9 Tips to Achieving Joy

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Imagine if you lived a hundred and fifty years ago in a wooden cottage surrounded by frozen mud in Northern Galicia…Chances are you and your children go to bed hungry every night. Chances are you have lost a child or children in infancy or childbirth. Chances are you won’t live past the age of 50.

Life is grim.

Compare that with your life today. Chances are that you struggle with overeating rather than hunger. Chances are all of your children are generally healthy and have never been sick with anything so serious that a course of antibiotics couldn’t clear it right up. Chances are you will live to dance at the weddings of your grandchildren- please G-d!

In other words, you and I are living in an unprecedented modern paradise!

So why is it that people are more miserable today than we’ve ever been before?

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin identifies the common modern causes of misery as well as practical steps for all of us to finally access this elusive thing called HAPPINESS in his inspiring and very very wise newly-released book (as well as JewishMOM.com book of the month) Life is Now: Creating Moments of Joy, Courage, Kindness, and Serenity (Artscroll).

In honor of the upcoming festival of Succot, the happiest holiday of the Jewish calendar, here is a selection from Life is Now: Rabbi Pliskin’s amazing 9 tip checklist to ensure that even the most miserable mom among us can feel joyous this Succot.

Your homework: Print this page and tape it to your fridge so you can read  these affirmations three times a day from today until Simchat Torah.

9 Tips to Achieving Joy by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

1. I think appreciatively and gratefully. What five things am I grateful for now?

2. I speak and act joyfully and kindly. (When you speak and act joyfully and kindly, your brain produces the biochemicals that create joyful feelings.)

3. I assume there is a benefit. What’s good about this? (Develop the skill of reframing. Finding positive ways of viewing events, situations, and circumstances).

4. I strive for meaningful goals. What’s my goal for now? (Being clear about your priorities is the first step to accomplishing and achieving goals. Take a step forward.)

5. I see myself being the way I wish to be. How do I want to be? (As you picture yourself speaking and acting in ways consistent with your highest and wisest self, you create your ideal self).

6. I focus on solutions. What outcome am I looking for? (If a problem arises, first clarify the problem. Then ask, “What can I do now to solve it?)

7. I let challenges develop my character. “This too will develop my character.” (Look at difficulties as Divinely-sent opportunities to upgrade who you are. What quality can you develop now with a challenge that you faced or are facing now?)

8. I consistently access positive states. My awesome brain stores my best states. What state do I want for right now? (When you give names to your favorite and best moments, you will find them easier to access. Just tell your brain to access the specific state you want to experience now.)

9. I smile and wave at mirrors. They always smile and wave back at me. (Research has shown that smiling to yourself in a mirror creates positive chemicals in your body. If you have a mirror handy, test your mirror to see if it will smile and wave to you when you smile and wave to it. This works even if you smile without a mirror.

Read these principles or recite them from memory a number of times a day. Reading them joyfully will create a few moments of joy whenever you wish. The more frequently and enthusiastically you review these ideas, the greater the imprint on your brain. Ultimately, that will mean many more moments of happiness and joy.

(excerpted from the newly-released Life is Now: Creating Moments of Joy, Courage, Kindness, and Serenity by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Artscroll)

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