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How to Discover Joy In the Midst of Pain

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us bump into a fair amount of stress on a daily basis. Sometimes when new challenges come up, or sudden change rocks our world, it is all we can do to just keep going and muddle on through.

If you can relate as you deal with work, family, friends and community, you may welcome some new ways to catch a few moments of pure joy. You know. It's that moment when you just cannot help smiling, laughing or joining in.

Joy is often associated with winning the lottery or planning a wedding, but actually there are little bits of joy happening all around us. We just need to look.

Greater Good Science Center reminds us of the pleasure of a sublime dinner with friends, a fantastic concert, or an evening romp with the kids and the dog. The friends that I know who do this best have often been through a lot. One special friend has dealt with a health challenge for much of her adult life. Another waited and waited for a grandchild, only to realize he would be growing up thousands of miles away from her.  If you talked with either of these women you would never suspect a thing. They are quick to smile, reach out with a hug, and invite you to join them for lunch or an afternoon shop. They have learned how to grow their joy wherever they find it. 

Discover your joy with moments like these.

Watch a kitten play - It's impossible not to laugh as they tumble over their own feet and surge after one thing or another.  Then if they are really young, they may suddenly pause and curl up for a nap.

Help someone else celebrate  - I have a small group of former co-workers who always turn up when there is a crisis. They listen and help if they can. That same group also knows how to toast a win. Dinner becomes a celebration as the victor recites his or her story.

Watch a toddler discover rain - If you have seen the commercial where the little girl walks out into the rain and grins as she sticks out her tongue to catch the raindrops, you have the idea. Just watching her lets you share the joy.

Applaud the efforts in others - Instead of groaning over the latest toxic story, look around for everyday efforts of courage, honesty or kindness. Speak up when you see them and compliment them. Often they will be surprised because that is just who they are and what they do.

Lean on a friend - When life just keeps tossing challenges at you, be glad when a longtime friend or neighbor offers to help. Just sharing coffee and a long conversation can do a lot. Then the next time you see someone you know in trouble, return the favor. That's joy at work when we need it most.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Goodyear, Ariz.

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