You’ve had enough of whatever that feeling is that has been holding you back from living a joyful life. Maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, transitioned out of a job, or moved to a new place and you’re a virtual stranger in a sea of new faces. Finding joy in times of challenge is work, but it is work that comes with great rewards.
Mmmm. Pastry. I love pastry. I love pie. But PIES is actually an acronym for your Personal, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual needs. Are you taking care of each of these areas in your life?
Physical – Sitting at our desk all day, followed by a very long commute, followed by watching endless reruns of Law & Order. No wonder you’re cranky. Have you met my friend Finn? Short for Endorphin. Endorphins are the natural feel-good hormones that are released when we exercise. They boost our mental capacity, we’re able to handle stress more efficiently, and other feel-good hormones are elevated. (Although you may not enjoy the actual huffing and puffing up a hill, you’ll feel great once you’ve accomplished your activity!)
Intellectual – Learning doesn’t have to stop once you leave school. There are so many things to get curious about. Maybe you want to learn how to do something “serious” like balance your chequebook, how to write a contract or how to build your own BBQ smoker. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve always wanted to learn how to make the perfect pastry or make awesome balloon animals just for fun. The I in PIES is about engaging your brain and creating new neural pathways. The benefits to regularly stimulating your brain help stave off diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Emotional – Are you engaging your empathy quotient? Are you relating to people? Are you engaging your human side? One of the core things I ask my clients to think about are “who are your core five people?” While some people prefer to be alone, having a core group of friends or family to support you, in good times and bad, is tremendously helpful. They can also help provide a different perspective for when you’re feeling stuck. They’re also great to celebrate the good things in life! If you’re feeling lonely, make a list of the activities you enjoy and find other people with those interests. www.meetup.com is a great resource for making new friends!
Spiritual – Spirituality is separate from religion. Where are you creating time in your daily life for quiet reflection? Tending to our spirit, our soul, our being, is absolutely important to our heart feeling more joyful. I ask my clients to start their day with an affirmation or intention – before your feet leave the comfort of your bed, ask yourself “how do I want to be today?” You have a choice – you can decide to be happy or grumpy, and sure enough you’ll find what you’re looking for.
I have an alarm on my phone that plays William Pharrell’s “Happy” song once a day. I call it the “Random Dance Alarm” and it is my reminder to stop what I am doing and engage in a joyful moment (I dance wherever I happen to be when it goes off!). That feeds my spirit.
It may seem silly or obvious to say this, but mindfully choosing the perspective of joy and happiness is something most people never think of, especially those that have been far removed from joy for a while.
Think back to the last time you laughed. Or smiled. Or enjoyed yourself fully. What was it about that moment in time that brought you joy? What was the essence of that moment?
And if all else fails, eat some pies! After all, the world would be a better place if we all gave PIES a chance.
Jean Leggett is an international speaker and certified coach, helping her clients step up into personal leadership and understand what it means to live a joyful life. In 2014, Jean launched a 6-week coaching program called JOY Bootcamp – to retrain her clients to live more fully in JOY in their every day and to eliminate negative thought patterns holding them back from greatness. Many people believe they are happy but Jean challenges them to experience the possibility of living a life of JOY.