No one has to steal your joy if you give it away for free.
Church folks say, "Don't let anyone steal your joy." But I realize too often we give away our joy to people, places, and things before they even try to take it.
I've learned the hard way that joy is your Divine gift. Once we give it away, we feel discouraged, disconnected, and defeated. The good news is that you get to choose whether or not you give your joy away.
Sometimes we don't even realize we're giving our joy away.
How do you know you've given your joy away? You can feel it. Yes, you may feel sad.
Sadness is what most people usually think of as the opposite of joy. However, being around certain people or situations can spark other emotions that can be clues to show you may have given your joy away, such as:
Feeling fatigued or low in energy
Feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
These are just a few of the emotions you may feel. Of course, this list isn't complete, and you need to identify how you feel when your joy is diminishing.
In addition to recognizing when you're giving your joy away, it's also important to keep your joy. I recommend using your Body-Mind-Spirit approach to keeping your joy.
Your Body J.O.Y.
Just go to bed. Seriously you need sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the easiest ways to increase your stress levels biochemically. Not getting enough sleep can also impact your emotions by putting you at risk of conditions such as anxiety and depression. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep at night for optimal wellness.
Only eat what makes you feel good before AND after you eat. Your food impacts your mood. Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel not only when you're eating them but also after. After eating: Do you feel more tired? More anxious? Processed foods high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can worsen your mood. Try to eat "Mood Foods" such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and complex carbohydrates to improve your mood.
Yes, move your body daily! Movement helps improve your mood by balancing your pleasure hormones and decreasing stress levels. The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes a week. However, studies have shown just ten minutes of movement daily improves your mood.
Your Mind J.O.Y.
Just say "No." As a recovering people pleaser, I know how hard it can be to say "no." However, learning how to say "No" is essential to keep your joy. Before saying yes, think about why you are saying yes. If it's just to please someone else at the expense of your joy, it's okay to say "no."
Outsource your outlook. If you're getting stuck in a negative mindset, it's time to change your perspective. Fill your mind with uplifting music. I love music of all forms, but I start every day with gospel music, and it's my go-to if I need a joy jumpstart. Listen to motivational speakers. If you're struggling to see things positively, then it's time to phone a friend or professional. I always say outside of your faith, every woman needs things for mental wellness: your manicurist, your hairstylist, and a therapist. If you need help finding a therapist: PsychologyToday.com and TherapyForBlackGirls.com are great resources. The past few years have really strained mental health. If you are struggling to find joy, this may be a sign of a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety. See the Embrace Your Mental Wellness blog article and the resources at the end of this article.
You're on your To-Do-List. Too often, we don't put ourselves on our to-do list. Or if we do, it's way at the bottom of our list. Prioritizing your needs and self-care is essential to keeping your joy.
Your Spirit J.O.Y.
Jesus/ Your God. And I'm talking about relationship, not religion. My relationship with Jesus is my main source of joy. God has blessed me with many amazing people in my life. However, when people let me down I know I can turn to Jesus for comfort and strength. "The joy of the Lord is my strength." (Nehemiah 6:9) Maybe you've misplaced your joy in people, places, or things that took your joy for granted. It's okay. God can restore your joy if you ask (Psalm 51:12). When my joy is low, God's joy in me is high. Your beliefs may look different from mine. But if you are a Believer, having a relationship with God based on love and not rigid religious principles is a fulfilling source of joy.
Outdoors. Nature can be an excellent source of joy and spiritual connection. Since the beginning of humanity, nature has been a place where we can refresh our spirits and find joy. Time in nature is restorative for your body, mind, and spirit. Aim for a minimum of 15 minutes of sunlight/ outdoor time daily. And look up. Studies have shown that staring at the tree canopy for 20 minutes can boost your mood.
Your Tribe. We were made for connection. Connecting with people who bring out the best in us is a great way to keep your joy. Seek out and stay connected to positive communities. I am so grateful to have a strong faith community, family, friend circles, and of course, the Incredible Embracers and Fabulous Embracers.
There are so many more joy jumpstarts that I could include on this list. But I hope this blog has helped you:
-Stay of aware of what's taking your joy &
-Cultivate Body-Mind-Spirit practices to keep your joy.
Remember your joy is your source of supernatural strength. Your joy is God's gift to you to help you through life.
Embrace You Affirmation:
Release giving your joy to people, places, & circumstances.
Embrace "Joy is my Divine gift."
Praying you and your loved ones have a joy-filled holiday season!
What other ways do you keep your joy? Share in the comments below.
If you are looking to start 2022 with your weight & wellness body-mind-spirit breakthrough, check out the Embrace You Weight & Wellness resources.
Embrace You 12-Week Breakthrough Journey
Book your Discovery Call before the next session starts! Only available 1/4/22-1/7/22.
If you are having a mental health crisis, call 911. Seek immediate medical attention. National Suicide Prevent Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Substance Abuse Treatment Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration