On a personal note, I am in the middle of chaos in my own life. So this question is weighing heavily on my mind. As my readers know, I am in the middle of a move from the Bay Area. In addition, I am in the middle of other life changes that are trying and more than challenging. Often, there are days when I find myself deep in despair, and for someone who struggles with depression, this is only escalated by events occurring around me.
You read it. I struggle with depression – have my entire life. Believe me, it is not something that a person can just “get over.” But that is for another blog post. Today, it’s about an article I read in Huffington Post about finding joy in life.
The title, “The Power of Happiness: 4 Steps to Find Joy in Your Life” by Jeryl Brunner, would have me believe that following the four simple steps in the article would result in finding joy in my life. Simple? Not so much, actually.
The article states, “there are basic things people can do to be happier: be more appreciative, stay focused on the present and be kind to people” (Brunner, 2015, para. 8). The steps listed in Brunner’s article include these three steps but add another – Be physically active.
Oh, I admit that as I read these steps, I thought to myself, “But you do these steps!” Confession – most of the time, yes. But, definitely, not all the time. Especially lately with this move.
Suffice it to say that I am downsizing in a major way. The majority of my possessions are going into storage. It’s temporary, but there is something about packing one’s life into boxes to go into a storage unit that is cold and impersonal. I admit that I have been caught up in the emotions of old feelings and old memories that are both bad and good.
One of the steps mentioned is to stay in the moment. Great advice, but difficult sometimes. For myself, the best way for me to deal with going back in time or worrying about the future is to remember that each emotion, each feeling, each thought, and yes, each event is important, and part of staying in the moment is to feel, embrace, and experience the emotions attached. Remembering that emotions are valid and important is one of the best ways for me to stay in the present.
Next step – be grateful! Hard to be grateful when it feels the world is crashing down around you, right? Well, I cannot say I am grateful for everything going on, but I am grateful that this is another step to realizing my own dreams and watching the manifestation of a dream I envisioned a very long time ago.
Third step – be kind to people. That’s easy! Remembering that each and every person I encounter is experiencing their own challenges and trials often brings my own into perspective. Besides why take my own “stuff” out on someone else. So? Be kind!
Fourth step – be physically active. Again, for me, that is getting out in nature. When I feel overwhelmed, the first place I go is to the water. Walking the trail that borders my side of the bay does wonders. What will I do when I move? Well, I’ll be right on the banks of the Sacramento River, and there is a beautiful trail there. So I got that covered!
Have I found joy? Joy is relative. I find joy in most things in my life. And those others? Well, I am learning to let those go. And that, my friends?
That is, to me, the most important secret of finding joy in life.