Why do we worry when we feel joy? It's a normal response but can become a habit that leads to chronic stress. The three steps in this article give you a whole-person approach to replacing that habit with one that cures chronic stress and lets you enjoy more of the sweet moments of life.
1. Know why you worry about joy
When everything is going well, do you worry something bad will happen? Congrats, you are normal. As explained by researcher Brene Brown, PhD in the video below, most of us have this built-in strategy of protection.
Her research shows that people who can feel joy are the people who respond to that "oh no, something bad is going to happen" moment with gratitude. It's not that the thought doesn't happen for them, it's that they use it as a reminder to be grateful for the small joyful moments.
2. "Just Feel It" for both worry and joy
The Nike saying "Just Do It" is for athletes who need to push through pain or fatigue to win. You and I, who just want to be healthy and well, need to "Just Feel It".
The ability to be present to what is happening in your body is a foundational skill for being well and healthy. When you keep your attention in your body, especially when stress-producing thoughts arise, you are able to choose the path out of stress and back to being well.
What I have found is the biggest barrier to this is the way we push through signals like pain, hunger, and fatigue in order to be healthy. This is practicing being disembodied. In the video below, I share the first step to restoring the ability to 'be'. By cultural fitness standards, it may not look like it's worth your time, but take the challenge to "just feel it".
3. Clear stress, feel joy
Every time you have that "oh no, something bad is going to happen" thought, your body gets ready to move. Even if the thought is fleeting, the response in your body sticks around.
Each thought accumulates tension that drains energy and blocks feelings like joy. The thought and the response in your body are not a problem. It's how you are designed to thrive.
As I share in the video below, the way to be ready for joy is to have a daily habit of taking mindful movement moments. It is the whole-person cleanse that prevents stress build-up so you are ready to experience the healing and restorative power of joy. Feel the difference of a whole-person approach to having less stress and more joy with the guided meditation below.
If moving is painful or stressful, start Exercising Well
When moving your body is limited by pain, stress, or low motivation, it’s time for a whole-person approach to exercising. Exercising Well provides a simple online science-based program that takes you step by step through moving to feel better now.