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Part 3 of 6 Living Happier Through the Holidays: Joy
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Hi and welcome. You are listening to the Stories from a Quest to Live Happier Podcast, and I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor. In this podcast, I share my stories and lessons I’ve learned, and I continue to learn on my quest to live happier. The show notes and the complete transcript can be found at live-happier.com\podcast. This is Episode 47, really tLiving Happier Through the Holidays Part Three: Looking at Joy.
Hey there! I’m so happy to have you here. I’m on the third part of my Live Happier Through the Holidays series. This comes out every Friday throughout the holidays. If you’ve missed episodes one and two, you can go back and listen to episodes 45 and 46. They’re not in any particular order; it’s just each week I have a different theme. This week we’re getting into joy, and I think that joy is a crux of the holidays. It’s something that we want to be feeling throughout the holidays. We don’t always feel joy. In the upcoming episodes I’ll be talking more about that, but this week we’re concentrating on joy.
Everyone says to me, “I want to be feeling more joyful, and I want to feel happier.” I mean, it’s the whole, this is the Quest to Live Happier Podcast. To feel joy and to feel happiness we need to be intentional. Every single day we need to be intentional. Not just looking for the gratitude or looking to be positive, but, intentionally, trying to find joy in our lives. In the previous episodes, we’ve talked about priorities and needs and where you get your energy. Looking at all of those into, where do you find your joy? What are the things you do that gives you joy? I have some ideas that I’m going to throw at you, but I also want you thinking, as you move through this week, where do you find your joy? What’re the ideas and places where you can add more joy into your life?
Here are some of my ideas that bring me joy and bring people I know joy and might be a place for you to tap into the joy of the holidays. My first one is, throwing a dance party. I love to dance, personally. It’s my thing. A lot of times we think we have to have some big event, a wedding, or a party, or some place to be dancing. You can dance in your kitchen. You can dance in your living room. Put on some Christmas music or just regular old dance music and throw a dance party. Grab your kids or your cat or your husband or whoever and let out some fun and joyfulness of dancing. Just throw yourself a dance party.
Along those same lines is the idea of planning a family game night or a silly movie night. I think a lot of times we need to be intentional about gathering our family around us. We are all busy and running from thing to thing. Planning ahead of time, we are going to be doing this event and having this time. We always have these ideas of stuff we want to do around the holidays, but we never really make a plan. We talked about that in the first week of really being intentional. This week we’re implementing that plan. What is some of the stuff you want to do that brings you joy? For me, I want this year to be about enjoying some of the Christmas lights. Our zoo does a big wild lights event. I want to go to that this year. I want to walk along our downtown riverfront and enjoy the lights that they have put out, so to get Christmassy and embrace that holiday period with my spouse and enjoy being outside and having to be in that moment.
It’s not just about planning the event. It’s about being present in the moment when we plan the event. We may decide, “Oh. I want to go look at Christmas lights.” Then, we go to look at the Christmas lights, and we’re so busy thinking about how many gifts we need to still buy that we’re not present to the Christmas lights. That’s hard to find joy when you’re not present. If you decide to do a family game night or a silly movie night or a Christmas movie night, to be present at that time where everyone’s gathered around and your laughing and being joyous, that’s where joy comes from. One of the pieces we miss about joy is we’re not present to joy. We are always, in our heads, onto the next thing or onto the drama that’s taking place around the table. We’re not present to our joy.
Another idea for adding more joy into your life is making a date with someone who brings you joy. Spending time and being intentional about finding that person. Maybe it’s your spouse, (hopefully, if you have a spouse they bring you joy), maybe it’s your kids or your aunt or a relative or your best friend. I don’t care. Co-worker. It doesn’t matter. Make a date with someone who brings you joy and savor time with them. Get a cup of coffee or a cup of hot chocolate or look at Christmas lights or go out to dinner. It doesn’t matter, but be intentional and make a date with someone who brings you joy. That’s such an easy one. We miss these opportunities for joy. To be savoring that time with that person.
My next tip in bringing joy is to write a handwritten letter. You take some time, again, we’re into that savoring and write a handwritten letter to someone. You could write to a service person. You could write to a friend or a co-worker, your mom or your dad, letting them know how much care about them or even if this person isn’t even around anymore. If they’re gone, and you’re missing them during the holidays. Writing a letter to them, letting them know how much you miss them can tap into that grief, but it can also tap into the joy of the memories of having that person around.
In the show notes above, I’m also going to be including a link to a wonderful website called moreloveletters.com. In this website, throughout December, they have an idea of a person you can write a letter to. A person in need who needs a handwritten letter. From December 5th through the 16th, everyday they have a story of someone who needs a letter and then the address of where you can send that letter. This is a brilliant idea to bring more joy into someone’s life, simply by writing a letter. Check out the show notes, and you can find a link to this moreloveletters.com program, which is amazing and a wonderful way of bringing in more joy.
My final tip, which is really about how to deal with stress. Sometimes joy is hard to come by when we’re running from thing to thing to thing, and we’re having a hard time staying in the moment. For me, letting out a big sigh, just one big deep sigh allows me to release some stress. It allows me to be present. I find myself, during the holidays, letting out a lot more deep sighs than other times, which is fine. Just allowing your body to completely relax and letting out that deep sigh gives our bodies some more oxygen and a chance to regroup and a chance to tap into that joy. Letting out a sigh is my weekly ritual challenge for the week of joy, but it’s a way for you to tap into, “How can I be more joyful?” One of those ways is recognizing when you’re stressed and taking a counteractive measure to that.
Okay, that’s the show. Thank for listening. The Stories from a Quest to Live Happier Podcast comes out every week. I will be releasing the next of the Live Happier Through the Holidays series next Friday. If you have questions, please e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you and talking to you via e-mail. Until next time here’s to living happier.
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