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What if joy was tangible…with specific, easily defined steps you could take to create it for yourself? It is! What if we could shift our attitude by just making some small changes in what we do in our every day? You can!

We all have a balance inside of us between positivity and negativity. Like a balance scale, we are either tipped one way or the other – and you know which way you are tipped by what comes out in your thoughts, words and actions! The more you tip your scale to the positive, the more joy you feel.

Everything we come into contact with either tips our scale more toward the positive or the negative. There is no such thing as neutral. Ironically, we are often unaware of how much outside influences can affect how we are feeling. By becoming aware of these outside influences, and making changes, you can begin to consciously tip your scale toward the positive. In my book, Awaken to Joy, I outline 12 areas of your life you can tap to bring more joy into your world.

Here are some easy places to tip yourself to the positive:

  • People: The people we choose to have in our lives can greatly affect our overall outlook on life. Do all of the people in your life leave you feeling good? For most of us, the answer is an emphatic, “No.” List the five people you spend the most time with. How do they leave you feeling? Any changes you want to make, knowing you would feel more joy? We are not talking about cutting people out of your life, although you may find that is necessary. It is about becoming more aware of how people are influencing you and choosing to spend more time with those who fill you up and leave you feeling wonderful.
  • Eating: Food can affect our joy in a couple of ways. First, what we eat can keep us from feeling good. Do refined food products, sugars, caffeine or alcohol affect your ability to feel good? Pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Does it leave you feeling energetic? Food also affects us by how we feel about what we are eating. How often do you eat something that isn’t “good for you” and spend the time berating yourself for what you are eating? Judging our food choices can harm us more than the food choices themselves. What if you felt everything you ate nourished you? (Even chocolate cake…?) We still need to eat healthy foods to sustain our bodies, but when we do choose something that isn’t the healthiest choice, what would it feel like to enjoy it fully without the negative judgment attached?
  • Media: All forms of media affect us, whether it is watching television, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, going to the movies or reading books. Some uplift us and others leave us feeling frustrated, annoyed or even fearful or angry. Focus on the effect of media in your own life. How do you feel after watching what you watch, reading what you read, etc.?
  • Our personal spiritual practice: What do you do to help you feel connected to yourself and all life? Do you do anything? A spiritual practice is all about connecting to your joyful nature. Does yours do that for you? There are many ways to add to your practice: Yoga, meditation, inspirational reading, even gardening or cooking can be used as long as it is done consciously to connect you. What do you want to do in your life to connect more deeply to your joyful nature?
  • Gratitude: Feeling grateful for all around you and seeing the miracles that abound is the ultimate way to open your heart even more. A grateful heart is a joyful heart! Find gratitude on all levels, for it is a gift to be alive! Be grateful for everything in your life that is going well; it is far too easy for us to take these things for granted. And be grateful even for what is not going well in your life. Our challenges encourage us to grow, and they are gifts, too!

As you do this work, remember that it isn’t about never doing anything that tips your scale to the negative. It is about being more conscious about what you are doing. If you have a time in your life when you need to be your best, to feel really good, you know what you can do to help yourself get there! Plus, the deeper your positive well becomes, the more negative influences you can encounter without being affected. May you awaken to even more joy in your life!

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Laura Erdman-Luntz is the author of the newly published book, Awaken to Joy. She is a Yoga Educator and Life Coach who lives and teaches in Eden Prairie, MN. Learn more about Laura at her website, www.MuseLaura.com.

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