Recalling Joy: An Appreciation

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“Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. We have heard, perhaps, too much of lesser matters. Here is the door. Here is the open air.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

Research shows us that the most effective way to positively influence scary, upsetting life moments is to tap into a feeling of appreciation for something in your life that brings you a deep sense of joy.

  1. Pause, allow your mind to rest a moment and follow your breath.
  2. Think of one thing that brings you a full sense of joy. It may be a child, a life partner, the bud on a tree, a warm cup of tea, a good friend, something you’ve done for yourself, a pet, a special place.
  3. Call to mind as many of the details of this as possible. Make the image as real as possible in your mind.
  4. Allow the most joy you’ll allow yourself to feel about this to flood through you.
  5. Make this process a daily practice for awhile to train your brain. It helps to do this in calm moments.
  6. The next time your emotional mind gets triggered into fear or anger, recall the sense of appreciation you have cultivated. Allow both the unpleasant feeling and the sense of appreciation to be true, to sit side by side inside you.
  7. This recalling of a joy will help keep you in control of a situation and will help you positively influence the outcome.
  8. It may help you to carry some small physical reminder of what brings you so much joy. In that way, you can physically touch it or look at it when you feel your pulse racing.
  9. The more times you allow this recalled joy into low and high-stakes situations, the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to allow it in the next time you really need it.
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