Joy: a sense of elation and ‘deep abiding’, a much deeper experience than happiness.
Is this important to you?
How can you activate yours?
How can you maintain it?
Joy energises our life and gives us a sense of purpose. It is important for its own sake but also because it activates qualities like acceptance, peace and connection, as well as resilience and presence of mind.
It has the potential to give us ‘lasting happiness in a changing world’.
In Integrative Medicine, joy is a recognised promoter of health and wellbeing.
Psychology shows how it contributes to our mental health.
In cancer care it is recognised as life-affirming.
In business, it is valued for its resilience and mindfulness qualities.
In brief, joy is recognised as an important contributor to a healthy, happy and fufilled life.
(‘The Joy Conference‘, Bristol 26th October, combines all these threads, and more.)
Laughter yoga can activate joy. It can be used to focus on joyfulness, and an excellent way to achieve this is to practice celebrating, especially celebrating being alive. The sense of elation and aliveness that accompanies this celebration automatically activates our sense of joy.
Simple celebration steps include smiling and laughter.
The practice of smiling is now a well recognised method of improving our mood. There have been many studies that demonstrate this beyond all doubt, including those done by Professor Frach and associates in 1988 with the pencil in the teeth study.
So, step 1 is to practice smiling more.
Self-initiated laughter is another good step. Children constantly laugh like this, just because. Adults can learn how to to do this again, particularly when using laughter as yoga. Although laughter yoga can be a group activity (which taps into the contagiousness of laughter), it is also a solo activity – laughing, just because. When we use this yogic approach, we learn to experience all the benefits of laughter whenever we choose.
A third step is to experience how we embody this.
The studies into body-mind communication show how we can alter our mood and mindset through embodiment and posture. We can celebrate more by adopting a celebrating posture.
The combined effect of these simple steps includes activating our joyfulness and bringing all its benefits into our life.
Here is more information about Laughter yoga