Why Seeking Joy Should Be Part Of Your Spiritual Practice
With all the conflict, suffering, and healing work that needs to be done in the world today, it's tempting to undervalue joy. In the spiritual community, there is a lot of emphasis on working to improve yourself and society at large. This healing work is hugely important—but it can also sound tiring and intimidating.
One way we can nourish our souls so we can best serve others is by emphasizing joy. I don't see joy as a break in the battle but a powerful healing force of its own. Here are tips for bringing more joy to yourself and the world:
1. Know that joy is a dynamic change agent.
At times we don't feel like we can do much to shift some of the outer circumstances in our lives. Maybe getting a new job isn't so easy right now, or speeding up your recovery process after a significant injury is not an option. The guides I work with during intuitive readings for clients have told me that when humans feel limited by the action steps they can take to promote change, they can always work on changing their energy. Joy is a very open, welcoming energy, and adopting it could shift the way you approach a challenge and even some of the energy (including people and opportunities) that's drawn to you.
2. Understand that joy doesn't have to come from or begin with you.
If you have felt sad, pessimistic, or emotionally exhausted lately, you can piggyback off of someone else's joy. It's like when the battery on your car is low and you get a jump from another car. Try watching a feel-good movie, reading a funny memoir, playing with a child or an animal, calling a friend and asking about their good news, or finding out how angels can help shift your mood and change your energy in my book Angel Intuition.
3. Get to know what personally brings you joy.
Take yourself out on a date to your favorite bookstore, lunch spot, or nature walk—or indulge in a day of all three. Maybe organizing the house brings you joy. Does getting lost in a creative project or cooking your favorite meal to share with a friend, roommate, or partner bring you joy? Get curious about yourself and joy.
4. Remind yourself that daily moments of joy are essential.
If you keep a weekly or daily to-do list, put joy on it. Think of it as a necessity—like a sustaining meal for your soul. Joy helps you get through all the challenging things that come your way and keeps you filled up so you can give more to others.
Schedule time on Saturday to go to the store to buy your favorite healthy and yummy ingredients to make salads for the week. Get up early before work to have a coffee date with your partner or sit in your favorite park. If you are feeling empty and disconnected, set aside time every week or month to volunteer in your community—bringing joy to others will fill you with joy too.
5. Bring joy to others to show them what is magical about life and the human spirit.
You might have a dog you've had trained and certified to bring into the children's wing of a hospital to spread joy, or you could have a friend who's been struggling emotionally after a big breakup so you send her a pretty card with a long, loving note inside to bring her joy. When people are going through difficult times, putting a smile on their face can be one of the most important things you do for them.
6. Accept that joy is a spiritual path.
Don't get me wrong: Sacrifice is an important spiritual concept to embrace and make peace with. But we were never meant to sacrifice or deny ourselves joy. As spiritual beings, it's part of what we came to earth to experience. If you think you have old cultural, religious, or familial programming around the value of unnecessary suffering, work with a mantra like: It is safe and healing for me to experience joy.
7. Admit to yourself and others if finding joy is hard.
Having difficulty getting into a joyful state is natural. This could happen if you experienced a recent trauma or subconsciously believe you do not deserve joy. If depression or anxiety are taking over and edging joy out, talk to understanding loved ones and seek out the help of health care providers and counselors to determine what the underlying physical, emotional, and circumstantial causes might be.
8. Learn to experience big joy in small things.
Cue up your favorite album to listen to while you clean the kitchen. When a child in line at a store waves at you, smile and wave back. Joy is often found when you can be more present in the moment to pleasurable things and savor them. Slow down and savor a small, sweet moment.
9. Ask yourself if you have any subconscious blocks around joy.
If you have been denying yourself joy lately, is there any hidden meaning behind this trend? It can be a way to punish yourself or a sign you've not been valuing yourself enough lately. Remember that childhoods count as "past lives" too! Was pleasure and joy denied or discouraged in your home? What were you taught about pleasure as a child? Make your own rules about joy and its significance now that you're an adult.
Tanya Carroll Richardson is a professional intuitive who has given readings to thousands of clients all over the world. She’s the author of nine nonfiction books including Empath Heart, Angel Intuition, Are You an Earth Angel?, and Self-Care for Empaths. Tanya has an annual calendar, A Year of Self-Love, and two oracle decks, Awakening Intuition and Grief, Grace, and Healing.