How to Find Joy with Vision

vision-board

Find Joy with Vision Board

This is the second of six posts on Joy for this Christmas season.

“Joy to the World” is the message for the season we celebrate every December. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure. Joy is a stronger less common feeling than happiness.

“Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are, and who you are not. When you need nothing more than your truth and the love of a good God to bring peace, then you have settled into the abiding joy that is not rocked by relationships. It’s not rocked by anything.” Psychology Today, Sandra L. Brown, M.A., CEO of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education

You can have joy even when you are unhappy.

  • You can have joy in the midst of grief. Grief makes you unhappy.
  • You can have joy when you have the flu. Being sick makes you unhappy.
  • You can have joy while in pain, even though the sensations don’t make you happy.

How do you find joy?

I’ve been fascinated since I was young (a long time ago) by how our thoughts affect our bodies and our lives.

Professor Barbara Fredrickson is a social psychologist from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and has been a researcher in human emotions for the past 25 years. She says that positivity is the mindset that helps produce emotions such as joy, amusement, happiness, serenity, gratitude and inspiration. “I think of positive emotions as nutrients. In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves.” Lynne Malcolm

For those who think: Well, that’s just not me. I have no control over my temperament. Let me share a personal experience.

When I was in labor with my first child for twelve hours I must have self-hypnotized, or so I’ve been told. I used Lamaze breathing techniques and I had focal point that we taped to the bed rails. I can still “see” the flower with the hexagon centers. That was my first personal experience with just how powerful our thoughts are. I only register pain once and that was after they forced me to take medication.

You can use a favorite photo to give you joy by placing it so that you see it first thing every morning and the last thing as you drift off to sleep every night.

Finding your joy is an inside job. You can do this. However, without a focus you may find yourself, as many of us do, according to Martha Beck, “Hooked on a Feeling.” Oprah Magazine November 2016. She says, “Humans wallow in emotional acid and ruminate on the bitterest moments of our lives.” She lists ways to know you are inviting damaging thoughts in:

  • You can feel mildly peevish or gloomy, then brood until your feelings intensify into fury or depression.
  • The agony feels perversely comfortable, like a pair of well-worn sweatpants.
  • Your loved ones glaze over when you talk about your problems.

I have an idea for you. I’ve done this myself and it intrigues and amazes me how much better I feel afterwards. Create a vision board. Here is how to do this simple project that you may repeat as often as you like.

  1. Gather the magazines that you have around the house or buy a few.
  2. As you flip through them cut out pictures that appeal to you, that make you feel good, and that show a way you want to be.
  3. Using a glue stick (because they are easy to manage) arrange the pictures into a collage on a small poster board.
  4. Put it in a prominent place so that you will see frequently.

This is one way to use a visual to shift your thinking and find your joy.

I have one that I can see as I type this. I made it years ago. I think I’ll go make another one with the many magazines collecting dust around here.

Let me know how this works for you. I can’t wait to hear.

Gail in purple speaking with hand gesturesI hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. I am a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy.
I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother.
In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving, published in July 2015, is available for purchase on CreateSpace, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online.

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