The Joy Seeker 1 Week Challenge
Do you love to try new things, and want to feel joy and happiness every day of the week? If you do, you’ll just love my ‘Joy Seeker 1 Week Challenge’.
The Joy Seeker Challenge is a follow-up from my previous blog ‘Joy is yours for the taking everyday!’, where I explain a little about joy, what it feels like to experience it, and how you can feel it every day of your life. I thought now might be a good opportunity to transition from reading about it to you actually experiencing it for yourself every day, for just one week.
In preparation for this challenge I will highlight joy seekers characteristics, give you the low-down on the benefits to you becoming a joy seeker, and expand upon ways to experience and cultivate joy. Then you’ll be fully equipped with all the tools and knowledge you need to actively participate in my one week joy seeker challenge.
Joy seeker characteristics
Joy seekers often go about their daily business, happily mingling throughout their communities, wafting happiness, optimism and generosity of spirit over you as they pass by. They exude positive energy. Joy seekers come in all shapes and sizes. They can have a calm, quiet, discerning manner about them, or they may be gregarious and enthusiastic. They are very likely to be dependable, determined, purposeful, spiritual and charitable. They are proactive in seeking out joy for themselves. Joy seekers live mindfully, are resilient and accepting of themselves. They prefer to spend more time concentrating on the present, rather than living regretfully in the past or anticipating what the future may or may not bring.
They have an abundance of self-awareness. They’re usually observant, and are not afraid to explore new experiences for themselves. They love to share their joy with others wherever and whenever they can. They prefer to bring sunshine into people’s lives, rather than dowsing you with rain. They find lessons to be learnt and opportunities to be gained from unfortunate situations, rather than dwelling despairingly on their misfortune. You may well be one of these people yourself or may certainly be aware of people like this in your own life, as their presence is often highly visible.
Why become a joy seeker?
When you are open to receiving and sharing joy there are a significant number of benefits to you and your personal health and well-being, not to mention your productivity.
1. One of the most significant factors is that joy can create a more positive outlook. A positive attitude often reduces that nagging, negative self-talk, that works hard to sabotage your joys, ideas, dreams and aspirations.
2. A positive attitude helps us to manage stress and deal with those day-to-day small crises more effectively.
3. Joy has the power to revitalise and invigorate you, restoring your energy levels, and in turn creating greater clarity and fresh perspectives, helping you to be more creative.
4. New evidence in neuroscience is discovering that savouring positive emotions is actually a key component to psychological well-being.
5. It is well documented in science journals that positive emotions increases our physical health and well-being.
6. Scientific research indicates that sharing our positive experiences with a supportive listener, enhances our satisfaction with life, creates more optimism, and decreases negative attitudes such as anger, envy and materialism.
Exercise your five senses
As you’re probably aware we have five different senses to perceive the world around us. These are; vision, smell, taste, sound and touch. In order to make the most of your joyful challenge week experiences, you will need to utilize all these senses. The most effective way of doing this is to be in a mindful, calm and present state. You can find lots of information online but these are the main attributes to a mindfulness life, which is a life full of joy.
o Take time and pay close attention to the environment around you
o Look for the little things, the everyday things, the ordinary moments in our lives
o Avoid focusing on anything negative (for this challenge)
o Acknowledge your appreciation for the moment
o Be mindful of the senses that bring the joyful moment about
o Explore your emotion in detail – what emotions are you feeling – where do you feel it?
o Be non-judgemental about what emotions you are feeling, just acknowledge they are there
o Give the feelings a colour that will help intensify those joyous feelings and emotions
The Joy Seeker 1 Week Challenge
To take part in the ‘Joy Seeker 1 Week Challenge’, email me at email@example.com requesting the free one week challenge template. Then complete the challenge sheet fully as you go through the week, and take photos, as this really does help to reflect on your joyful experiences, allowing you to relive it time and time again, whenever you desire. Record at least one joy you’ve felt each day. You may experience more than one joy throughout your day. If you do that’s great! You’ll probably find the more open you are to experiencing joy, the more self-aware you become, and the more opportunities arrive each day for experiencing joy. Alternatively, if you would prefer to add it to your daily journal entries, that’s fine too, but either way it would be great if you could email me at the above address, to let me know how you did or are doing with the challenge. I really would love to know what joys you experienced during the week. Remember to be as detailed as you can, as this brings colour and helps create a stronger memory of your joys, which in turn helps you to recall more easily that joyful feeling whenever you need a little lift in your day.
Enjoy this joyful challenge.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
I would love to hear your feedback on this blog. If you’re not taking part in the 1 week challenge, perhaps you have a moment of pure joy you'd like to share?
Joy is yours for the taking every day!
Hands up all those that want to feel joy any minute of the day, whenever or wherever you choose?
In this blog I’ll explain a little about joy, what it feels like to experience pure joy, and how you can feel it every day of your life.
No this isn’t some crazy gimmick, or inducement to buy into the next feel good gadget that will cost you a week’s wages. The truth is, joy is yours for the taking and you can feel it every day, whenever or wherever you are. Imagine that. Joy on tap! Now that really would be something worth celebrating and something worth showing gratitude for, wouldn’t it?
Joy often comes unexpectedly into our lives. It can also be recalled by choice, as it evokes such intense emotions within us that the memory can last a lifetime, creating long term benefits for your physiological health and mental well-being.
Joy has no time constraints. Joy never really leaves you. It can sometimes lay dormant, for days, weeks, months, even years, but when you knock on its door, it’s always there, waiting, ready to welcome you back with open arms. It’s not anyone’s to give, nor can it be taken away from you. It’s your joy, your precious place, which costs you nothing, but remains priceless.
Joy can also be shared with others. Researchers at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands have discovered that you can actually smell joy and happiness. Their research has revealed that humans can pick up whether a person is feeling joyful through their smell. Apparently this is a phenomenon known as chemo signalling. They explain that Chemo signals act as a sort of channel through which people can become 'emotionally synchronised', outside of their conscious awareness. Which means that when you experience an emotion, you can project that emotion onto others, not only in how you act or sound, but by the scent you radiate. This suggests, feeling joyous isn’t just an enjoyable experience for you, but it also has the power to be infectious, through your hearing, sight and sense of smell. So if you want to experience joy more often in your life, it’s important to keep positive, joyous people around you.
No one can really tell you what your joy is. It’s subjective. It’s like a fingerprint, it’s completely unique to you. What might be your joy, may not be another person’s joy. The best way I can describe joy is by telling you how it makes you feel.
So what does joy feel like?
Joy comes from your heart, and circulates throughout your whole body, so it’s full to overflowing. It can consume you. It has the power to relax, sooth or re-energises you. Your spirits are lifted, you feel great about yourself, possibly even euphoric. Joy isn’t necessarily just one emotion. It's more often a collection of emotions that happen simultaneously. To feel a joy, you'll be aware of powerful emotions. Here’s just some of my favourite emotions; Love, elation, happiness, comfort, relaxation, delight, gratitude, relief, inspiration, enthusiasm, optimism, freedom, hope, power, enlightenment, self-worth, excitement, courage, awe, tranquility, contentment, serenity and harmony.
How to receive joy into your daily life
To experience joy everyday requires self-awareness, a presence of mind. Being actively positive, and consciously aware of your emotions, your environment, even the people around you. You'll need to be willing to receive gratitude into your life, no matter how great or small it is. Joy requires an open heart to receive it. Then acknowledge it and just let it in.
You’ll know when you’ve found joy, in maybe a sudden smile that appears on your face, your eyes brighten, your heart feels fuller, and there’s an overwhelming sense of positive abundance within your entire body. You can receive joy in many ways, and it’s very often the little things that bring the greatest sense of irresistible joy.
Unexpected joy – requires no effort on your part for it to appear. Suddenly hey presto there it is! Your only conscious effort is that joy is in your heart and joy is your present state of mind. This could come from a kind word that you didn’t expect, or relief, gratitude and surprise that a situation you thought would be fraught, actually ended up friendly, good-natured and enjoyable. Maybe you listened to a sweet birdsong on your way to work? Perhaps like me, you hear a song come on the radio that just takes you back to a special place. Or the exhilaration, amazement and power of a sudden lightning storm flashing across the night sky.
Recalling your past joy – Try to think back to a time you felt an overwhelming, and intense sense of joy. It could be watching the early morning sun rise. Hearing your baby giggle with delight. Or was it seeing them walk to you for the first time, as you encourage them to come to you? Possibly you walked past a scent, which immediately transported you back to a time in your childhood. A place where you felt security, warmth, innocence and pleasure. How about that challenge or exams you smashed, and those feelings of success, euphoria and sheer exhilaration?
These are just some examples of what triggers our feelings of joy. So hold on to them, value, cherish and record them, either in your heart or document in a journal, detailing as much of the memory as you can. Think about where you were, who you were with, what time of day it was. Was it cool or warm? What scents surrounded you? Which emotions did you experience?
If you can do this, then joy will be yours for the taking, not just in the moment, but time and time again, whenever and wherever you choose.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I wish you joy wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.
I would love to hear your feedback on this blog. Perhaps you have a moment of pure joy you'd like to share? Or maybe you have some great tips on how you recall a past joy?
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Fundraising and Volunteering: Why we love to give
Have you ever asked yourself why we love to fundraise, give to charity or volunteer our time? In this article you will learn why we love to give, why it’s so important to us and what personal health and wellbeing benefits it can bring to us.
According to the World Giving Index 2016 the UK is number one in Europe when it comes to generosity, with an average 63% of us having given help to a stranger, 69% donating to a charity and 33% spent our time volunteering. Ireland is the next most charitable in Europe with 56% helping a stranger, 66% donating money and 40% volunteering. This was closely followed by the Netherlands. On a global scale the most generous country on earth is Myanmar (Burma) for the last three years running. 63% gave help to a stranger, 91% donated money and 55% volunteered. Next giving nation globally is the United States, then Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada and Indonesia. So it’s very heart warming and uplifting to know that most of us around the world simply love giving or donating our time to help our fellow human beings in some capacity.
I was encouraged from a very early age to believe that helping others whenever or wherever I can was the right thing to do. When I was very young this was simply standing up on the bus, when less able were standing, so that they could have my seat. Later it was helping out at the bring-and-buy sales for charities. I then read the book ‘A Christmas Carol’ by the great Charles Dickens. I still have his words ringing in my ears today when I first read the line as a child from Marley’s ghost when he said, “Business! Mankind was my business”. Suddenly it all made sense for me. This belief has become more profound as I’ve become older, and I stand firm in this belief today. I’ve now found ways of combining some of the things I love such as networking, allotments and walking to do volunteer work, donating and charity walks to raise vital funds for the charities I support. This got me thinking, why do we love to donate or give our time to support charities or even do good deeds, when we don’t have to? Is it simply enough for us to know that it’s the right thing to do, or is there something more psychological going on? Are we naturally altruistic? Or is something else?
What are the reasons we like to donate, fundraise or volunteer?
According to behavioural scientists the science why people give to charity falls into three categories, they are; Hearts over heads, influenced by others or a contagion.
Hearts over heads – a series of experiments published in The Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in 2003, discovered that people are more likely to respond to charitable requests for a single identifiable beneficiary than a large charitable organisation. This could be down to the fact that they are more identifiable and we can empathise more with the individual cases.
Influenced by others – the experiments also revealed that there could be a competitive edge to giving. JustGiving, the fundraising website observed that people donating to a fundraising page were influenced by the amount of money the previous person had donated and gave a higher donation. Celebrity endorsements seem to have a huge influencing factor for us as well, so this could be why charities like to publicise celebrities that support or become patrons of their charities, as they can be significant factor in their fundraising success.
Giving is infectious – When we see others give to charities, we are more likely to give ourselves. The urge is particularly noticeable when we are encouraged by a significant person in our lives. In three experiments, commissioned by the Cabinet Office for Social Action and conducted by the Behavioural Science Team found that habit is a key factor. The experiments revealed that if we’ve volunteered or fundraised before, statistically we are far more likely to do it again.
Why we volunteer - Bob Moore a volunteer co-ordinator sums it up best for me in his 2008 article ‘Why do people volunteer?’ , he explains that whatever the reason for volunteering, it always has a purpose, he then discusses a myriad of reasons, such as;
o We feel the need to give back
o Personal experience with a problem, illness or cause
o Looking to meet people
o Sharing time with people that have the same interests as ourselves
o Looking to learn new skills that they can use in their workplace
o To keep old skills alive
o Exploring possibilities for career changes
o Workplace experience, or to find out the environment when considering change
o Opportunities for employment
o Looking to have fun
o Do their civic duty
o Strengthen cv’s
o Keep busy and active
o Satisfaction and accomplishment
o Feel better about ourselves
o Take on a challenge for personal goals and development
o To make life easier for others, and a better place for all to live in
o Clandestine reasons - to see how things really work
o Because they were asked!
So it seems that we all have our own personal reasons for volunteering, which probably explains why many of us also extend that to fundraising. So if you are looking to fundraise or want to encourage people to take part in charity work or a business wishing to recruit volunteers, you should consider factoring in these types of opportunities for the people you want to attract. This will probably ensure that you’re on to a winner in achieving your goals and becoming a great success.
Another consideration, not quite such an obvious perk to helping others, is the health benefits of helping others. Studies conducted by eminent psychologists reveal that donating our time or money is scientifically proven to;
o Lengthen our lifespan
o Create greater happiness
o Aid pain management
o Lower our blood pressure
Sara Konrath (PHD) has dubbed this affect as the ‘The Caring Cure’. Other academics and doctors have also revealed other benefits to the helper, such as;
o More positive behaviours in teenagers
o Satisfaction and contentment
o Enhancing individuals overall sense of purpose and identity
o Raising self-confidence and self-esteem
o Encourages friendships which reduces stress and illness
Now you know why we love to give our time or money to help others and the health benefits it can bring to the helper. If you have the time not only is volunteering an investment in others, but also in ourselves and our future happiness and wellbeing. So it might be worth considering if you want to introduce more happiness and purpose into your life to think about fundraising or volunteering as an option in your goal setting strategy.
I’ll be doing the London Marathon walk in September, with a bit of luck I might just see you there! If you want to Donate now to my JustGiving page, I would be extremely grateful.
Happy giving, fundraising and volunteering!
I would love to hear your feedback on this blog. Perhaps you have some experience yourself on fundraising and volunteering you’d like to share with me. Please like and retweet this article on Twitter @AsterlifeC
If you want to discover your star potential and think I may be able to help you, then please call me 07752565740
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