joy and anxiety…

During these last few months of the year, one of the main themes I’m blogging about is my journey with joy.

But I have to admit it’s hard sometimes for me to connect with joy because there are times when anxiety – and outright fear – get in the way.

My struggle with anxiety is actually what made me realize, several years ago, how very important it is for me to connect with joy… and how I need to be intentional about it. Because otherwise the anxiety and fear and grief and worry and other not-so-great-feeling things can be so much at the forefront that joy isn’t noticed (and maybe especially those small moments of joy that can pass us by before we catch them).

This isn’t about ignoring reality and pretending things are great when they’re not. It’s about paying attention, being intentional, and looking for anything big or small that brings a sense of joy.

But… is it truly possible to connect with joy and experience anxiety too?

That question has been on my mind lately, as anxiety and fear have been spiking sky high many days. Part of what’s going on for me is rebound anxiety, chemical anxiety, spurred by my body trying to adjust to no longer having anti-anxiety medication in my system. And part of what’s going on has been one life stress after another (some big, some small) piled on top of each other with seemingly little or no breathing room before something else is added to the stack.

I’m trying not to worry and fear and dread the future – but those feelings are there. I’m praying, I’m working my neural retraining programs, I’m using a variety of anxiety and stress coping tools, I’m seeking comfort in my spirituality and faith – but far too often, the anxiety and fear are dominant.

Can I really connect with joy while feeling those things?

Yes. And it’s important for me to do so.

Connecting with joy helps relieve the fear and anxiety, even if only temporarily, and even if fear and anxiety don’t completely go away.

I can sing along to a song that lights up my heart…and I’ll experience a time of joy, and the anxiety will ease, but sometimes it doesn’t completely go away. My connection to joy will mingle with a background feeling of anxiety, an unease at the edges of my awareness, maybe quieter but still present.

At other times, joy takes over and the anxiety disappears for a while. I’m grateful, so very grateful, for those times. Sunday afternoon was a recent example of this, as my husband and I took a brief walk in the park, enjoying an afternoon of somewhat-rare-lately lovely weather. I focused on joy. I breathed the fresh air. I gave thanks for the time of peace and ease.

Anxiety and fear roared back with a vengeance only a few hours later. So I focused on looking for more small moments, small things, small ways to connect with joy. Petting the cat. Snuggling under the covers to watch a favorite show. Noticing the calming glow of the fairy lights in the room.

I can’t just wait for anxiety to leave before noticing what brings me joy. I can’t simply wait for joy to unexpectedly show up (although it definitely can do that!).

I have to look for it. I have to be aware. I have to notice.

I have to consciously connect with joy.

Even when – and maybe, sometimes, especially when – anxiety is present too.

 

write {a printable}…

This message of this printable is simple:

WRITE

As with the other printables (you can find those here– be sure to click over to older posts to see them all once you get there) it’s free, no charge, nothing to sign up for, no need to give your email address… simply download whatever file(s) you wish.

The files include one pdf file (you can set the size when you print), as well as jpg files for sizes 5×7 and 8×10. These are high quality, 300dpi, suitable for printing to frame, or put on a bulletin board, or put somewhere as an inspirational piece, reminder, or gentle nudge of encouragement: WRITE

The links are below – get all the files or just one, whatever you wish.

Get the pdf file here.

The 5×7 jpg file is here.

The 8×10 jpg file is here.

Download, print, and enjoy!

More freebies are on the way, so please check back, follow my blog, or subscribe to blog posts for updates.

 

the joy is in the moments…

If I’m honest, I have to admit I want to be happy all the time. I want to feel a sense of inner peace all the time. I want to feel joy all the time.

(Those are three different things, three different feelings and experiences and senses. And yes, my wish is for all three.)

But none of these are constants for me.

And I’m reminded, again and again, that even if these aren’t constants, they do exist in moments.

Joy comes in the moments.

Like watching a fun tv show with my husband, being relaxed and feeling contented and simply enjoying being together.

Like walking into the kitchen and spotting our kitty playing in some sunshine.

Like hearing a great song on the radio, a song that sets my spirit soaring.

Like being out with my husband on a beautiful day.

Like drinking coffee on the front porch and catching a lovely breeze.

Like laughing with a friend on the phone, and feeling that heart-connection of being seen and heard and mutually cared-for and witnessed.

Like playing with paint and just having fun.

Like… well, so many other things that lift the soul and bring a sense of joy.

Noticing them. Connecting with them. Not clutching them tightly, because there isn’t really a way to save or force joy – but we can be more aware of it when it comes.

And I think the more we notice those moments of joy, the more of them we’ll notice.

Sometimes I forget about that. But then a moment of joy will remind me.