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AWARE Ink Newsletter


Three Ways To Build Your Path Of Happiness And Joy

The holiday season is upon us. This time of year, people either seem to love it or loath it.

Have you seen the movie, The Grinch with comedian Jim Carrey? The movie portrays a somewhat unsavory character, who deep down in his heart, has a deep love for Christmas, just like every Who in Whoville.

However, one Christmas when the Grinch was a kid, the happiness and joy he felt for it was spoiled. For many years, he convinced himself to hate Christmas and all the Whos in the tiny village.

Perhaps you recall his struggle to move from his negativity toward Christmas and all of the people in Whoville? It took a big change of heart for the Grinch to find the love, happiness and joy he once felt for his favorite holiday years later.

From Negativity to Positivity

Whether it’s Christmas or any time of the year, in real life, people have a tendency to focus on the negative. It’s built into our DNA to first look for danger before feeling a sense of safety. When you feel that something is missing or something is wrong, your mind may be consumed with your problems.

It takes an intentional shift to change this habit and turn toward happiness and joy. When you practice shifting from negativity to positivity, you’re building pathways in your brain that help you find positive feelings more easily.

Here are a few ways you can mindfully start swinging your body, mind and heart from negative to positive:

Practice movement – You can shift your mind with a bout of physical activity. Go for a walk or run, practice yoga or chi gong, or simply smile. The endorphins produced with these activities release neurotransmitters that produce happiness and joy in your brain.

Practice gratitude – When you notice negativity creeping in, bring to mind something or someone you are grateful for. Say thank you until you feel the pleasantness of gratitude. Pause and savor this positive present moment experience, letting it fill your entire body all the way down into your cells.

Practice loving kindness – Loving kindness is practiced by thinking about a person, pet, group of people or friends and sending them kind thoughts. In your mind, you may wish them happiness, health, peace or any other kindness that feels good. Like practicing gratitude, allow for the warm feelings toward others to become intense and sink into your body. Place your hand on your heart to strengthen this experience. By allowing for it to expand in your body, you continue to build neurons in your brain that support happiness and joy.

The End Goal

Throughout the movie, the Grinch definitely had the opportunity to experience and build happiness and joy. He was included as cheermeister for holiday festivities and began to find a sense of love for himself and others. In this make-believe scenario, we’re left with the impression that the Grinch lives happily ever after. We really hope that he does!

In the real world, however, it’s important for everyone (including the Grinch) to practice cultivating happiness and joy every day. Hopefully, the Grinch will of course continue to work to shift his mind from negativity to positivity. Using the lift of his renewed Christmas spirit, for the years to come, the Grinch can think about and embody all of the wonderful experiences he had coming back to his old love.

Happy holidays everyone!

To learn more about creating happiness and joy within yourself, check out these videos by Tara Brach and Rick Hanson.

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