How do you experience joy?
Joy, at first glance, seems to be a lot like happy. But there are many differences.
We are told that happiness is something we need to chase, where joy appears to be a state of being. Merriam Webster tells us that joy is an expression of happiness, but I would argue against that being the only way to experience joy.
If you compare the words technically, joy can be used as both a noun and a verb, whereas happy is an adjective. (so there lol)
And why am I going down this rabbit hole?
Because in a few traditions, joy (along with love) is thought to be a state that exists fully in each of us, 24/7. I could get a little woowoo and describe it as our essence.
So, stay with me and just pretend. What if that was true? What if you didn’t have to do or achieve anything in order to experience joy? What if it was there for you to tap into any time you wanted?
There are times when I am not sure what to do next and I will throw out the question, what would love do? And while I might have stolen the idea from a bad 80s love song, I also will ask the question, what would joy do?
For me, joy always brings lightness and levity. It is a reminder that I am not required to take myself so seriously.
Over the years, I have developed what I think is an ingenious way to tap into my innate joy and I would like to share the process with you.
Sit in an upright yet comfortable position. Let your shoulders drop away from your ears and stretch up a little in your spine. If it feels ok and you are not walking or driving a car, you can even close your eyes. Take a big breath, in and out. Pause briefly after you exhale and turn up the corners of your mouth. Hold this facial position while taking another big breath, making sure to not let the corners of your mouth drop at any time. Pause, holding the same facial expression, and if needed, take another breath, repeating if necessary.
While you might not have been able to name it before, the feeling you are experiencing in this position is what I call joy. A word of caution, if you repeat this process often and in random places, you might experience your day in a radically different way. It can also be habit forming and potentially addictive, so be advised.
Have no fear -– you can always return to your previous state at any time.
You may be thinking that it couldn’t possibly be this simple. To which I would respond — does it serve you to make it more complicated?
This is your life – make it a great one.