It is finally fall in this neck of the woods—the temperatures have cooled and the leaves are turning orange and golden. As much as I love autumn, I’m a little sad because it wraps up our Summer of Feeling Better series.
So, to save the best for last, today we are going to talk about happiness and joy—two gifts that we forget to give ourselves. During the past few months, we’ve conquered a range of emotions that can keep us from getting our lives back and moving on. Today, we’ll cap off this exploration with learning how to embrace joy and happiness. It may seem difficult, especially when you knee-deep in drama, or are struggling with moving on, but it’s easier than you think. Let’s see how!
When are navigating the minefield that is divorce it is easy to feel overwhelmed, when this happens, remember to ask yourself the following questions…
What is yours and yours alone that nobody can take from you?
Answering this question establishes the solid foundation for celebrating what is good in your life. This answer can be simple—in fact, it’s a lot simpler than you think. Some of my answers, especially during the shittiest times of my divorce, included:
-Coming home to a clean house—everything just how I left it.
-The feeling that although I am no longer married, at least I am not in a toxic, unhealthy relationship anymore.
-Knowing that my dogs would always greet me with a wagging tail and sloppy kiss.
Those simple things are ones we usually take for granted, but when you are mindful to the love and beauty that actually surrounds you, just waiting to be acknowledged, you will see dozens of things to be happy about that are right in front of you.
What sources of joy do you see in your life?
Happiness and joy aren’t hard to find—a source can be a simple as your clean apartment or house. Image via RoomSearch
What are the things in your life you have overlooked but are worth celebrating?
We have this unfair expectation that only huge milestones in our lives are worth celebrating. But what about the day-in/day-out struggles that we endure?
We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things we have accomplished, especially as we learn to move on after divorce. Every day that you take control of your life, every day that you learn a little more about managing money and re-entering the work force, every day that you get a little bit stronger and take care of yourself and put yourself first and realize that you are worthy of getting your confidence back and reclaiming your life is something you should celebrate.
So, what things will you start to celebrate? I’ve listed a few of my own!
-I choose to celebrate that I am no longer in a relationship that was unhealthy for me.
-I will celebrate that I am a survivor. I got through this, and now I know I can get through anything.
How about you?
You have accomplished so much. What will you celebrate? Image via Meetup.com.
Exercise: The one simple step to find your joy today
If you are still having trouble with trying to identify things that bring you joy, don’t worry! This exercise has you covered.
Finding joy in your life is the most important step to learning how to heal and move `on. It is also the easiest but most critical component of taking care of yourself as you recover for your divorce.
When the world still seems like a shitshow, or when you are angry over something that happened today, or you saw something or heard something that triggered you into feeling resentful of grief-stricken, you must do this one thing.
Write down 5 things that you are grateful for.
These things do not have to be extravagant. In fact, the simplest of things are usually the best, because they remind us that we are still alive and that we will be okay. Need some inspiration? Take a look at last night’s entry into my own notebook.
Finding joy can be simple. Putting it into writing establishes a pattern of happiness for yourself. Image via author.
Do this exercise tonight.
I prefer doing this as I am getting ready for bed. After I finish the night rituals but still have a few minutes before I know that I am going to zonk out is when I write these things. It doesn’t really matter when you do it exactly, but I find that doing it at the end of the day is the best way to get closure on any nonsense that has gotten in my space, as well as celebrating any good things that have come may way, too.
Make it as easy as possible for yourself.
I keep a medium-sized notebook with a pen on my nightstand, next to my alarm clock. That way, I will see it every night. Get a beautiful or as simple of a notebook as you want—some people get super-fancy and call them Gratitude Journals. I just call it a lifeline to joy.
A simple habit can change your outlook.
This is not a just-one-and-done thing, however. You must make this a habit in order for it to work. Some studies show that it takes 21 days of practice to make something a habit, but you will start to notice the change in your outlook in in 3 days of writing down.
You may also see patterns of things for which are grateful—things that appear in your notebook regularly. It’s not a coincidence. It’s a sign that these are the things in your life that bring you joy, and these are the things you should celebrate. These are the things that, when you are feeling pissed off or bitter or lonely, have the power to center you again and remind you that you have control of your life, that you are strong, and that regardless of where you have been, you will get your life and happiness back.
What are you thankful for? And what brings you joy? And what will you do today to start celebrating this joy?