I am talking about Joy, not the odd smile at a meme or a distracted view of the world through a social media scroll, but JOY! The moments that make your heart smile, the people that feel like the sunshine you could bottle up and sprinkle everywhere. I ended an article or 2 back about eating cake and living your life to the fullest, but it is tougher than it seems. There are the daily chores, traffic, sleep schedules, homework, work, exercise, food, pets, bonds, all of it on the inside. Externally we are dealing with a virus on the proportion of a biblical plague, anxiety is so thick in the air it would knock an empath to their knees in tears. The world is upside down and I am on about Joy. So why steal it and what does stealing it actually mean?

Purposefully look for it and then put it into your “joy box” for later. A Joy box is that thing inside of you reserved for times of sadness that you can go in and open and find those memories of Joy that you stole from this otherwise dreary existence and preserved it like a fine wine or pickled vegetables.

Think about your favourite food; what did it taste like? who were you with? what was the place like? The smell? There you go, you have just opened your Joy box and found something you purposefully stole and put inside for YOU, a gift if you will.

We talk a lot about being in the present moment at The Change Lab and this is great when you need to get out of the past (depression) or the future (anxiety) but joy, bliss, happiness, elation, delight and pleasure are things you have to go out and steal.

Be abrasive about it and selfish with it once you have it. Catch yourself singing a song you love, beat that steering wheel in traffic while you pull off a Grammy award winning performance, make time to stop and literally breath and be mindful of the joy you are stealing. Do all the cheesy stuff like look at clouds and notice nature- Joy is there. Then level up the joy and find a friend who makes you laugh so hard you lose consciousness for a second and must make a bathroom run. Look for the people who exude it, the ones you call your tribe, even those you do not, make new friends do new things and have it all stolen it its yours JOY.

Then, once you have it, wrap it up in your joy box and keep it because trust me, you will need to open it up from time to time like a jar of fireflies and let it light up your path when you need it. STEAL THE JOY!

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are ready to go out and steal the Joy:

1.     I speak to myself as if I am my own best friend

2.     I trust the decisions I make are for my highest and best good

3.     I take time to nourish myself (mind, body, spirit)

4.     I have little debt and more savings

5.     I exercise at least 4 times per week

6.     I eat a healthy diet at least 80% of the time

7.     I love the work I do and am fulfilled at least 80% of the time

8.     I know how to cope with stress and recognise my triggers

9.     I feel optimistic and successful most of the time

10.  I can say no without feeling guilty

11.  I have a group of more that 2 friends who I can confide in and mirror my strengths and I can ask for help when I am struggling

It takes courage, to turn your back on the shore of a luring promise, the safe land of strain and sacrifice, leading you astray on an empty quest. But the place that you seek is a sea of delight, and only a joyful heart will make port in the haven of happiness – Nina Heyen

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