Episode 079: What Steals Joy…and How to Get It Back

In this third episode about starting your 2.x life with joy, we’re looking at 5 joy-stealers, as well as ways to prevent joy from eroding out from under you.  And if you find your joy bank account running low, this episode will help you make deposits to get the balance healthy again.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks
Feature Segment – Life 2.x: What Steals Joy?

Today’s Quote

Comparison is an act of violence against the self.  — Iyanla Vanzant

Rhythm of Life – Five, Six, Pick up Sticks

About 3 weeks ago, we had a terrible storm with close to hurricane force winds and heavy rain.  My entire town was without power for 2 days.  After it ended, I didn’t have time to pick up the yard for a while.  And I needed to do my final leaf clean-up.  Before I could mow up the leaves, I needed to pick up the branches and sticks.

It all started well.  I moved quickly through the large branches, and was feeling pretty good about myself and my progress.

And then it wasn’t.  TONS of smaller sticks were in the same area.  I hadn’t noticed them before because they were under the larger stuff.  And now there they were – small, but not small enough to mow up.  It took me more than 3 hours to clean up what was maybe 20% of my yard.

As I worked, I realized this was an analogy for life.  How often do we start things that go well in the beginning?  We go at it with gusto, and make a lot of progress.

And then the “little” stuff seems to take forever. We wonder if it will ever get done.

Building a house is like that.
Technology projects are like that.
Losing weight is like that.
Grief is like that.

Do you have something in your life right now like those sticks?  Where you started strong, made huge progress quickly, and now you see how much you still have to do?  How far you still have to go to the finish line?

Here’s some advice from my stick-removal operation:

  1. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t look at rest of yard.
  2. Be fully present with what you’re doing right now and enjoy it. I was getting frustrated and annoyed.  Once I relaxed into it, I actually enjoyed myself…even with the cold weather.
  3. Celebrate small wins. Each time I dumped a wheelbarrow full of sticks in the woods, I celebrated that I was one step closer to completion.
  4. Define done. In Episode 077 we talked about that, so you might want to go back and listen.  When a task feels overwhelming, you might want to clearly define “done”.  You may even want to have interim “dones”.

You can do it.  It’s not impossible – it just takes time.  You can always rest, recover, go back out there.  That’s what I did.  I went in to warm up my hands.  Drink some water.  Then I put my gloves back on, walked outside, pushed my wheelbarrow, and went back at it.

You can do it.  Five, six, pick up sticks.

If you have a project like that right now, how about sharing in the Comments?  It might just be the encouragement you need to keep going.  You can do this!

Feature Segment – Life 2.x: What Steals Joy?

This is the fourth episode in mini-series called Life 2.x.  How to live the next chapter of your life or career, and experiment as you go.

In Episode 076, we explored 3 reasons to start with joy – resilience, contagious, success.

In Episode 077, we saw that 3Gs help you practice joy: Grace, Gratitude, and Grins & Giggles.

And in Episode 078, we explored how to measure your life – by the people you touch.

And now here we are, right after the US Thanksgiving.  It’s appropriate that we’ve been talking about joy during this season.

Sometimes we just don’t feel it though.  Sometimes joy eludes us.  Our joy bank account gets depleted.

Why?  What happens?  There are 5 joy-robbers that can erode your joy.  On this episode, we explore what they are, and how to prevent them from stealing your joy.

  1. Negative habits

A perfect example of this is George in Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus.  I also mentioned him in Episode 076.

What’s the antidote?  Employ the 3 Joy Practices we discussed in Episode 077: Gratitude, Grace, Grins and Giggles.

  1. Comparison

External – comparison to others

Internal – comparison to expectations

Both are toxic, even if you compare yourself favorably.

What’s the antidote?  Pause.  Practice positive affirmations.  Or what Jewel called “antidote thoughts” (see Episode 076 for more on that).

  1. Physical Stress – inflammation, inactivity, illness

What happens to your body affects your mind and vice versa.  It takes a lot of effort and discipline for your mind to compensate for extreme pain.  It’s best to prevent it if at all possible.

What’s the antidote?  Eat whole unprocessed foods.  Move your body more.  Get plenty of sleep.  Practice meditation or yoga.

  1. Shame

The feeling that you are intrinsically lacking.  Not enough.  Not worthy.  Though it manifests itself differently in men versus women, the underlying feeling is the same.

What’s the antidote?  Recognize it for what it is.  Pause.  Give yourself time to get over it before you do or any anything you might later regret.

  1. Pleasure

An overload of kindling makes a very hot fire that burns out almost immediately.  The same is true of pleasure.  Joy never has a chance.

What’s the antidote?  Reduce dependence on pleasure in a gradual way.  Understand the importance of some pleasure.  Substitute healthy pleasures.

If you find your joy bank account low, try one of the antidotes.  You’ll see that bank account go back to a healthy balance.  If you’d like some company along the way, send me a note to kathleen@kathleenannthompson.com or leave a comment.  After all – joy loves company!

 

 

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