Psychologist Ken Druck, PhD says joy is a muscle we need to flex. I love that. He writes, “But ‘being in the now’ is easier said than done, right? A lot of us remain mired in the past and fixated on the future. We fail to open our eyes, ears, senses, and hearts to what’s happening right here, right now. The intimacy of a relationship we’re in. The beauty of nature around us. The prosperity we enjoy. Or, on the other hand, we’re wired to go go go; there’s just no PAUSE or STOP buttons built into our software. We are ‘runners,’ moving in ten different directions at once. We’re escape artists, slipping away almost invisibly from the here and now. As a result, we blow right past life’s most precious moments and miss the best parts of the ride!”

Bringing awareness to sensations in the body is helpful for being in the present. And a way to feel joy more deeply and connect it to the body is to find something pleasant in our environment and notice how it feels in our bodies.

You can try this now: Take a minute to let your eyes wander around the room or space you are in. Let them land wherever they want. It could be a sunbeam across the floor, a tree out the window, the color of any object, a picture of a loved one, or your dog at your feet. Really anything that makes you feel even a little better. As you take in this aspect of your environment, bring some attention to your body. How do you notice the pleasure of it in your body? Did you take a nice breath? Settle more into your chair? Do you sense more movement in a part of your body? Where is this bit of joy inside? Noticing and feeling that sensation helps us really anchor it. Then life goes on, and when you remember, try this again…

So, we can consciously take moments during the bustle of the season and savor the joy in this way–the beauty of holiday lights, the taste of traditional foods, the smile of a friend, the excitement of a child, or the stillness of nature in winter.

It’s an ongoing practice…

Best wishes,

Laurie Swanson

Pausing to Experience Joy During the Holidays (and all the time)
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