If you’re looking to find more joy, delight, happiness or a bit of bliss, you’re not alone. Never before have we seen more opposites to our basic happiness. These barriers to contentment leave us in panic, anxiety, misery, depression and overall discontent.
Happiness starts with inner kindness we practice, yet …
In spite of a proliferation of facts and figures about our health people tell us they are caught deep into depression or anxiety attacks with seemingly no place to go. Increasingly folks find themselves melting down over the constantly changing and often angry world we currently face.
Have you noticed how many people seem to be isolated, seeking approval from others, and unhappy?
Sadly , people turn to drugs, escape into isolation, or increase their fast food intake to dangerous levels. We can certainly understand why. But it doesn’t work.
Instead we learn from new brain discoveries that we can adapt and learn to engage a mindset that restores joy while increasing our compassion toward ourselves and others. We can learn to face the parts of ourselves we deploy and can reboot joy and delight because when we choose joy, its resistance and its negative forces against inner delight, drop away.
Daily news reports continue to stoke our cortisol levels, building inner toxins that keep us anxious and impatient. Social media appears to attack us where we feel most vulnerable and leaders tend to resort to fear to control us and win our votes.
Mindfulness tactics can shift us into a happier stance over time. The process is rarely instant, however, as most answers lie buried deep within ourselves, so that we may have to remove old habits that piled debris there.
Some people look for answers and opportunities in their external world, but instead we find lasting joy deep inside ourselves, rather than in our environment. In fact we get more and more discouraged when we begin to believe we’re victims of these uncertain times. We crave the kind of happiness that frees us from being tormented by miserable memories of a broken mindset. We long to move beyond an unsettling or turbulent relationship with our own mind.
Here is where amazing grace provides all we need tangibly in a mindset that moves us from misery’s mires to joyous mindfulness. The hallmark of joy here is an awareness of interactions between ourselves and a joyful loving God. It’s agape love’s revelation and at the same time it’s mercy beyond justice that stirs deep inside, and extends beyond ourselves to embrace other humans. To reach deep within and beyond ourselves is to experience wee bits of pleasure from internal and external delights. This shift begins with and is sustained by focusing more on habits that build happiness, in spite of setbacks.
Not that we can or should blank out troubling thoughts. Instead we go for the inner delight of learning to live with our inner thoughts – both delightful and disastrous memories. Peace comes when we harmonize our thoughts to relate better by stepping back and building healthier interactions with our thoughts and emotions.
One way to achieve this stepping back from emotions that hold us back, is to reflect on how we’d support a best friend to find inner joy in spite of tumultuous circumstances. Perhaps create a few bullet things that make us thankful at the moment. This allows us to see the difficult situation in perspective, and with greater clarity and kindness.
We’d likely start for instance, by encouraging our close friend to tap into personal kindness and self-care. We might encourage meditation on God’s unearned and unmerited love as a wonderful channel into joy. We’d perhaps explain how we increase our freedom by learning how not to be so imprisoned and controlled by suffering. We’d help our friend to be less distracted by thoughts of fear, anger and other toxic emotional reactions that control us.
We can also learn to step back and refuse to engage in a heated moment. In challenging moments we learn to look for an anchor to steady us in more peaceful inner waters. This anchor is God’s grace! Deep within each of us lies unconditional love, given freely from a divine creator who IS LOVE itself.
This one focus, when accessed, will bring us over time into an ability to see God ‘s unearned love gift. Yes, even when distractions move in, discouragement tries to usurp our contentment, or we give in to feelings of failure because of past regrets or past mistakes. We grow less attached to anti-joyous thoughts and toxic emotions.
We regain our awareness of amazing love, and in that freedom we also gain the joy of freedom from the thoughts that weigh us down and usurp our strength to be happier. As we focus on love as our free gift, we exercise our emotional and mental control, just as a robust workout session exercises our physical muscles.
We retrain our personal relationship with our emotions. This focus shift revolutionizes our ability to remain in a more compassionate place of joy and delight. The harshness of self-judgement drops away and is displaced by a kinder, gentler and more caring state of being. It’s the place of unconditional love. We find courage to be loved just as we are, and without a need to change or act differently to be accepted.
Change here takes place out of gratitude that inspires us to live up to its giftedness. This changes our interior landscape into a kinder state of inner compassion that converts into action for ourselves and for others around us.
Gentleness and compassion grow into mindfulness that keeps us in a more joyful game. Our brain chemistry changes in response as this focus activates parts of the brain that fit well with empathy, compassion and joyfulness. Rather than try to wipe away anxiety or discontent, we build joy and delight in all situations. See more happiness for yourself here?