the latest gadget, a shot of botox. This brings on a shallow view of life and a reliance on external items to simulate a temporary high. To combat this cycle, actively make joy a habit. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Evaluate your current state. Ask yourself, “How often do I experience joy? What or who makes me smile? What or who spoils my joy? How can I create an atmosphere of joy in my home?” Be willing to see where you are so you can map out where you’re going. Remember that you are in control of your own joy.
  • Make a playlist. Write down ways to have fun and nourish your soul. Look to the arts for inspiration. Experience nature. Create a joke book. Go to an actual playground. Commit to playing for at least 20 minutes a day – by yourself or with others. Make play dates.
  • Actively seek joy. Create a positive ritual to set the tone for the day. Take note from ancient cultures and offer a prayer, sing a song, or do a dance to greet the new morning. Throughout the day, ask yourself, “How can I find joy in this moment?” You may be in the midst of chaos, around family or people you may not want to be around, but still ask the question. In the asking, you’ll find an answer – an answer so simple that it in itself may make you smile.
  • Capture your joy in a journal. Every time you experience joy – from a special event or an everyday moment – write it down. Your own recording of “Little Treasures” will be the gift that just keeps on giving because you will take pleasure in rereading the entries.
  • Share your bliss. Help those in need. If someone looks down, offer a smile. If someone else receives an honor, rejoice with her. Embody the qualities of joy and allow it to stream from you.

Experience Your Own Joy

Release your joy every day and it will come back to you in amazing ways. Most of all, be the source of your own joy; don’t wait for something or someone to provide it. Give yourself permission to experience joy even in the midst of illness or crisis. If someone is negative or attacking you find a way to respond with compassion instead of firing back. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy
, Ph.D., MBA, CPC, RYT is a Harvard-trained executive coach focused on wellness and empowerment, and has been a keynote speaker for multiple Speaking of Women’s Health events. As President of Power Living Enterprises, Inc., she is known for applying the principles and techniques from yoga and integrative health to the Power Living coaching process in order to help people have the clarity and energy to reach their highest potential.