It is eerily quiet. It is an unfamiliar time and likely to prevail like this for a little while. As airlines across the Globe cancel flights and cities go into lockdown, we hope you and your family are safe wherever you are in the world.
We are all human, sharing the same experience, but in our own unique way. As sure as day follows night and spring brings new life, it is inevitable that to get through this, a change of trajectory will be needed, a shift in perception. We, therefore, want to talk about the things that often go unnoticed, the small things that bring us the most joy, and yet, somehow, we tend to take them for granted. Many still carry the idea of ‘finding’ joy and happiness, almost as though it is some far-reaching goal, dismissing the array of beautiful moments we are surrounded by in our daily lives. The moments that don’t cost anything. The moments that are simply there for the taking.
Now more than ever, we need to take proactive steps to be aware of the joyous moments and implement compassion into our daily lives. We are collectively in the fight or flight stress response of the sympathetic nervous system, and many of us are opting to flight. If we remain in this stress response for too long, we will lose our ability to see clearly.
We don’t need to live near the ocean, climb Mount Fuji, or turn into a Monk to move through our days more comfortably. A subtle shift in perspective can quite possibly savor the extraordinary and help us reset our balance.
Here are a few ways we can foster positive emotions:
If you are spending time with family in isolation, then it’s a perfect opportunity to fill quality time with them. Little gestures such as hugs and long conversations all increase oxytocin, the calming hormone, and reduces stress.
Seek out the good in others
In times of adversity, we tend to come together, and good human nature is rising. Although we don’t always see it at first, it is there. For example, healthcare workers are working overtime to help sick patients, communities are putting together care packages for those sleeping rough, and neighbors are helping those out who are in self-isolation. There is possibly a collective altruism being born of this. Something we knew was possible but didn’t think we would witness in our lifetime.
How often do we take the time to switch off and focus on what’s going on inside? Put down the phone and turn off the screen. Tune in for a few minutes. Turn your attention to the air expanding your lungs, raising your chest, and elevating your heart. As you exhale, release and let go of everything.
Enjoy the small moments
Stop and take in the small moments that bring you joy. Whether that’s the smell of coffee, the warmth of the shower in your back, or curling up on your sofa. When you stop and take in the small moments, it boosts serotonin in our brain, which lifts our mood.
We asked our Millennium Group Team to share the small things they do that bring joy into their daily lives:
Simply reaching out and touching the branch of Jade
“To find the silver lining and to be thankful is the way we work today. To simply reach out and touch the branch of Jade and to clean a leaf of your rubber plant, to feel connected and to know we are not alone, we are together.”
~Andy, Millennium Group
Spending time at home with pets
“It is a huge blessing to be able to spend time at home with my pets. I always feel bad being away from them during a long workday, so it gives me joy to take them for a walk or take a 1-minute break to hand out belly rubs. Animals can sense when something is wrong or stressful, so having them around makes everything easier.“
~Alyssa, Millennium Group
Surrounding ourselves with stunning nature
“Lucky for me, I live within fifteen minutes of the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. Throwing on my favorite song and driving through the mountains will always humble me and remind me of the constant beauty surrounding us each day. Taking a picnic basket and my best friends, surrounding ourselves with stunning nature and just breathing the mountain air, that is my place of peace.”
~Courtney, Millennium Group
Running, going to the park and playing football
“My family is keeping the spirits up by getting fresh air. We are running, going to the park and playing football. Also, we have been watching movies together and cooking meals at home.“
~Anthony, Millennium Group
What’s one small way you incorporate joy into your life?
Let’s use this time to cultivate faith, compassion and peace. Just start the path, because it’s only once you’re on it that you can see where it takes you.⠀⠀