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A Simple Way to Access Joy In Difficult Times

I don’t now about you, but lately for me it can feel tough to feel truly joyful. It sounds enticing to think that we can be joyful, doesn’t it? It’s something we all want. 

But then we remember: the state of the world, the problems we have, the unresolved issues…

And on, and on. 

It can sometimes feel impossible to get through a day, never mind access joy while we’re at it.

But today I’m sharing an excerpt and a short personal video with you about a simple shift you can make – right now, from anywhere – to access joy. 

Because we may not know it, but there’s a powerful difference between happiness and joy – and I’m going to share what it is. 

It’s less than 5 minutes and I promise it will change your day. But before you watch, there’s one important distinction I want to make, and that is the difference between happiness and joy.

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

We may not have realized it, but there is a difference between happiness and joy, and while small, it’s important to understand it.

Happiness is generally a by-product of something external, for example, “X” happens, and as a result it makes me feel happy. It’s a mood that emerges from something we perceive as “good” happening in our world. In other words, happiness is dependent on something that occurs.

Joy, on the other hand, comes from within. It’s a state of being that lives inside of us, and it’s not dependent upon anything at all happening from the outside. In fact, external situations can be difficult and not at all fun, but the joy within us can still exist. Not only can it exist, but it becomes the foundation for our response to the tough situations we navigate in life.

A Short Excerpt from The Book Of Joy

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from The Book of JOY, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you do. It’s such a sweet story about these two kindred spirits, both who have been through the unimaginable, yet live their lives in a way of such joy that you can’t help but feel it, too. 

Here is the excerpt (emphasis is mine): 

“‘We are meant to live in joy,’ the Archbishop explained. ‘This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin.'”

The author goes on to say: 

“Once we can see life in its wider perspective, once we are able to see our role in its drama with some degree of humility, and once we are able to laugh at ourselves, we then come to the fourth and final quality of mind, which is the ability to accept our life in all its pain, imperfection, and beauty…

Acceptance – whether we believe in God or not – allows us to move into the fullness of joy. It allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is not as we would wish. It allows us not to struggle against the day-to-day current…So many of the causes of suffering come from our reacting to the people, places, things, and circumstances in our lives, rather than accepting them. When we react, we stay locked in judgment and criticism, anxiety and despair, even denial and addiction. It is impossible to experience joy when we are stuck this way. Acceptance is the sword that cuts through all of this resistance, allowing us to relax, to see clearly, and respond approproately. 

Now, in the short video below, I’ll share with you a personal story where I was able to make this realization and shift my mood on the spot. I hope you enJOY 🙂

A Simple Way to Access Joy In Difficult Times


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The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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