Posts for tag: Joy
Over the past five months, we’ve embarked on a journey together of discovering and unlocking the potential joy that resides in each and every one of us. Parker Wellness has shared with you twenty proven ways to joy, as outlined by professor Hana Matt. These practices are things that everyone is capable of doing regardless of location, socio-economic position, age, gender, religious affiliation, or current happiness level.
Every person is deserving of happiness, and every person is responsible for his or her own happiness. Sometimes, we just need someone or something to help us get started and on the right path. Hopefully, this series has aided in that commencement. Before we move on to other topics relating to health and wellness, we would like to provide you with a recap of the twenty proven ways to joy. You can always go back and re-read any of the more in depth explanations of each proven way.
Way #1: Start Moving.
Way #2: Transform your negative thoughts into more constructive and positive ones.
Way #3: Avoid social comparison.
Way #4: Build and nourish social relationships.
Way #5: Practice acts of kindness and compassion.
Way #6: Cultivate appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness.
Way #7: Appreciate yourself.
Way #8: Learn to savor the ordinary, but pleasurable moments throughout your day.
Way #9: Find and pursue a goal.
Way #10: Learn something new everyday. Be open to new and different experiences.
Way #11: Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night, and obtain sufficient rest throughout the day.
Way #12: Sing and listen to music.
Way #13: Regularly engage in some kind of creative expression.
Way #14: Observe your unpleasant feelings with nonjudgmental awareness.
Way #15: Laugh! Bring more humor into your life.
Way #16: Go outside. Embrace nature and the sun.
Way #17: Practice deep, elongated, and slow breathing.
Way #18: Set boundaries and limits against things that inhibit your happiness.
Way #19: Eat a high protein and vegetable rich diet.
Way #20: Connect with your spirit and soul in whatever way works for you. Appreciate the gift of being alive.
Thanks for sharing a smile with us!
Proven Way to Joy #20: Connect with the spirit and soul in whatever way works for you. Awaken awe, wonder, and amazement for what you encounter in life.
When was the last time you found yourself in complete awe? What was it that caused that awe-struck feeling? Was it a panoramic view at the end of a long hike? Did you watch the sunrise over the Atlantic and witness the sky and world come alive in a burst of chromatic colors? Was it a field of wildflowers that caught your eye on a long drive down a lonely road? There are truly infinite awe-inspiring moments; you just have to open your eyes to them.
Beauty and wonder is all around us. In the smallest details of the nature world, there are captivating works of art that are often overlooked because we forget to stop and look. W.B. Yeats put it quite perfectly in that, “the world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
Our senses have been dulled down due to the over stimulation of technology and our technology driven lives. Our eyes find themselves more often focused on a cell phone, a computer screen, or television than on pelicans flying overhead in perfect formation at the beach, on yellow butterflies quietly pollinating flowers in the yard, or the celestial lighting of the sky following the setting of the sun. We miss the bigger picture because we fail to look up.
It is the wings of iridescent Luna moths, in the song of the morning birds, the smell of the pines after a rainstorm, and the taste of salt on your lips after a dip in the ocean that has this unparalleled ability to ground and heal us. John Muir once said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal the body and soul. “
Every living and nonliving entity is interconnected. Together we make up the world. There is a beautiful energy that flows through our world and is exuded in different forms, like the intricate patterns of coral, the seductive colors of a peacock’s tail feathers, the enveloping fragrance of frangipanis, or the deep-set dimples on a smiling face. We can harness this energy simply by taking notice of it. It is all around us. It is this spark that has the power to release joy biochemicals in our brains, which are responsible for our level of happiness.
There is something worthy of our attention, even if just for a sweet moment, around us at all times. When you learn to look you might be surprised at what you see. It is often in the little things that we find something much grander. Happiness blossoms from these small things. Feed your soul with the energy of our natural world! Find that energy by simply opening your eyes to it.
Proven Way to Joy #19: Eat a high protein diet with a lot of vegetables.
We are what we eat. Diet and nutrition play a monumental role in all aspects of our lives. The state of our physical and emotional health is greatly affected by the types of foods that we consume. Think about how you feel when you overindulge in something heavily fried or processed versus something on the lighter and cleaner side of the spectrum. Or what happens after the initial rush and high of a sugary snack.
Hana Matt points out in her outline on the proven ways to joy that, “you should eat twenty grams of protein at every meal, which is the amount that fits into the palm of your hand. Protein should take up 1/3 of your plate. Protein foods are made up of amino acids, which are what make up and produce the joy biochemicals serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, and oxytocin. Not eating protein at each meal will cause you to lack these biochemicals. The other ¾ of your plate should be vegetables, the majority of the time. It is suggested that you limit your starches and sweet foods, as these foods cause a temporary boost in serotonin that is then followed by a greater drop in it. They also cause inflammation, which is now seen in studies to contribute to depression. “
When our serotonin levels are low, we will often experience the following symptoms: negativity, depression, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, irritability, impatience, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. Did you ever think that some of these feelings could be directly linked to your diet and protein intake? We often think of mental aliments to be separate from physical ones. However, our body is an entity that is interconnected with all of its systems and parts. No wonder when one part is not well or receiving the necessary care, another part might also suffer.
Unfortunately, there are things that are out of our control sometimes. However, diet and nutrition are in your control. It is your choice as to what you put inside of your body. Foods like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans are all high in protein and aid in the production of happy biochemicals. Buddha once said, “to keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our minds strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.”
Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week!
Proven Way to Joy #18: Setting Boundaries and Limits
For reasons unbeknownst, we are often our own worst enemies and most judgmental critics. We are kind to our family, our friends, and our animals, but are too often cruel to ourselves. We offer love, advice, friendship, and support to those in our lives, but fail to offer that same compassion inwardly. We hold onto our past mistakes and failures more than we praise our accomplishments and efforts. Those who have learned to love themselves have learned something invaluable.
John Lennon once said, “there are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and openhearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Setting personal boundaries and limits guard you against doing things that inhibit your happiness. The idea is to grant yourself the permission to treasure yourself. Hana Matt explains that, “boundaries allow you to adopt full ownership of your life. When you are your own best friend, you will build better boundaries and therefore create a fuller, healthier, and joy filled life. Boundaries protect you from unnecessary internal and external distress, and preserve you for the pursuit of a healthy life. They define what you give your time and energy to, and what you valve and hold precious. Set boundaries between yourself and your negative thoughts, activities, and things that aren’t in your best interest.
You have control over your own happiness, and it is rooted in self-acceptance and self-love. Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. Build a positive relationship with that inner voice in your head. Maybe your inner voice is the one that has been telling you that you aren’t successful enough, smart enough, confident enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, or good enough. Why live a life at war with the closest person to you, yourself? It’s time for a peace treaty and an alliance!
Set the boundary within yourself to not let your ego-ideal (according to Freud, this is your self-proclaimed vision of how you think you ought to be) try and uphold what it thinks society wants it to be and accomplish in this life. Instead of working against each other, work together. When the id, the ego, and the superego can coexist peacefully, happiness becomes but a natural occurrence within.
As human beings, it is only natural that we have internal conflicts. However, it is how you choose to confront and deal with these conflicts that define us in the end. Confront yourself with love, acceptance, patience, and support. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, your brother, your mother, or your chocolate Labrador.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” –Oscar Wilde
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” –Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
Proven Way to Joy #17: Deep elongated slow breathing
Life can throw some pretty heavy stuff our way sometimes. Whether it is work, family, or relationship related or personal struggle, tragic event, or health related, we will all experience hard moments throughout our lifetime; it is just part of life. It is these hard moments that have the capability of teaching us valuable life lessons and perspective changing realizations.
Sometimes things happen for a reason, even though you might not be able to grasp that right away. In the meantime though, during times of despair, depression, anxiety, and stress it is important to utilize our natural coping abilities and allow ourselves to heal and recover in a more organic and unforced timeframe. The breath is one of our greatest tools. Amit Ray said in his book Beautify your Breath-Beautify your Life that the, “breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.”
Practicing controlled breathing has a number of physical and mental benefits. The art of breathing has been the focal point of mediation and yoga practices, and for good reasons. Hana Matt explains that, “by doing abdominal breathing you activate the Vagus nerve, which triggers more joy chemicals to be released and the ignition of the relaxation response, which is necessary for your body to heal, repair, and renew. It counteracts the stress response. The increased oxygen supply to your body’s cells produces endorphins and serotonin.”
You can start by dedicating ten to twenty minutes of your day to conscientious breathing. Simply fill your lungs up so that they press against the inside of your chest cavity and release each breath slowly and with control. You can do this when you wake up in the morning, while you are sitting in traffic on the way to work, as you are taking a mid-day walk, or before you go to sleep at night; anytime is a good time. This practice not only will release joy biochemicals, but it will also help improve your memory, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and boost your immunity. You might be surprised by where your breath takes you.
Thank you for sharing a smile with us this week.