How to Be Joyful in The Face of Adversity
Happiness is overrated, joy is where it is at!” ~ Oprah Winfrey
11 Ways to Cultivate Constant Joy
- Be aware of your thoughts and feelings.
- Process pain or discomfort.
- Discover what ignites joy for you.
- Take time to be quiet and focus on your breath.
- Accept what is.
- Seek out ways to be helpful.
- Spend time in nature.
- Spend time with people who uplift you.
- Sing, chant, pray and affirm what you love.
- Move your body. Dance!
- Find a creative hobby you enjoy.
As a life coach, I commonly have a discovery session with my clients around what ignites joy for them. Often the examples are simple and straightforward:
- Spending time with pets.
- Helping others in need.
- Going for a walk to appreciate nature.
- Hearing kids laughing about the silliest things.
- Being creative.
- Spending time working on a hobby.
- Watching a sunrise.
- Seeing sunlight glisten on the water.
- Hearing a friend have a good belly laugh.
- The breeze on a hot summer day.
- Holding hands with a loved one.
Normal, delicate moments. As much as people love a new material object or an exciting new opportunity, these are not the first things people list when describing joy. Joy is experiential, and it arises internally.
In Power vs. Force, psychiatrist and spiritual teacher Dr. David Hawkins writes, “As love becomes more and more unconditional it begins to be experienced as an inner Joy. This is not the sudden joy of a pleasurable turn of events; it is a constant accompaniment of all activities.”
In our sessions I help clients learn how to cultivate constant joy, especially when they are faced with challenging situations.
Recently an opportunity I was invested in did not come to fruition. As I sat with the outcome, I noticed I was not feeling joyful. I took a moment to be quiet. I became aware of arising thoughts and feelings.
I felt feelings of discontent, impatience, and doubt. I noticed where these feelings were in my physical body. I pinpointed the sensations and took several deep breaths, eventually breathing intentionally into the discomfort. On each exhale I released tension. In this way I was able to move through the discomfort rather quickly.
Once the acute discouragement had subsided and I was able to accept the situation, it was easier to focus on all the things I’m grateful for. In the process I tuned back into feelings of faith and joy.
Many of the clients I work with have been faced with far more challenging situations than mine. Being joyful in the face of war, greed, death, and disease is a far greater task, but the tools are the same.
Honor What Is
Whatever the scope of a challenge, it’s important to honor feelings that come up, even if they are difficult. The dance of life is not about skipping those steps or cutting that scene out of the movie. That said, it’s important to return to uplifted feelings as quickly as possible. Having supportive people in place, such as a life coach, a mentor, or a healing practitioner, can help to pull us from the mud of discouragement or defeat.
Turn Anger Into Power
“Force always moves against something, whereas power doesn’t move against anything. Force is intrinsically incomplete and therefore has to constantly be fed energy. Power is complete in and of itself and requires nothing from outside of itself.” ~ Force vs. Power
Being angry about something can be healthy. Anger is fuel for a flame that causes us to create monumental change. The trick is to move out of forceful anger and into pure power. This shift helps to cultivate constant joy and allows us to operate at a more productive level.
Accept It, Then Seek To Change It
When we don’t accept a situation for what it is, we enter a state of polarization. Divisiveness ultimately creates conflict; someone always ends up losing. When we accept what is and ask, “How can I help or bring love to it?” we act with power, as opposed to force, which can eventually lead us to joy.
Look for Joy in Unexpected Places
Recently, my uncle left his physical body. It happened very quickly and took many of his friends and family by surprise. I reached out to my cousin and shared what my experience of losing a parent had been like, over ten years ago. To be able to offer my cousin some comfort and hope after losing his father brought me a sense of joy; in sharing what had gotten me through that difficult time, I was uplifted by my ability to offer support.
Joy in the Face of Hate
Many recent events have created an uproar of opposition, racism, and hate in the collective consciousness. When we hear about these events it’s important to look at where we can help others become more educated, informed, and loved. The moment we hate the other side of any situation we have lost true power and have succumbed to being forceful. This is not to suggest that there will not be consequences for people’s negative and hateful actions, but we can have a far greater impact by being powerful versus forceful in our responses.
Keep joy activated with meditation, quiet time, uplifting music, and song. Engage in a creative hobby you enjoy, spend time with loved ones, and get outside.
About the author:
- Self Care,