There are times when we feel as if we live in little circle that contains our job, our beliefs, our bodies, and perhaps a few friends and family and it’s joyless. However, we don’t stop to peek over the edge of that circle to see the hundreds of additional new ideas, new hope, new awareness’ and new realities available to us. We feel stuck, tired, perhaps depressed and without a sense of joy in our life. At any given moment we can push the edge of that circle out a bit and peek over the top to see what wondrous things are possible — that we may not have considered.

You may have always wanted to learn a new language and now might be the perfect time to take that class. Or you wanted to learn to dance, paint, cook, write a book, create a garden or sculpt. Give that to yourself.

Maybe you see yourself being of service in some way. Even if you are differently-abled, you might find great joy in reading to kids at an orphanage or a home for homeless kids. You might want to read to the elderly or if you have the strength, serve the homeless in some capacity because serving others is always joyful. And, don’t say you don’t have time. Feeding your soul is something we all need to take time for especially in this era.

Make time for being peaceful. Meditate or just sit quietly and you’ll be astounded at what comes into your awareness. Start thinking about the things for which you are grateful and those people who bring you joy. Renew those activities or reconnect with those people. Call the people you love, especially those with whom you have lost touch, and remind them how important they are to you. Those connections are the ones that give us joy and fill or hearts with so much love.

Invite your grandkids or kids over for a picnic on the bed. I just did that this weekend, and my 4-year old great-grandson, Ben, suddenly looks at me curiously, crawls across the bed to me, and grabs the skin under my chin and asks me what that is. I told him it was my waddle. He immediately called over the other grandkids and they all had to touch my waddle. The rest of us cracked up laughing and the next day I, of course, went immediately back to my chin or waddle exercises still laughing over it. Kids always bring joy with them into your life. If you don’t have any children, give a single mom a break and get to know your friend’s kids. Become a mentor and a friend. The mom will appreciate it and you’ll get the joy from being with the kids.

Commit to your own healing. Very often the reason we can’t feel the joy in life is that we pull that red wagon full of pain and anger from the past and there’s no room left for joy. It’s hard to feel joy while being filled with resentments, anger, and suffering. You owe it to yourself to dump that so that you can experience more joy.

Recognize you have the power to be joyful. In the same way,that joy is a feeling, so too is sadness loneliness and anger. And here’s the truth. If you have been feeling these things for a long time, you have created a little neuronet in your brain that is now your default — which leaves you believing all of those emotions are true and real. The only way to heal that is by creating a new neuronet which is focused on joy or happiness. The way you do that is to notice when the mad, sad or angry thoughts and feelings arise, and just say to yourself cancel, cancel or erase, erase or delete.

For reasons scientists have not yet figured out, that process tells the brain not to retain that last thought permanently. Then replace that thought with opposite thoughts like my life is filled with joy, or I have love in my life or wealth flows to me freely.  Whatever the unloving thought was, replace it with a self-loving thought and before long you will begin to work off your new default reality. You deserve it and no one but you can give that to you, so go for it!

Dr. Dina is a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist and Consciousness Counselor. She has presented nationwide seminars and workshops, written several books and created meditation CDs for couples, individual and mental health professionals. She has also won national acclaim as a human rights advocate. Visit or call her at 602 571-8228.