What Brings You Joy?

Clearly, this man really enjoys playing darts.

I think a lot of us go through our daily lives just trying to keep up and not feel bad. We spend so much energy trying to ward off the negative feelings, the sense of failure, the anxiety, and the pain. It’s understandable that we want to avoid pain, even if it isn’t possible.

Instead of focusing so much on avoiding pain, how about trying to focus on what brings you joy? It seems like we should all know what brings us joy, but some of us don’t. Since we are so often focused on avoiding painful feelings we forget to notice what causes us to feel joy (not merely the absence of pain).

Some of the activities we spend a lot of time doing tend to numb us instead of bring us joy. This is odd because we are often doing these activities in an effort to feel happy. I’m thinking of activities such as:

  • Watching television
  • Surfing the internet and social networking
  • Playing video games
  • Eating junk food
  • Staying up too late at night
  • Shopping
  • Sitting on the couch alone and “resting”

Do these activities make you numb or do they bring you joy?

Now how about this list of activities:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Talking with friends in person or on the phone
  • Cooking and eating a great meal
  • Creating art or doing craft work
  • Reading a good book
  • Exercise

Do these activities make you numb or bring you joy?

Everyone is different. Something that might bring me a lot of joy could be really unpleasant for you and something I find numbing could bring you much joy. My suggestion is to increase your awareness about what you are doing and what the effect is on your wellbeing. If you find you are spending a lot of time doing things that are numbing, that’s a good thing to know. You might try scheduling something in your week or day or month that you know will bring you joy. Doing things that bring us joy gives us the fuel to get through the more painful times. Try it.

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