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Is Joy an Important Part of Your Health Plan?


woman in red and blue plaid shirt holds a white wooden cutout of the word 'joy'

As the new year approaches, everyone’s talking about resolutions and goals. But some of my clients are not sure they need another goal in their lives. Some aspire to improve their health but most know there’s something more that they want and need; to center joy in their lives.


To experience unapologetic, guilt-free joy.


Not just occasionally, or on the weekends or in the evening after everyone’s gone to bed. Most of my clients strive to celebrate and find joy every single day.


Why focus on joy?

Not only will joy play a role in growing and deepening your relationships with others as a parent, partner, and friend, it’ll also have a grand impact on your own health. There’s so much research about the health benefits that come from being joyful. Here are just a few.


Joy and Happiness fight stress effectively

Increased stress in your life causes higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Increased cortisol is linked to a number of health conditions, including decreased memory functions and dementia. But there are a number of studies that have found that people who are happier have consistently lower levels of cortisol in their blood.


Joy can improve your immune system

All of that work on decreasing your stress through joy will have a positive impact on your immune system as well. When we’re stressed, our virus-fighting immune cells are less active, and we can even see an increase in antibodies, leaving your immune system imbalanced and compromised.


Joy can help reduce your chronic pain

The National Institutes of Health estimates that more than 25 million adults in the U.S. live with chronic pain. When you’re living with chronic, constant pain, you also often experience depression and negative emotions – all of which intensify physiological stress on your body.


Joy and happiness can lower the perceptions of your pain. As a result, they may actually be able to break the cycle of pain and negative emotions.


What does daily joy look like?

I wish I could write some magic daily routine that you could plug and play into your life. But, I think you know that joy doesn’t work like that. Joy is bio-individuality. It has to be unique and the right fit for you. This is, after all, about bringing YOU joy.


To start, I would encourage you to reflect on this question:


If you knew you had five years left to live, what would your chosen, daily routine look like?


Journal your thoughts for 5-10 minutes.


Another activity you can do is the Circle of life activity. I will often do this or similar exercises with my clients to help them balance their daily life. You place a dot within each category on the wheel. How satisfied are you with your spirituality - creativity - etc.?


After filling out all the categories, connect the dots. Does your wheel look round? Flat on one side? A bunch of peaks and valleys? That may help indicate for you what types of activities you need to help your life feel more joyful and balanced.


Often, these imbalances can be a root cause of physiological symptoms in your body. Recognizing the imbalances and committing to working on finding more balance is an important first step to making improvements to your life, body and the joy in your life.


That’s where I can support you and help hold you accountable toward your goals of finding joy and balance.


Looking for motivation and inspiration on your joy journey?



 




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