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Want to live more joyfully in 2021? Who wouldn’t? Veronica King, owner of Grassroots Yoga & Health, has loaded us up with ways to fill 2021 with happiness.
According to the ancient yogis our true nature is joy, and they even refer to our ‘bliss body’, where we experience unbounded freedom and joyousness. Here are ten ways to cultivate joy right now. And remember - just like learning to drive, the more you practice, the more it becomes second nature.
1 – Take stock and acknowledge where you are and all you have been through. It’s important to see all you have managed to do and achieve in spite of everything that has happened to you. Write a review of your year - I guarantee it will surprise you.
2 – Slow down, breathe deeply, do one thing at a time and feel your way into your day. Where are the pockets of pleasure in your daily routine? What on your calendar excites you? Rushing keeps us stressed and distracted. Practice noticing joyful moments.
3 – Declutter physically, mentally and emotionally. What are you holding onto that no longer feels in alignment with who you want to be? Be willing to let go of things, like people, places and outdated ideas.
4 – Be still. Learn to meditate, find a practice that you love and want to do. I recommend yoga nidra as a deeply relaxing and accessible guided meditation practice. In stillness we can hear our soul speak.
5 – Be in nature, every day. Summer is here and nature is perfect for practicing open eye meditation. Notice and appreciate beauty everywhere.
6 – Move your body to get out of your head. Find a movement practice and routine that lights you up, makes you laugh and that you love to do. If you are feeling stale in your exercise routine find something new to try. 7 – Rest. When our tank is depleted we have to double down on the amount of rest we need. If you have difficulty with sleep, look at your routine before bed. Here are some tips: have at least an hour of no screens before you want to sleep, no caffeine after midday, and limit your alcohol intake. Sometimes there are fundamental physiological imbalances affecting your sleep. If you think this might be the case, get support from a health professional.
8 – Perception is everything: our beliefs determine how we interpret our experiences. The good news is we can change our beliefs. Notice your thoughts, and when you find fearful or dark thoughts arising, try a short phrase like “I see you but I am not you”. Check your language, beliefs and words are interconnected and are reflections of each other. A trusted friend, coach or therapist can help with this.
9 – Play. When did you last do something just for sheer pleasure? Not to achieve or because it’s good for you, but just for fun. Children are masterful teachers of play. Make sandcastles, blow bubbles, play cards, dance, sing, do fun things.
10 – Connect. We need each other, and our interpersonal connections significantly influence our wellbeing. Reach out to others, make dates with friends and family, find connections in your community.
Professor and writer Joseph Campbell famously said “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” Make a commitment to try these ten steps as we head into 2021 and I guarantee you will be more connected to joy, regardless of what next year throws our way.