We Are All Meant to Feel Joy!
Every time we turn around there is something traumatizing happening and the world is traumatized right now. Even with this being true, there is also (paradoxically) a lot of hope, change, and awakening happening, so let’s capitalize on this and understand that feeling joy and releasing anxiety is essential, and it is possible.
So sad, I was discussing with my personal Shaman guide, Jennifer Hinton, the topic of how so many young people today dread growing up, because they believe it will be no fun, they will have no more happiness, and only responsibility. Yikes, I would not want to grow up either.
Where have we gone wrong that there is a whole culture created, at least here in America for sure, that believes growing up equates to feeling no joy and brings only more stress and anxiety ? We have it so wrong, and then we wonder why we have startling and increasing rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.
I want everyone who reads this to know that “we are allowed to feel joy in our lives”. Say it with a BIG YES! Please take a moment and say this statement 13 times – a dirty dozen sounds more fun, huh? Or write it 13 times, or express is 13 times in any way that you can imagine up.
Did you, do it? Ok, good let’s move forward. How do you then feel more joy and release anxiety in your life?
If you are having an extra hard time and experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, depression, self-harm and/or suicidal urges or actions, please start, if you have not already, building a circle of support around you. Include a well-trained therapist, as well as other healers and doctors, that you can learn to trust, that are nonjudgmental, and that can provide you with the support you need to work through the traumas, blocks (feeling stuck?), and/or biological concerns that are to be addressed.
We all need a tribe of support around us, and you can also include trusting friends and family into your circle of support. Currently, my circle personally includes a shaman, therapist, mentors, a primary doctor, an OBGYN, yoga teachers, and a really good massage therapist as well as few close friends and family members. In the past, and as needed, my circle also included: a functional medicine doctor, a Reiki Master, a smattering of other energy healers, spiritual teachers, a Chiropractor, nutritionist, Specialty Medical Doctors, and an Acupuncturist etc.
Now let’s go back to how to define some possible ways to feel more joy and release anxiety in your life.
Spread a Whole Lot of Compassion to Yourself.
It is so important to understand that sadness, chaos, and change are inevitable, they are part of the human experience. You are not alone in these experiences. At the same time, there is also so much beauty, joy, and softness in this world too. Spend some time with a puppy, wrap up in a cozy soft blanket, or go sightseeing to a waterfall or a national park, and you will see and feel all of this.
Part of being human is having conflictual feelings and experiences, yes, you can at the same time feel both sadness and joy, anger and softness, or hate and beauty. This is part of this universal and physical existence. The human life, albeit it can be really rough at times, can also be wondrous, if you are willing to see it.
Another very human experience is to feel energetic and inspired one moment and then feel exhausted and need to rest the next. So paradoxical, yet so absolutely normal. Can you begin to have compassion for all these experiences, emotions, and experiences you endure?
Practice turning toward love and self-compassion every moment that you can – without perfection. Breathe into your heart, set an intention to move toward self-compassion (even if you don’t feel it), and drop into your heart (you can even place your hand on your heart).
Do What Feels Good, Even When in Doubt.
Don’t wait until conditions are perfect to do what you want. This way, of thinking, although very human – we all have this – is a mind trap. Things are never perfect. You are never quite ready. I know this one may be hard for you. It takes some heartfelt courage, and faith to know it is possible with some support.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) teaches you skills to make “Life Worth Living”. A popular skill that can helps you with this, is called ‘Opposite Action’. You mind may say things like: I’ll wait until I lose weight, I have enough money, or when I have more energy etc.
Observe this banter, take a moment to pause, and then remind yourself, ‘I am not my thoughts’. Then drop from your head into your heart more. Breathe into your heart center and ask yourself – what is my urge when I think/believe that I need to wait for _____ before I can do _______. And do the opposite; by not waiting and move forward instead. Take one small, even tiny, step towards what you want to do.
For example, if your urge is to start doing yoga once you lose weight, then sign up for a beginner’s yoga class anyway. Just try one class, start off slow and use the DBT skill ‘Step by Step’. Give yourself a ton of compassion, yes this actually is amazingly helpful. Feel silly, or believe you don’t deserve it, talk to yourself compassionately anyway, as you would a child or a dear friend. It is hard, absolutely, and you practice doing it anyway with love and compassion for how hard it is. One step at a time – you do not need to go from 0 – 100 (that is not compassionate, nor does it work anyway), but instead go from 0 to 5 and build upon that.
Embrace Being an Empath on This Earth.
If you are reading this and have gotten this far, I am guessing you are an ‘Empath’ like me. Being an empath generally means you’re more sensitive to the energy around you than others may be. You have a big open heart, and can easily absorb energy, for good and for bad. Many Empaths also transmute energy, including emotional energy, whether you are conscious of it or not, and this can leave you exhausted.
The current collective emotional energy in the mass consciousness is heavy and is taking a toll on many. An “Empath” can deeply feel others’ suffering and pain body. Eckhart Tolle coined the phrase “pain-body”, generally meaning old accumulated emotional pain and unresolved trauma living inside of us.
In order to open yourself to feeling more joy and releasing your anxiety, you must learn to not take on other’s energy as your own, to recognize it is not yours and to set healthy energetic boundaries. Self-care 101 for Empaths:
Understand that you cannot resolve other people’s pain, only they can do that, so taking it on actually hurts others. It is through facing their pain and suffering they awaken; no one else can do that for them. And if you take away their suffering, even somewhat, they are less motivated to face their pain and stay stuck
Practice guided meditations and visualizations to clear your energy body. Get energy- and bodywork done to help release collected energies that do not serve you:
1. Do things that allow you to feel personal joy to re-charge and calm your nervous system
2. Replenish yourself with lots of rest, movement, nourishing food, and relaxation
3. Find time to process your own emotions, pain, and traumas
4. Practice noting all the things you appreciate and have gratitude for
5. Learn what nourishes your soul and make time for it
6. Remember these things aren’t optional, they are essential
7. Challenge and Empower Yourself
Change requires growth. Personal growth requires change. Being challenged makes you stronger, wiser, and more resilient. This is for the highest good of all humankind to change, to grow, to challenge, and to love. This is not to say go overboard and exhaust yourself, like the old Nike motto “No pain, no gain”. It is quite the opposite; growth requires expansion which may, or likely will, feel challenging. However, it is about challenging yourself in a compassionate way.
This takes faith, as it is about trusting the unknown, leading with your heart instead of your head, and manifesting hope.
Tap into your highest self, so your self-energy can ‘drive the bus’ rather than your mind or selfish self. It’s not about fixing yourself, others, or the world. Your real power is in your heart center, it is the energy of love. You can always tap into it, as it is all around you. Whether you access it or not, it is there. Open yourself to the life force and the light within you and allow yourself to feel joy and release your anxiety. Remember your inner power. Let your inner light shine, embody love, and own who you are now.