How Joy Helps Us Heal with Rashmi Schramm, MDFeb 06, 2024
Most of us are socialized to prioritize productivity over our own wellbeing. I’ve found that we can become comfortable distancing ourselves from ease, and certainly joy. And I believe it comes at a high cost to our lives - and our own emotional wellbeing.
Why Talk About Joy?
Joy, to me, is more than a fleeting emotion. In the teachings of yoga, joy is seen as a reflection of our true nature – a profound state of contentment and fulfillment that emanates from within. Yet, in our busy lives, we often find ourselves either blocking this joy or clinging to it out of fear that it might slip away. This resistance to joy can sometimes stem from discomfort or mixed emotions it brings up. It's important to clarify that acknowledging joy isn't about toxic positivity or spiritual bypassing but rather about validating all our emotions and allowing ourselves to fully experience joy when it arises.
The Benefits of Joy
The ripple effects of joy extend far beyond our personal well-being. Joy leads to pro-social behavior and altruism, inspiring a genuine desire to give and help others. It acts as a magnet, attracting and improving relationships, and enhancing community and social bonds. The expansiveness of joy is powerful. In this way, it’s not just an emotion but a catalyst for deeper intrapersonal and interpersonal connection and growth.
Accessing and Nurturing Joy
How, then, do we access and nurture this essential aspect of our being? I’ve got 3 simple ways I nurture joy in my life.
- Meditative practices. Meditation reminds us that we’re naturally aligned with joy, ease and bliss.
- Building trust and safety in our closest relationships creates a foundation for the evolution of joy. Safety must be present for joy and creativity to arise with ease.
- Look for the small, ordinary moments because this is usually how we can connect with joy. It could be as simple as noticing the sun shining on our face, that first cup of coffee in the morning, looking deeply into our dog’s eyes. Anything that invokes a sense of awe and wonder helps us connect with joy. The small things are really never small.
When Joy Feels Unsafe
Yet, what happens when joy feels unsafe, when the very achievement of our desires brings a sense of anticlimax or foreboding? We all know how that feels…we’ve just accomplished something that we set out to do long ago and as soon as it comes to fruition, we begin to feel like “it’s too good to be true” or something similar. And we begin to predict a swift downturn in our lives because of the joy we’re feeling in that moment.
Whew. This can be exhausting. And keep us from truly enjoying our joy and ultimately our lives. One proven way to embrace and cultivate this joy is with the consistent practice of gratitude. Gratitude can ground us and give us the pathway back to the safe experience of our own inner joy. I’ve been leaning into my gratitude practice lately and this has been so powerful for me.
A Journey to Joy
My journey to embracing joy is so very similar to those of my clients. Subconsciously, I realized I was not allowing myself to fully feel and enjoy joy. A poignant example was a moment at a mountain resort, where my kids spontaneously expressed their joy. Initially, it sparked panic within me, a contraction against the expansive feeling of joy. Yet, through awareness and a conscious decision to drop into gratitude, I discovered the enormous strength and peace that comes from embracing joy fully.
As high-achieving women, we might inadvertently push joy away or cling to it out of fear. And really, it is in the full embrace of joy that we can unlock our full potential to heal and help others heal as well.
At our most recent Movement and Meditation Retreat, we practiced allowing and embracing all of our emotions, including the expansion of joy. This truly unlocked so much ease and inner peace. These retreats are not an escape but a deep dive into our very essence. It's like a bolus of healing energy that enriches not just us but everyone around us as well.
I invite you to nurture and embrace all the facets of joy in your life. If our retreat resonates with you, consider joining our VIP waitlist for our fall retreat. We’re exploring and creating spaces for more joy, more ease, more healing as we evolve and grow.
Let's stay connected!