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Be Happy - Choose Joy
April 15, 2003
by Debbie Gisonni

What is joy to you? It can certainly take many forms. For one person it may be the sound of children laughing or the smell of puppy breath. For another it's dancing in the moonlight or eating ice cream. For yet another, it could be a soothing massage or a free-style parachute jump.

We often associate joy with the things and events in our lives that produce the warmest and fuzziest feelings of pleasure deep within our soul, but true joy requires no stimuli. It's a state of mind that exists regardless of what's happening around you. You can access joy even during the most painful times in your life because you have a place for it inside of you (which can be found) and a memory of it (which can be reproduced). It's like going to the ATM and making a withdrawal for happiness. But unlike your bank account, there's an unlimited supply of joy to receive and share!

In my family, food always brought us much joy; preparing it, eating it or talking about it. I remember a story my father used to tell me about when he was away from home in the Marines. One day, a package arrived from his mother containing a homemade blueberry pie. He was so excited that he and his comrades skipped the utensils, broke through the flaky crust with their hands and shoveled the gooey mixture into their watering mouths. There was a look of sheer joy in my father's eyes each time he told that story. Later in his life, when he was dying of bone cancer, I personally carried a homemade blueberry pie on a plane from California to New York just to see his face light up one last time. Even when people are dying, you can bring a little joy into their life...and yours.

When people ask me how they can find happiness during difficult times, my answer is always the same: It's a matter of choice. Joy is present in your heart at all times. It's your choice to use it and your privilege to share it.

Five ways to choose joy in your life:

  • Recall a happy memory and focus on it long enough to bring back the feeling.
  • Laugh, smile and joke whenever and wherever you can.
  • Call or see an upbeat friend.
  • Take a break from TV news and violent shows.
  • Stay away from negative or angry people.

Copyright © 2003 Debbie Gisonni, All Rights Reserved.

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