FINDING JOY IN HARD TIMES
Finding Joy in Hard Times
These are crazy times we are in. There is so much uncertainty, fear, anger, and judgment. So much, in fact, that I physically feel it in my body all the time. It can be so hard to find joy in hard times. Anxiety and depression is at all-time high and things are probably only going to just get harder for a while.
So how to weather the storm and stay sane? Here are a few steps that I’ve learned over the years to pull me up when I’m feeling pushed down.
1 – GRATITUDE
The first step to finding joy in hard times is to start with gratitude. Start a list and write it down! This might seem strange but when I start a gratitude list it immediately slows down my anxiety spiral and I can step back from it. I recognize first that I’m truly blessed and then also realize that things could be much worse…trust me, they really can be. Writing down as many things as you can think of and they can be as small as the sheets you have to sleep in and toilet that flushes (because there are others in the world who truly don’t have those luxuries). Once you’ve done this is gives you this amazing thing called perspective. But does it wash the pain away? No. Does it mean that your fear or concern isn’t valid. No. But it gives you a little perspective so you can see the problems you’re facing from a different angle. You can also check out Annie’s blog articles about having an attitude of gratitude. After you’ve done this step, if you’re already feeling lighter or better, just move on to Step 3. However, if what you’re feeling is still nagging at you then take a moment in Step 2 before moving on to Step 3.
2 – FEEL IT
Now that you’ve been able to step back from the current situation with a healthy dose of gratitude…you’re still going to want to address what you’re feeling. I suggest that you get out a piece of paper at this point as well and do what my coach has coined “a brain dump.” Just start writing ALL the things you’ve been thinking, feeling and fearing. Just DUMP it onto the paper. As you do let your body feel the emotion, find it in your body, release the tears if you need to and just let it all out. There is no rhyme or reason to what you put on paper… it can look sloppy, scattered and frantic because when you’re done, you’re going to shred it. Yep. The whole point of this exercise is to acknowledge your feelings and then release them. What you’re going through might not require an ugly cry brain dump, and the gratitude list might be enough to make you feel better about moving forward, but if your just feeling stuck give this a try. But once you’re done you MUST move onto step 3. You’re literally going to move into joy…move being the operative word.
3 – MOVE YOUR BODY
This is completely intuitive, there isn’t one type of movement that works for everyone. When stress is high it zaps our energy. So if you’d had a big ugly cry and you need a nap…take one. But if after feeling into gratitude and recognizing your feelings for what they are you’re still feeling a need to release more tension and anxiety in your body, then its time to MOVE. I recommend putting something in your ears that flows with the type of movement of your choice.
– Put some soothing music on while you stretch your body with simple yoga movements
– Put some motivating tunes into your ear buds and go for a run or brisk walk
– Listen to a motivational talk or podcast and go for a hike
Taking a moment to move your body will also help release the feelings of fear and help guide you back to a place of self trust and intuition. We are in a day and age of great uncertainty and decisions about our jobs, families, finances, health, community and culture can feel like a very heavy burden to bear. As an individual, you must be willing to trust in yourself and lean into your own intuition more and more. It has been said many times that making decisions based on fear is never a good idea. So if you’re facing hard times right now, try this little strategy. It doesn’t solve your problems, but can leave your better equipped to handle them. And even find joy in your challenges.
We care deeply about our community and those affected by hardship and send our sincere prayers of hope out into the world.
Disclaimer: The information above is for informative purposes only. The 3 steps are based on personal experiences of myself and others who have coached me, or gone through personal transformations alongside me. If you are struggling severely, please do not be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, doctor, or counselor and get the extra help you need.