Recognising (and following) joy

Most of the time, I like to think I’m pretty good at recognising what makes me happy and joyful in life. I have certain activities that I know make me smile, but recently a sense of absolute pure joy crept up on me and caught me a little off-guard.

In my day job I help to run a wellness initiative which involves running workshops and making PDFs on certain subjects, and the latest subject we’re looking at is self-care.

Now of course, I knew I would love writing the content for the PDF – this is my JAM.

But I was surprised about the part of the process I was most enthusiastic about… designing the PDF. All the content was written, now it was time to make it look pretty. As I opened up Canva and got stuck in, I realised that I had a slightly ridiculous grin on my face, not unlike this 👇

FXT10201 - Kat Nicholls

Photography | Elle Narbrook

The only way I can describe it is ‘joyful’. In that moment, doing that task, I felt pure joy and satisfaction. I’ve always considered myself quite a visual person (hence my love of Instagram) but I don’t think I’d quite realised how much I loved the ‘designing’ aspect of what I do, in my day job and in my blog/coaching work.

It made me think about how easy it can be for us to let these moments of joy slip past us. Or how easy it can be for us to bat it away in favour of something we think we ‘should’ be doing instead.

Recognising what brings us joy is a skill… oh wow am I resisting the urge to quote Marie Kondo here! (but hey, she knows a few things about sparking joy).

For me though, it’s about cultivating a stronger sense of awareness and mindfulness so we can catch those moments. Here are a few ways to help with this:

  • Start a mindfulness practice (meditation, yoga, going for walks)
  • Identify what ‘joy’ feels like to you – how does it look, smell, taste, feel?
  • Start a journaling practice and ask yourself at the end of every day “what brought me joy today?”

After some time, hopefully you’ll improve your awareness and feel better able to both recognise and acknowledge joy when it’s staring you in the face. Sometimes I think as a society we’ve become a little too adept at numbing our emotions, using tools like social media to distract us from our own feelings – instead choosing to get lost in other people’s.

But that’s probably a whole other blog… I guess what I’m saying is try to regain a connection with yourself and recognising joy will come easier.

And once you’ve recognised it? Follow it. Think of ways you can bring more of those activities into your life. Make space for them where possible. And if it’s not possible right now? Make plans to make space when you can.

I’m going to continue feeling joyful in the PDF designs I make for my newsletter subscribers and for my coaching clients. I’m going to follow this passion and play with it, see where it takes me.

Before I go I want to highlight that this idea of recognising joy and following it, isn’t always easy. In fact, for those with mental health conditions like depression, it’s near-impossible. So please don’t read this and feel bad if right now, recognising joy is difficult – you’re not alone.

Remember that your capability to recognise and follow joy is still in there, you just may need further support to tap back into it.

And for those looking for gentle encouragement in all things self-awareness and self-belief, I highly recommend joining my Facebook group, Worthy Humans Unite. Earlier this week I did a live training about calming a busy mind (still available to watch in the group) and I’m always sharing tips, articles and exercises to help build self-awareness.

Now, tell me (because I’m nosey) what was the last thing you did that made you feel joyful?

*Sign up to the Blue Jay Monthly Musings newsletter*

*Join the Worthy Humans Unite Facebook group*

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Recognising (and following) joy

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