How to live a joyful life...

The Joy Principle is a way of living that encourages and cultivates happiness. It's not a belief system and it doesn't require any special rituals or time commitment. It's simple and that's its power.


Overview

  • There are three steps which are designed to train your mind.
  • How long it takes is up to you.
  • How you log your progress is up to you.
  • Once you've trained your mind there's no need to do the three steps again. However, you may need to repeat the steps if you feel joy isn't registering or you're slipping back to your old "joyless" ways.




Step 1. Calibrating your Joy receptors

"Examining what joy is"


Think of the things that bring you joy. For example; spending time with your family or friends (including the family pet), traveling to beautiful locations, achieving a goal after years of hard work or buying the house of your dreams. They will be the obvious and perfectly good examples of moments of joy. Everyone will think of the same or similar things. But life isn't always full of the obvious moments when you would expect to experience joy. Sometimes none of those things are there.

So do you just wait until they return and accept that there are moments, days or even weeks when there is no joy in your life?

No.

You have to learn to see joy in every moment.

It won't be immediately recognisable. It will probably be small and might seem insignificant. The problem is that our joy receptors become desensitized so that only large events of joy register. It's perfectly normal, as we grow the world loses its "newness" and we become subdued and unresponsive to all the joy around us. Society bombards us with superficial definitions of joy through the ever increasing number of channels. Which has in turn created greater unhappiness in our world.

Think about when you were a child, how the simple things would make you happy. You need to be that sensitive to joy again.

Look for joy in the little things, a pleasant word or smile from a stranger, a piece of music on the radio, something special about where you are or even the weather. And these small events can have a cumulative effect. A cup of coffee plus a comfortable chair in a nice location for example, that's joy. Small joyful events can also trigger larger joyful events, a certain smell or the light can remind you of past and present moments of great joy. Which is a feeling many of us have experienced.


Joy points:

  • Widen your description of joy (beware of someone else's definition)
  • Joy is in the little things as well
  • Little joy can make big joy




Step 2. Identifying the joy in your life

Imagine every part of your life in front of you. Now imagine pushing away or removing all the things that don't bring you joy. Once that's done ask yourself why the things that are left bring you joy (this is one of the reasons why we calibrate our joy receptors). The answers are the foundation of your happiness, attitude, priorities and your strength, I would even go as far as to say, your very existence.

Make a Joy list as you go through the process. Ideally you should carry it around with you. The list will evolve as you begin to examine and become more aware of joy.

Take your time.

Keep adding to the list (it may even become a log of Joy rather than a list).


Joy points:

  • Recognise and reinforce the joy in your life
  • Build on your Joyful foundations
  • If you can, remove those parts in your life that don't bring you joy *

*If you can't remove the parts that don't bring you joy, see the next step.





Step 3. Prepare for joy each day

Each day will bring you joy, both expected and unexpected. Every morning you should tell yourself "there will be joy in this day". The trick is to be ready for it and to recognise it when it happens.

Equally; You could be the joy and your family, friends, colleagues and strangers the recipients.


Joy points:

  • Tell yourself "There will be Joy in this day"
  • Be present and look for Joy in every aspect of the moment
  • It's up to you to be the Joy if there is none
  • Be generous with Joy


That's the three steps of The Joy Principle, simple, positive and you're in control. You can now take it further...





Your Joy Bank

Once you become aware of the joy in your life it will register in your memory. Not just the physical details, but your emotional state. It's not a thing you have to work at directly, although you can choose to do something that you know will charge your Joy Bank. However, being joyful is a continuous state, don't think you could just do something once a week to charge your Joy Bank and that will sustain you till the next time. That will not work, in fact it's the archetypal cycle of "endure and replenish" which is not a good way to live and not what The Joy Principle is about.





Using Joy as protection (your Joy Shield)

Now you've established what joy is and you should be seeing more joy in your life. Living each day full of joy is all any of us really want. But there are times when life throws something at you where there is no joy no matter how hard you look.This is when you need your joy shield.

The technique is simply recalling the past joy in your life to counter whatever negative thing is happening.

When someone dies we often say "remember the good times". So the "Joy Shield" technique is something we are all familiar with.

If you've learn't to see more joy in your life and your Joy bank is fully charged then your Joy Shield will be very powerful.

To use your Joy Shield focus on the emotions of the joyful moments you call on as well as the physical details. The physical details might just be a trigger, what's important is that you feel the joy. Remember you might forget a name, but you never forget Joy.The great thing is that joy is not affected by time. Past joy won't be less effective than current joy or potential future joy.

You can use physical objects to trigger joyful memories. I use a stone with the Runic symbol for joy on it. It was given to me by my son which means it's already infused with joy.

Joy points:

  • Learn how to access Joy embedded in you memories
  • Use a trigger like the Rune "Joy" stone




The positive effects of a Joyful existence

"See Joy in your life and you'll be happier, stronger and a better person to be around"

Once you become tuned to the joy in your life you will naturally be more positive. In turn your positivity will affect the people around you. People will enjoy your company because you're positive and your joyful outlook might make them more joyful too.The simple fact that you tell yourself each morning that there will be joy in the day means that you can predict that there will be joy tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. As a consequence you now have a joyful and positive outlook and the most important part is that it's all down to YOU!


Joy points:

  • Being Joyful is infectious
  • Engage with other Joyful people (Joy Buddies)
  • Consciously connect with family, friends and strangers to give Joy
  • Know that your future will be Joyful




That's it. You now know how to live a more joyful life and the best thing is that you are in complete control.


Be Joy!