Cultivate Joy

Catching the spirit?

December is so full of joy and laughter and celebrating.  With the twinkling lights and parties and well-wishes and displays, it’s a festive atmosphere, and that’s really lovely.   With such focus on family and holiday traditions, it can also be tough for those missing someone they love or longing for something.  Add in all the extra food, sugar, and alcohol options, and the joy of the season can be overwhelming on so many levels.  If you’re an emotional eater, it gets really tough to maintain balance.  Okay, so it’s hard to maintain food balance during the holiday season no matter what’s going on, so how do we do that?

Focus and diligence can help but perhaps not like we think.  In my 40 years on a diet, every holiday season required every ounce of willpower I had – and I usually failed.  However, when I was diligent about shifting my focus away from food — even healthy eating – and focused on cultivating joy, I got both. 

Ideas for Cultivating Joy: 

Gratitude opens the door.  Focus on what we have.  Take good care of what you’ve been given, those you love, as well as those who challenge you.  Finding ways to be grateful for the hard stuff transforms it.

Giving, especially with no expectation of anything in return.  If you can give anonymously, all the better.  It may be gifts, money, or your time.  Investing in others transforms you.

Kindness to others at every reasonable opportunity.  Kindness is magical as it often transforms the recipient.  Works when you’re kinder to yourself as well, but that may be the harder thing.  Try this:  take note of what you’re doing well or with best intentions and how you’re growing.

Presence can create so much more joy than presents.  When we slow down enough to truly be present with someone, with a feeling, with our own souls, we transform an interaction.  We are more of our true selves in heart, mind, body, and soul, and that’s truly a joyous moment.

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