joyful moment

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”.

~ Marianne Williamson

We humans have a built in default of negative thinking. Its part of our survival mechanism that the ego has reenforced ever since we were little. We are alert to scarcity and threats.

So for many of us, it feels natural to go around looking for what is wrong and criticizing things, other people … Β and of course, ourselves. We may not even be aware of it.

Negativity feels acceptable and normal.
Anything comfortable becomes our preferred state. Even when we feel miserable. After all “better the devil you know … ”

When we are in this state, the idea of positive thinking is likely to be rejected as ridiculous and fake. Remember, this inner critic is our ego wanting to protect that ways things are. Β If we were to be more positive and less fearful, it would lose its power over our thinking and behavior.

Yet, how did our thinking get to be like this? Through continued reinforcement of judgments and habitual thinking.

Neuroscience shows us that we can change our thinking by reenforcing new neural circuits in the brain. With practice, our brains are able to grow and change.
We are not hard wired in our thinking. Just hard headed sometimes!

Here are some ideas to inspire you into shifting your thinking and creating new neural pathways:

  • Instead of looking for what’s wrong. Look for what’s right. For example, write a post it note and keep it with you all day as a reminder. Or catch one of your children or an employee doing something right!
  • As you pause, take a moment to look at something ordinary as something to be grateful for. For example, sitting at the table with your family tonight. Or watching the sun shine through the leaves.
  • Before going to sleep reflect on 3 things that you are grateful for.
  • Keep an achievement journal. Write down everything that you accomplish, including the small stuff. We usually filter out our strengths and accomplishments and focus on our losses and weakness. Balance out your thinking by writing down the good times. You will be surprised.

Recognizing these moments will start to transform your neural pathways into ones that recognize how good things really are.

This is where joy lives.

47 comments on “* Inspiration – Joy

  1. Yes Val, so much of our joy springs from gratitude, and yet sadly true gratitude seems quite rare a condition in the world. Perhaps some feel that expressing gratitude is a wasteful expense of energy, an immaterial inconsequence, or as if it were giving something away rather than enriching their own experience accumulatively, which of course, showing gratitude would powerfully do. H ❀

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like the idea of an achievement journal, I am one of those that do better with the written word reinforcement, it’s good to see it written down and let that reinforce all I have achieved and all I have to be thankful for! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Here’s to rewiring our neural pathways! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  4. And at the risk of being very predictable, learn this crucially important lesson from our dogs. See how happy they are with the smallest amount of love, affection and kindness. Great post, Val.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What a brilliant and affirming post Val. I really appreciate your thoughts on how to rewire our brains — it’s true, as Louise Hay says, It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed.

    And yup — “We are not hard wired in our thinking. Just hard headed sometimes!” Love it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great Post Val!
    All of what you have written is right.
    I have observed it and have practiced it also.
    The neural paths- that’s correct and they keep changing or should I say they become more stronger, sensitive and intellectual.
    I have done one Post today, just check and have fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love the Williamson quote, Val. Since January 1, 2015, I’ve kept a Happiness Journal. Each day I record one thing that I’m happy about. It’s been an amazing experience. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I get so frustrated when the first thing out of someone’s mouth is a criticism of something. Perhaps because it’s election time (when it’s absolutely the worst!) or maybe my tolerance is low but I really enjoy upbeat people a lot. I work hard not to be one of those negative people but sometimes if you are around them too much, you catch it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Our 2015 Gratitude Basket is OVERFLOWING with reminders of all the good things we’ve enjoyed this year . . . and we have 2 months to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for spreading the joy and gratitude Val.


  11. Carol Ferenc

    “Anything comfortable becomes our preferred state. Even when we feel miserable.” Sadly, this is true for way too many people who could otherwise be living with joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love your ideas… like any bad habit, with repetition, negativity can be broken. We just have to keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Gratitude feels so good. I am fortunate to feel it a lot. Negativity feels bad. Hard to understand why people choose that, but like you say….the devil you know.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have become so much more positive about everything than I used to be – it’s a fantastic feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post , Val ! That is so true about making new neural pathways. Thanks for all the tips. Keeping a gratitude journal sounds good.

    I find that the most reliable source of gratitude is when I turn my attention inward and look at consciousness itself. That is the only constant which can never be taken away from me.

    And if I read stories of people who had nearly everything been taken away from them, it seems that the universe wants to direct their attention to just this point. Inward. Looking back at consciousness directly, sort of a U-turn of the focus of attention.

    Appreciating the weather or the flowers is a good starting point for gratitude exercises. But our task remains to remember what we are. Consciousness, connected to Source.

    Finding that unconditional joy and gratitude by looking back at consciousness was a huge aha moment for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So beautifully put Karin. I too find my joy with Source πŸ’›. Like most of my posts this was written with someone in mind… and where they are in life. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  16. As I was reading this I just kept repeating in my head “what is right? what is right?” and hope it goes with me through the day. Thank you Val. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent thoughts here Val.. I can catch myself within this trap often if I do not pull myself up and give myself a good old talk…
    sending love and Joy into your day xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. When my daughter was away at school and going through a rough time, we emailed or texted each other at the end of every day three things for which we were grateful. We both discovered every day, no matter how rough, had at least three things worth noting. It’s a great way to close a day. (Also a nice way to touch base with kids far from home.)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This has two sides to it Val as sometimes it is not wise to not hang onto a situation that is not serving you well. To move away from that situation, you do need to assess the demerits (or negativity) of that situation. This can be difficult for someone (such as me) who has always been an optimist and looked at the brighter side.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. There are many aspects or sides when we recall our own experiences Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing this very real example. This post is about shifting from a negative mindset by recognizing things to be truly grateful for. πŸ’›


  21. I am really fascinated with this post…the concept that we have built in a default of negative thinking is very true, and it can be such a valuable attribute as it pushes us to excel, better ourselves and thus those around us (especially children), but the most important thing in life is finding the joy & inspiration that you talk about. Finding that great balance, where we ‘rewire’ our brain into also understanding that finding to goodness and positive aspects of life can be just as (if not more) valuable. Wonderful post Val!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hey Val! This is a very inspiring post, I have personally tried the strategy of writing down a “success” journal and it turned out to be a very effective way to get into a more positive attitude πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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