Joy is the inner smile that has the power to open hearts, remove fear and instill hope. It connects us to all we are -- our passions, purposes and our spirits.
Practicing joy every day stimulates the immune system, increases our energy and keeps us centered and grounded in the midst of life's challenges. Joy is not an invented feeling; rather it's being open to the joy that surrounds us.
As a stage IV prostate cancer survivor, I've been inspired by Martha Beck's Joy Diet, which is 10 daily practices that can enhance every day's journey. I use my daily joy practices to keep me mindful of the gift of today and be aware of the joy that surrounds me.
Here are some joy practices that have helped me experience joy. They may help you bring joy into your life, too.
Keep a joy journal or diary. Write down all the joyful things you experience. Yesterday evening as I walked for exercise, I saw a young family whose child was wearing bright yellow rain boots. She picked out the biggest puddles, jumped and made big splashes. Her joyful splashes had everyone laughing and gave me a huge internal smile of joy.
Get a joy buddy and share your joyful experiences. Every day, my wife shares her joy experiences with me through emails or text messages. Whether it's about new friends she meets or the cheery song of the warm red-orange-breasted robin sitting in our garden tree, these short expressions of shared joy fill us both with pure love.
Play. Do you take time just to play? My grandsons have reignited my need for play in my life. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to sit in the grass and just laugh.
How do you celebrate life each day? Consider adding joy practices to your daily diet. This can help you tap into your body-mind-spirit connection and live each day more fully.