Do you know the difference between happiness and joy? Or in your mind are they the same? Wondering where all your joy went? You’ve come to the right place!
A couple of months ago, I did a Facebook Live with my private Facebook group, Women Who Want to Find Your Joy. I had some emails from a subscriber who was afraid she had completely lost her joy. I thought you all might appreciate this topic as well.
Okay so welcome to the first, hopefully of many, Facebook Lives for the Women Who Want to Find Your Joy group. I’m so happy to have you here.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m Teressa Morris. I’m a self-care coach and a full-time psychology student. Let’s see. To give you a little bit of background, about two and a half years ago I moved with my family up here to Oregon from California. We live with my in-laws, which is a big culture shock. We thought it was going to be easy to find jobs up here and it wasn’t. So that was difficult. And when I finally did find a job I was fired after nine months, which was my first-ever time being let go. So, right about that same time, I had a betrayal from someone who I trusted completely. That just sent me into a tailspin. And I just lost all my joy. Completely gone.
So I’ve been fighting for the past little while to come back and along the way, I’ve been meeting with my therapist, talking to other people. I’ve started finding ways to bring, to bring that joy back. And so that’s why I started the group, was so that we could share with each other, and because I think it’s really important for women to help support each other and hold each other up. And I wanted to be a part of that. I’m so glad, like I said, that you ladies are here.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about joy. What is it? Does anyone have their own personal idea of what joy is? I actually got into this discussion with one of my email subscribers a couple of months ago. She had had a really low point and she told me she wasn’t sure if she had any joy. And so we talked about what joy is. I’ll just, I’ll start if you want to break in. This is kind of hopefully an interactive thing today. So if you want to interrupt me at any time, please feel free.
Anyway, I believe there’s a difference between happiness and joy. What do you think? Have you ever thought about that before? A lot of people put those two things together — kind of make them synonyms for each other, but I think there’s a difference. Anyway, happiness, I would say, is an emotion that’s based on things that happen to you: your living situation, if somebody gives you a gift, or says something nice to you, somebody tells you a joke, or anything like that. Those are things that can make us happy. We don’t always have those outside influences, so we may not always be happy.
But joy on the other hand, is more of a choice. Joy is finding a way to bring positives. Joy is a way of bringing positives into our circumstances. Or, if it’s within our control, to change our circumstances. So I think that you can be really sad, like have something just really difficult happen to you, but still be able to find or create your own moments of joy. It might not be possible to be happy but it might be possible to have a little bit of joy.
OK so just a reminder, I’m a psychology student. I’m not a mental health professional. If you’re dealing with something more serious like major depression, which I have, these tips I’m going to talk about may or may not work for you. So be sure to talk to your therapist and/or your psychiatrist.
But for me besides the meds and the therapist, these tips have worked tremendously to help me to get my joy back. So does anybody have any ideas on ways that we can bring positives into our circumstances. There’s no right or wrong answers, except “going to hit somebody” might not be a good idea. But other than that, I really don’t think there’s a wrong answer to this question. OK. One of the tips today that I’d like to talk about is how to bring positives into our circumstances. And this tip is Do One Thing. That’s it. Just do one thing. Maybe it’s get out of bed or brush your hair or put on some makeup. Meet a friend. Go for a walk. Whatever it is, it should be just a bit of a stretch beyond what you feel like you’re capable of doing that day. Just do one thing, and if you succeed, awesome! I’ll be the first to give you a high five. That feeling of accomplishment will help you feel a lot more positive. But if you don’t succeed, be proud of yourself for the effort. Because I know. Believe me, I know how hard it can be. So you know, just attempting to motivate yourself is a big deal right there. OK. That’s my one tip.
Now my second tip is… Does anybody have any thoughts on ways we can take control over things that we have control of? Remember, we have control of ourselves or we have, mostly have control over ourselves. We might have, hopefully have control of our pets, and potentially, to a lesser extent our children. And everybody else we don’t have control over, just you know, just ourselves and hopefully whatever situation we’re in. So is there any way that you can think of that we can bring a little more control to our own personal circumstances.
So my second tip. We’ve talked before on Meditation Monday, about a body scan, where you’re taking some deep breaths and you’re going from head to toe seeing if you have any pain and just kind of, “OK I have it, but I can live with it,” and it just gives you a little bit more calm to start the day. So today I’d like to talk about something that can kind of prep us for the body scan or prep us if we want to do meditation or have some, if you don’t like the word meditation, to have some silent time for ourselves because sometimes we have too much clutter in our minds to be able to focus on what’s going on in our bodies. So my tip is to start the day or end the day or both with an emotion scan or a thought scan. So after you wake up or as you’re getting ready for bed, I lay there for a minute, it doesn’t have to take very long. I know we’re all busy.
Breathe deeply, and let any thoughts you have or any emotions pop up as they want to. And then one at a time notice these spots. I’ll give you an example. Today my thought that kept popping into my mind was “Oh my God, I have a Facebook Live today!” First time I’ve put on makeup for a while, ladies. You feel me on that one. And the emotion that goes with that thought, so in my case the emotion is I’m terrified. So you want to notice the thought, notice the emotion that goes with the thought, and label them both. So it just, you don’t have to say it out loud, but in your head say I can, you know, “I can tell that I’m upset about something. What is it that I’m upset about?” And make it concrete. Try not to have a vague uneasiness. Try to determine what is causing that unease. Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes you might not be able to put a name on it and that’s OK too. Again we’re not, we’re not grading our selves on this by any stretch. Sometimes it takes a while to get the hang of it,but if you can at least determine the emotions you’re having and be able to label them, that can help us have a more positive attitude, believe it or not. I know some people think that we’re dwelling on it if we, if we label our thoughts, our negative thoughts, or our emotions. Who feels that way? Does anybody else feel that way. I felt that way before and I have had a lot of people say that to me.
Well if I say what I’m thinking, or if I say what I’m feeling out loud then I’m just going to feel that way all day. Don’t feel like it’s going to stick with you all day, because actually naming the emotion, believe it or not, has a way of calming that emotion. And we’ll talk about that in a minute but let’s try a practice scan. I’m going to try to do this. I’m in Oregon and you’re everywhere else. But let’s try to do this so let’s, hopefully you’re all somewhere private. And if not, you don’t have to participate. Or if you don’t care then go ahead and participate. I’m obviously not somewhere private. I’m in the middle of a common area at my college, so I would just try not to be too loud. So let’s try to be in a place where we feel comfortable. Sit in a chair or on the ground or lay down, whatever feels best for you. Put both feet on the floor. Put your hands in your lap. Try not to clench anything. Ready. OK here we go. First let’s start with the deep breath. We’re gonna breathe in for four and then out for seven. OK so here we go. We’re going to breathe in four. One two three four and out for seven. One two three four five six. Let’s do that one more time in four, awesome. Just to give ourselves a little bit of calm, OK.
I didn’t mention this before, but I don’t want to trigger anyone’s asthma, so hopefully if breathing to that count doesn’t work for you, just breathe as deeply as you can.
OK now we’re gonna be still for about a minute. Just breathe as evenly as you can. Try to clear your head as much as possible and just let any thoughts, any negative thoughts or emotions that you’re having pop into your head, and we’re going to notice them and label them and then just move on. So the next thought or emotion, positive or negative. OK we’re not going to sit there and dwell on it. We’re just going to move on to the next thing and we’re only going to do this for about a minute or so. I just want to give you a feel for how it works. OK so I am, you pop up if you want to and let me know how that worked. Did you have any thoughts pop up? And were you able to label them or identify them? The thought that popped up for me is this. “Anybody listening?” If this was helping at all. Of course that’s that’s just my insecure little self over here.
But let’s talk about why this works. The reason this works according to David Brock, who is the author of Your Brain At Work, is because identifying and describing our emotions activates the part of the brain which controls emotions. In other words just plain naming the emotion would give it less power over us. So just by saying this morning “Oh my God, I’m terrified of this Facebook Live.” It made me believe it or not, way less nervous about this Facebook Live. I’m still shaking a little bit. OK see if you can see my hand here. It’s shaking a little bit but not as bad as I thought it would be. And my voice isn’t cracking still so that’s a, that’s a good sign.
So tell me what do you think? Did either of these tips we talked about resonate with you?