There was a point in my life where I felt my joy lived in another state. So I traveled and traveled until I had no more travel in me.
Years later and completely broke, I was exactly where I began. Everything seemed so gray and full of funk, so I did what I knew best: I ran.
First I settled in my hometown of Saint Louis, vowing to stay put. I found my place in the corporate hum bum, and I got carjacked. It seemed I couldn’t catch a break.
Once again, with my girls in tow and pieces of my life stacked neatly in a cardboard box, I returned to Washington state to patch my life together. Confused and broken, I could think of a million reasons to be sad, but I opted to thank GOD for the opportunity to see my daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years.
More importantly, I expressed my gratitude for being able to embrace my children another day. I let my gratitude carry me through some tough times. Little did I know, there was more to come.
The person my children and I had been staying with decided it was time for us to go. I packed my girls up in the middle of the night and proceeded on a six-month journey from place to place. Eventually, after months of tears, prayers and faith, my family and I were invited to stay in an intimate shelter with five other families. Relieved that my family and I had a stable and safe place to sleep, I decided to dismiss my stress and focus on raising my vibration by finding the joy in my adversity.
Here are the five techniques I used to find my joy:
1. Drop the stress.
Stressing about something you can't immediately change will only make matters worse. When I felt overwhelmed, I made a list of my top three stressors and how they made me feel. Each time I felt one of the emotions, I didn’t ignore it; I asked it how I could help it go away. This technique helped me relieve the tension I felt in my chest and free my heart from the disappointment I felt.
2. Get outside.
Getting outside is a great way to reduce tension. When I felt fed up, I made it my business to enjoy nature. Whether by taking a walk, sitting in the grass, talking to someone or enjoying the sounds of the community, it made me feel better to experience something other than my situation. Most times I met a friendly face that unknowingly offered me encouragement. It's proof that spirit always gives you what you need!
Laughter is a simple way to enjoy the small things in life. To lift my spirits, I watched funny movies and let my laughter rip. Laughter not only makes you feel good, it has health benefits too! Laughing boosts your immune system, relaxes the body, increase endorphins (the feel good hormone) and protects the heart.
4. Wear happy colors.
Most times when we're sad we whip out colors that represent our mood (usually blacks or other dark colors). When you feel yourself entering that dark place, opt to wear colors that make you feel good. Colors like orange, yellow, blue, pink or purple relax the mind, body and spirit and create a positive effect on your emotional state.
5. Eat foods that increase feelings joy.
When going through a tough time, most people feed their bodies starchy foods that are high in sugar and salt. Although they may taste good for the moment, these foods could have negative side effects, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, migraines and diabetes. The key to eliminating stress is eating a well-balanced diet full of foods that aid in increasing positive mood. Foods like salmon, dark chocolate, spinach, avocado and some berries contain vitamins that assist the body in feeling happy.