This is part two in Chris Coursey’s series “7 Solutions To Sustain Your Joy.” You can read Part 1 here.
Because the brain is a natural amplifier, we amplify joy as joy is shared with another brain.
Much like a teeter-totter, joy stops when we have no mirror to amplify our joy. This is why we insist participants in Thrive training bring a “bonded partner,” such as a spouse or prayer partner. This allows participants to continue to practice the skills they learn. Two people well versed in the practice of joy are key to what we call in Connexus “creating belonging.”
I have friends who leave Thrive motivated for ongoing practice only they find their partner is no longer available. Maybe a spouse would rather watch a favorite television show, or play computer games instead of cultivating joy. Whatever the reason, people painfully discover their joy fades when a partner disconnects, gives up or gives in to distractions.
How can we sustain our joy under these isolated conditions?
Suggestions to create community
1. Practice joy every chance you get.
Search for a friend or two of the same gender to practice Life Model Exercises with you. These may be church friends or co-workers. Form a small group and run Joy Starts Here or invite your church to run Joy Starts Here then use Connexus, which is strategically created for individuals who lack a bonded partner.
2. Pray for Immanuel’s wisdom.
“But, I don’t have two friends!” you might say.
In Genesis, an Egyptian woman named Hagar believed she and her son were about to die in a desert for lack of thirst. “Where are all the water fountains?” She must have wondered. In her distress Hagar was met by God who graciously opened her eyes and showed her a well of water. Invite Immanuel to reveal the avenues to start your group.
Ask Immanuel what He sees about your situation that you may not. Notice the response.
3. “My spouse is unwilling!” you might say.
Trying to force or guilt unmotivated partners to practice joy creates resentment. We cannot change a spouse but we can work on bolstering our individual joy levels. Thrive attendees tell me that hopeful change begins as they shift their sights to their own personal growth instead of waiting for a spouse to “come around.”
4. Practice appreciation and gratitude throughout the day.
Exercise 4.5 in the Thrive Basic Skill Guide asks people to practice appreciation for two weeks. Purposeful appreciation activates the relational system of your brain, guides your relationships and brightens your day.
What are you thankful for today?
Share your joy as you discover opportunities throughout your day.
Learn more in Thrive Training
Want to live with sustained joy? Be sure to read the rest of this series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)