We’re driving my daughter back to college today. She was home for six days, for Fall Break. It wasn’t an ideal visit. She had a lot of work, as did I. We both would have preferred wide open days, a true break.
And also, it was a joy to have her home.
Realizing this – the joy of it – was powerful magic. It allowed me to stop focusing on how things could be better and to embrace what is.
How often do you feel joy?
I’m an optimistic person. I regularly have feelings of well-being and gratitude. I have meaningful work.
Often joy seems like a special occasion feeling, doesn’t it? Joy feels effusive, like the character in Inside Out. Joy does cartwheels and is relentlessly happy.
I feel that, but sometimes, it’s a lot to ask. We’ve all got some combination of work stress, family drama, financial worries, health concerns – not to mention crises and losses. It can feel as if adult life doesn’t leave a lot of room for joy.
So I’ve started microdosing joy.
What would it take to feel joy every day, for just a minute or two?
In some cases, it might mean seeing our current feeling as joy. The pleasure of my morning dog walk. My feeling of love when I see my family at the dinner table. The deep satisfaction of collaborating on a project at work. There is joy in all of these.
But it might also require packaging, with intention, microdoses of joy.
The idea of microdosing is to take a small amount of a drug – below the amount required to initiate a full-body effect – in order to initiate a positive change in one’s cells.
I can't say that I understand the science -- I'm no expert. But I’m taken by the idea of microdosing joy. Rather than waiting for the big, showy, full body version of joy, the kind on holiday cards and in TV movies, can we create tiny microdoses out of the life we currently have?
We might start small – just once a day – and increase our dose over time.
Doing so requires one thing: Seeing what’s good.
Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness and it starts with a judgment: This is good. This can be our body’s Ahhhhhhh at a hot shower, our pleasure at someone else’s good news, or our enjoyment of time with a friend.
To feel more joy, we can train ourselves to see more parts of our life as good. They don’t all have to be good. Some weeks, the good feels not good enough. But what if every hour, we could find one thing that is good and for one minute, we could sink into that feeling of goodness?
This would be a microdose of joy.
Your mind may resist the microdose. It’s so small. How could something so small have a meaningful effect?
Give it a try and see if those small doses add up.
Intentionally create opportunities to see the good of your life. If things are especially challenging right now, remind yourself that you are not denying the challenges. You are saying “yes, and”. Things are painful and also, there is good. Even at times of sadness, there can be microdoses of joy.
This week, try using sensory experiences as an opportunity to feel joy. Eat a square of chocolate. Drink something warm. Look at a beautiful landscape. Smell a fragrance you love. Find something you enjoy every day – no matter how small – and remind yourself, This is good. ❤️
Sometimes we lose our feeling of joy to the challenges of life -- and sometimes we give away our joy, without even realizing it. I've come to see how often I do that and I've decided -- I'm taking it back. That's the topic of this week's podcast episode.
It's easy to forget about joy, isn't it? Especially at times of pain and sadness, it can feel wrong to think about joy. But it's at these times especially that we must hold onto our human capacity for joy -- not instead of sadness, but in addition to it.
What if I refuse to let anything steal my joy? Asking myself this question, I saw clearly how I let other people, the 24 hour news cycle, and even my own busyness steal my joy. I'm taking it back.
If this speaks to you, this is the episode for you.
Take a listen and let me know what resonates.
P.S. Something that brought me joy last week was meeting with a client. We had a few sessions several months ago and then she took some time to move forward on her plans. When we got together, she happily told me about all the things she had accomplished -- successes that seemed out of reach only months before. The key? She allowed herself to be herself. She stopped listening to the voices that told her to play small. I take no credit -- It was all her. But I know firsthand how powerful it is to see that you get to decide which voices to listen to. My client realized that she would rather risk failing at what she really wanted than to play it safe and to feel unfulfilled. That clarity let her show up more powerfully as herself.
If this speaks to you, contact me to explore how coaching can help you to stop playing small and to create the life you most truly want.
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