This year has posed continuous challenges on many levels. From a global pandemic to raging wildfires and smoke-filled skies, many people’s lifestyles have been significantly affected. The nature and availability of numerous activities have been in a continuous state of change. This can create a significant challenge if personal wellness is dependent on partaking in certain specific events.
Joy can be experienced in a number of ways. Whether it be social events, travel, sports, music, art, nature, food, or endless other potential avenues, engaging in our favorite activities is a wonderful way of experiencing joy. When we find ourselves in those moments of bliss doing what we love, the accompanying sense of happiness is wonderful to experience. The challenge occurs when that feeling becomes dependent upon a certain activity, event, or circumstance, which puts our well-being in jeopardy if those fundamental factors change or become unavailable.
Several potential sources of joy have recently shifted significantly, or are no longer accessible. While this situation is difficult to navigate, it creates a wonderful opportunity to discover the true source of joy, which ultimately comes from within. Humans have the incredible ability to self-regulate their internal state independent of various external factors. Generating positive emotions from within prevents them from being threatened by changes in the external environment.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t create and seize opportunities to indulge in what fuels our happiness. When those moments arise, we should absolutely experience them to their fullest, and truly feel the associated positive emotions. It’s also important to not suppress any negative emotions that arise while facing challenging changes, but to feel and acknowledge them appropriately before moving on. The key piece to being mindful is not becoming dependent on any one experience to feel a certain way, but to cultivate the ability to generate it on a personal level, independent of external factors.