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Steps To Better Mental Health

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Joy! What Joy?

Ever spent a few minutes scrolling through the social media channels only to feel like you should be feeling joyful and grateful at every opportunity? What if your joy has taken a vacation? Perhaps yours packed it’s bags a long time ago and omitted to leave a forwarding address. All around you everyone else appears to be getting on with life posting pictures of joyful families, encouraging memes, perfectly baked cakes, homemade crafts, home schooled children, perfect lawns……… get the picture.

I love to walk in the countryside and have walked more than usual recently thanks to lockdown and the absence of activity choices. Walking through the local woods I became aware that some trees I avoid and others I make a bee line for. When I stand under a huge tree with a large heavy canopy, I may be aware of the beauty and value of the tree but I am without sunlight. I feel cold and damp as the sun has been completely occluded. I prefer the trees that let the dappled sunlight through. I feel warmer, the sun is on my skin and if I look up, sunlight bathes my face. It reminds me of joy.

The burdens of life steal our joy and if that’s not bad enough, they make us feel guilty for feeling that way. So how do we get our joy back?

If your joy has departed it may not come to you, you may need to go and look for it. Start by noticing. Notice what gives you pleasure. It may not be something that fills you with overwhelming joy causing you to jump in delight. It could be something that provides a simple sense of pleasure and quiet contentment. For me it may be a simple cup of tea and a biscuit or two (ok more than two) at the end of a busy day. Or if I am out walking it may be experiencing the dappled light under the trees and touching the bark as I go past (no I haven’t started hugging them, yet).

Notice what gives you pleasure. What activities let the joy through the darkness? The face of a friend, chatting to a loved one on the phone, a book, a bath, whatever it is for you, take note of the moments where joy makes a brief appearance. Go in search of more of them.

What starts as brief moments of joy can begin to spread and become more long-lasting joyful experiences.

If you are having difficulty in finding your joy and are in need of some help and support, contact New Dawn Counselling centre today to book an assessment appointment via our website or by email. New Dawn are offering online assessments and counselling sessions which you can access from the comfort of your own home.

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