5 Ways to Quickly Shake off the Sadness to Feel More Joy
As a coach, the number one thing I help my clients with is finding greater happiness. At the root of what we all want is to be happy. All of the goals we have, ambitions we envision, plans we create are because we think those things and experiences will make us happy. If you think about it, every thing we do is because we are bobbing and weaving through life, trying to find our footing along our path toward what we think will make us happy.
…but life isn’t all roses. In fact, along your yellow brick road toward happiness, the Universe will often throw in a few mountains to climb, or sharp turns, perhaps some pebbles in your shoe — these little obstacles (or sometimes big obstacles), are the Universe’s version of Pop Quizzes and Final Exams. As you work on yourself — work to improve how you respond to your partner’s sarcasm, or work on having more faith in God’s plan for your life, or work on having more patience with your children, or loving yourself exactly as you are, or forgiving people who will never offer you an apology…the Universe will often present you with a Pop Quiz to help you master these skills, or better yet, identify which of these skills still need more sharpening. Think about it — we all remember that lovely Geometry class that had us dreaming about isosceles triangles for weeks! Once we learned some basics, it was time to test our knowledge. Many of us even participated in study groups to prepare for upcoming tests and quizzes. Ever notice how much more effectively you retained the information when you transitioned from just reading about the isosceles triangle, for example, to helping a peer understand the content. The brilliantly insightful Yogi Bhajan once said, “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” This is how the Universe works. “Ok, now that you’ve read about being more patient, let’s see you apply your skills. And bonus points if you learn the lesson so well that you are able to share (teach) your wisdom with someone else”, touts the Universe.
SO — you’re cruising along your happy little yellow brick road toward joy, and BOOM! You wake up cranky, sad, impatient…or generally just not feeling happy — what’s going on? Here are some tips on how to “STOP, DROP and REALIGN” (Lanashlafer.com)!
1. Guided Meditation — YouTube offers a bazillion (yes, a bazillion) guided meditations for any subject you could possibly imagine and for various lengths of time (quick or lengthy). This is a meditation I particularly love to get me out of negative head space and moving back toward greater joy: Guided Meditation for Deep Positivity. If this one isn’t right for you, search on YouTube “guided meditation for _____” and fill in the blank with whatever you intuitively feel you’re needing. …for loving myself, for stress, for patient parenting, for forgiveness, for better sleep. There are lots of great ones out there to explore! This is a great way to get yourself moving closer and closer, back to your happy place.
2. Gridding — I first heard about gridding from Abraham-Hicks and heard about it again from the amazing Lana Shlafer (she talks about it around minute 8:00 in this video). Gridding is the process of drawing out a grid, say 5x5 for example (more squares or less depending upon time, how deep you want to go, how far away from joy you are, etc.). In the squares that form, Start to think of how you WANT to feel — in essence ‘tuning’ your day and write these words in the squares of the grid. I included a photo below to help you visualize this activity. Avoid focusing on the negative in this exercise — like the bills that are due or the argument you had, the anxiety you’re feeling around your career — this is a sacred space and activity for calling in ONLY the feelings you DO want. Start with thinking about what you’re grateful for — let’s say, a flexible work schedule — how does that make you feel? For the grid below for example, here was my thought process. When was the last time I felt good — how was I feeling? I was in Florida at my sisters house, taking work calls out on the dock — how was I feeling? RELAXED (square 1). Mmmm, what elsedid I feel in that moment? HAPPY (square 2). Yes, yes…what else? EASE (square 3). Yes, I’m loving this, I’m feeling ease in my body, what else do I feel? FLOW (square 4) — i feel like I’m going with the flow, trusting the process. YES!!! Trusting the process — I feel VIBRANT! I feel JOY! I am a BOSS BABE! I am feeling CONFIDENT…andso on. This is activity can last as long or as briefly as needed, but most importantly, it realigns you with how you WANT to feel and pulls you closer, mentally and energetically, toward those feelings, helping you get ‘unstuck’ from the negative feelings. This is also a way to clearly tell the Universe what you DO WANT by saying MORE OF THIS PLEASE!
3. Grounding — Grounding (also known as Earthing) can take on a variety of forms, but grounding basically means placing bare feet on the ground and transferring energy from the ground in to the body. “Emerging scientific research supports the concept that the Earth’s electrons induce multiple physiological changes of clinical significance, including reduced pain, better sleep, a shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and a blood-thinning effect. The research, along with many anecdotal reports, is presented in a new book entitled Earthing.”(NCBI.com) For this practice, simply slip off your shoes, head out to any patch of dirt you can find, and plant your feet there! For maximum efficacy, consider closing your eyes, taking deep breaths (breathe in on a count of 4, out on a count of 6 to calm the nervous system) and quiet the mind. One of the ways I practiced quieting my mind and removing all thought from my mind early on in my meditation journey, was to imagine I was in a black room with no light, lying on my back and if I looked around I saw nothing. This helped me to still my mind and only concentrate on one thing at least, rather than 10,000 things. Others have imagined lying on a puffy white cloud and staring up at a beautiful blue sky. Again so you’re only processing one thought — the blue sky — vs. letting the monkey mind go wild. If your thoughts veer from your vision, simply bring your mind back to your one thought. The simultaneous connection with the Earth and stilling of your mind will maximize the effect of the grounding, thus bringing you back to a place of peace, and closer to your joy. I even practiced grounding while living in Minnesota on a -30 day — the Earth connecting with your bare feet generates warmth — so the weather shouldn’t be a deterrent!
4. Joy List — I love having a joy list on my phone notes app that is ongoing and ever growing. This is a wonderful list to reference in times of contrast (an experience of noticing what you do not want — so you can clearly define for the Universe what you DO want), otherwise known as when you’re feeling down, depressed, sad (insert negative adjective) i.e. not how you want to feel. So if you’re experiencing contrast, whip out that JOY LIST, baby! For this activity, just start capturing things that bring you joy! Fresh flowers, green juice, going for a walk, down comforters, the smell of gardenia, a bold organic coffee, pumpkin everything, a warm bath, a great pair of white jeans with just the right amount of stretch, a good hair day, yoga, baking, sunshine….there’s no limit, no categorical requirement — just freestyle on this one! Have a Joy List jam session — let’s riff! When you are experiencing contrast, look for an item on the list you can do right then, right there…or as soon as possible, to get you closer to your joy. Out of my above list, perhaps I’d pop my kiddos in the stroller and go for a walk, pick some wildflowers along the way and when we get back home, I’ll bake some cookies with my toddler. BOOM! Moving up the ladder of emotions toward greater joy, digging out of my negativity coma.
5. Pray — Isn’t prayer always a good way to remember who you are, to tune in to Source Energy and to feel God’s love pouring over us. Comforting us, removing our burdens from us, releasing us, loving us, listening…in only the way He can. I won’t offer you much direction here because prayer is SO personal that I don’t believe there is a right way or a wrong way to pray — I don’t believe anyone has the capacity to tell you the best way for YOU to pray. Just start with Dear God…and know, the Holy Spirit instantly intervenes from there to help you form the words, thoughts, or perhaps just hold you through the silence. One insight I recall from Marianne Williamson, when learning about A Course In Miracles, is that asking for THINGS is expecting magic, like God is a vending machine. A consideration I’ll offer you instead is asking for a miracle. A miracle is defined as a shift from fear to love. That simple. Moving from fear (any negative emotion — anger, unworthiness, rejection, hate, disappointment) to love (every positive emotion — joy, love, ease, gratitude, peace). After all, isn’t that what we’re all really after in our call for greater joy…feeling love.