The Joy Factor and Resilience - Part 2
So we’re talking about how to increase or tap into resilience in this four part blog series. Resilience is defined as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” In last week's blog we made the connection between joy and resilience. Individual’s who are more joyful tend to be more resilient in troublesome times. So the key here is to invest in joy. In this blog post I’m going to offer two ways you can increase your joy-level. Are ya ready? Here they are:
Increase your connection to others
1. Be with people, people! Our brains are wired for relationship. Close to 75% of the brain’s circuitry is relationship-based. That means if want to keep your “wits about you” during difficulty you need to invest - today - in being connected to others. Our brains work better when we’re connected. It’s in the research. Here is a great article about it.
So how does this look for you? Everyone is different. Perhaps you have many friends but not really any deep ones. I encourage you to start to wade the waters of emotional connection with a couple of people in your life. When you sit down to coffee, instead of shooting the breeze, see if they would be willing to hear about the “wins” you’re experiencing and the challenges you are facing and what that is like for you. Then ask if they have anything on their mind that they would like to share. This is a great way to start to build emotional connection with someone. And then notice what it feels like to share this experience with someone. I bet some joy will start bubbling up. It is so important to know and be known just as we are.
If you find you don’t have many friends or have a difficult time finding friends that stick around, here is an idea to get things started for you. Identify your values. Make a list:
What matters to you in friendship?
What do you spend most of your time, money and energy on?
What are your goals?
What do you enjoy?
What do you morally believe is right and wrong?
These questions (and others) can help to identify your values. From this list, ask yourself where people would hang out with those same (or similar) values. And then make a point to join in groups or experiences where you can start to meet people you can connect with. Meet up groups, community education programs, churches, and adventure clubs are a great place to start. Birds of a feather, anyone?
Relationship is a huge key to building connection with others. It increases our sense of connection which makes our brains and hearts happy. When we invest in friendship and relationship we set ourselves up to have help when trouble comes. We won’t feels so alone in it!
2. Contribute. Contributing is huge key to increasing joy. This links nicely with connecting to others as well. Find ways you can give. Here are some ideas:
Send an encouraging text to a friend or co-worker you know is having a rough time or just needs to hear that someone is thinking of them.
Pray for someone in need of support.
Find ways to give to a cause you believe in. You might give your time, money, ideas or all three!
Give clothes or things you aren’t using to someone you know could use them, instead of mindlessly putting them in the Goodwill pile.
No offense to Goodwill at all. I love what they are doing. But this is about staying connected to those around you and intuitively tapping into ways you can meaningfully and mindfully give. It takes more effort, certainly. The rub is where the growth is, though. When we have to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone, this is where joy is waiting. Here is a great article hosted in Psychology Today if you want to learn more. Give it a try. But, hey, if you can’t find anyone who wants your old coffee pot, food dehydrator, old business suit, or maternity clothes, by all means give it to an organization who can get those things into the hands that truly need it!
Give these things a try. Connect with others and contribute. And keep doing them over and over and over. Make them a part of how you “be” as a person.
Remember: in order to be able to draw on resilience tomorrow, we need to deposit joy today.
In my next blog post I’ll cover two more ways to make deposits in your joy bank.
If you’re finding you’re running into barriers (feeling stuck) when you try these things, and you’d like some help getting past the barriers, reach out to me here to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation. I offer EMDR therapy in Wayzata, MN. I like helping people get unstuck and more connected to their potential.