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Joy

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to chose joy and keep chosing it everyday." Henri J.M. Nouwen





What a wonderful holiday season! Both boys were home for ten days. My husband had time off. We had snow and lights outside and a warm fireplace inside. We ate so much wonderful food, including many, many, many Christmas cookies. We flew over the United States at the Mall of America on Fly Over America. We played games, watched The Witcher, read The Witcher, made candles and just felt the love of family and the joy of the season. I live in a winter wonderland.

How do we find joy everyday? How do we live each day like it is a Christmas wonderland? Of course, negativity doesn’t help. Negative emotions, like fear, anxiety, anger, and bitterness create a fight-or-flight response in the brain. Unfortunately, it is the default state that we live in. When we live with a predominance of negativity it is difficult to see things clearly or from a different perspective. It is very difficult to feel or live with joy.

One great way to stop the fight-or-flight response is to be present in the moment, to stop and notice that you are o.k. In this moment. Use your five senses to connect to the moment. This will soothe the brain so it stops sounding the alarm. Sometimes when negative thoughts persist, use visualization to predict the best possible outcome in your situation. Actively anticipating good outcomes from stressful situations can assist with experiencing joy.

Our brains were built for survival, and that meant they were built with a negativity bias. We have to actively override this bias and look for joy. Look at the bigger picture. If you are feeling negatively stop and breathe. Use your five senses and find something that makes you feel joyful. Joy can make us feel more productive, energized and creative. It is our choice. We need to wake up in the morning with the intention to choose joy.

I live in a winter wonderland. When I’m walking on my treadmill and I watch Zorro zoom through the backyard in the snow around our skimpy Charlie Brown Christmas tree my heart soars and there it is again - joy!

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