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Phyllis Reardon, M.Ed.
In my work with clients as a Life Coach/Counsellor the end goal is to help the client make a shift in their thinking, their perspective on their world and on areas of their life. This shift in thinking and perspective results in negative thoughts and emotions being eliminated and replaced with positive empowering ones. The more positive the shift the less space for the negative and the more space there is for Joy. In the words of Albert Einstein, ‘this is not philosophy this is physics.’
One of my very first clients “John” from the New York area was a man who to the world may indeed look like he had it all, and he did with respect to monies and material items. He sought out my coaching services for the main purpose of finding or reigniting Joy back into his life. He had made millions for his company and this became the sole focus of his attention, now making millions is wonderful but somewhere along the way Joy was lost or pushed to the back of the shelf to his own detriment and that of his wife and three children.
When I asked him what it looked like ‘to have no joy’ in his life he said, “I don’t smile anymore.”…”I don’t feel happy while playing with my kids.”… “There is no more laughter in my relationship with my wife.”
So smiles, feeling happy and laughter were missing. Did my client get it right? Is smiling, feeling happy and laughing a validation that joy exists in our lives?
The Oxford dictionary defines Joy as:
A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Based on this definition my client John got it right, he was indeed Joyless.
The Season of Joy
Over the next few weeks we will see the word joy in ever font size and color available, especially red and green. We’ll sing songs of joy. We will wish joy to others. ‘Tis the season. But how do we truly ignite a lost joy or maintain a smoldering one? I say a lost joy because each and every one of us had joy at some point in our lives albeit years ago in childhood but we did have the experience; we do know that joyous feeling. How then do we dig down, dust off and revive this needed emotion?
Back to my client
You may be thinking, so Phyllis tell us what happened to John. Well through my coaching process John choose the following activities to recapture his lost joy.
Focusing and Attending
Focusing & Attending Energy flows where attention goes.
While with his children John had to practice focusing totally on them; their faces, their smiles, how they jumped, hopped and skipped, the brightness of their eyes, the words they used, the tone of their laughter, the joy of children. These may be referred to as the ‘small things’ in life but it was where John had to begin. John discovered the fun of being with his kids again and part of his joy returned. The pilot light was lit.
Active Listening Two way listening.
John also practiced active listening, truly listening to what his kids and his wife said to him at the beginning of the day and at the end of a work day. He listened to respond, to truly be engaged in these conversations. Active listening also incorporates Focus and Attention. This takes practice and is not an overnight wonder. This act of two-way listening allowed him to feel fully engaged and enjoy these conversational times. He slowly began to joyfully look forward to these times of day. The flame of joy grew.
Mindset How you view the world.
John’s world had in a way, shrunk, his life perspective was narrowed by his dedication to work. He needed to learn to see with a new set of eyes, eyes that would increase the vision of joy. The Focusing, Attending & Listening activities stoked the joy flames and were a great basis for a shift in perspective but he needed more. We worked on John’s beliefs around joy. What did he believe as a child? Was it possible that he learned as a child that fun interfered with work? Was there time for joy? Was joy a consumer of good energy? What would he hear from his parents if he was ‘wasting time’ instead of doing homework when he was a kid? In other words what were his long held beliefs around joy. John made tremendous progress when he understood where his false beliefs around joy came from and replaced them with more empowering beliefs. The flame of joy burned brightly in John.
Aristotle once said, ‘Happiness depends on ourselves.’ My client John came to understand this and through the practice of his life coaching activities he smiled, felt happy and laughed. He choose joy.
Joy is Energy
Joy is energy, an amazing energy that feeds the body, mind and spirit. Without it we can feel empty. John came to understand this as he shifted his thinking. He progressed and found his joy through a series of coaching session and lots of hard work and dedication on his part and you can do the same. For now let me offer you what I call my ‘first aid for joy’, some activities that you can do right now to grow the energy of joy in your life.
First Aid for Joy
Smile at 12 people each day.
Complement a co-worker.
Watch a funny movie.
Dance in your kitchen.
Hug a loved one.
Each morning make note of one thing/one person for which you are grateful.
Treat yourself to chocolate, a good book, a specialty coffee, you get to choose.
Go to a park and swing on a swing.
Give away pieces of clothing you haven’t worn in the past 12 months.
Choose joy to fill every cell in your body each and every day.
Do you need to increase your energy around joy?
You can find out more about the life coaching activities that John used in my book Life Coaching Activities & Powerful Questions, Amazon or to book your own life coaching session email me email@example.com
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