Category Archives: Joy

3 Tips for Finding Joy in Change

Life is change. Change is constant. Growth is optional.

This has always been one of my favorite sayings and a mantra in my life. Just as the seasons changes each year, so does our life. We have cycles and patterns and it’s good to identify what those are because therein often lies important lessons for us to learn.

My oldest daughter graduated from high school in Sweden this month. Swedes have a great way of celebrating this milestone in a young person’s life. The day is a full day of activities and events all around celebrating the end of this phase of life.

As a mom watching this, I became very aware of my own feelings as well. It’s been a mix of happiness and joy, pride in her accomplishments, and an underlying sadness that has been hard for me to find words for. But I finally figured out what it is, especially for mothers.

We are the caretakers of our children for around 18 years on average (yes, I know kids are living at home longer these days for a variety of reasons but let’s stick to the average).  This has been one of my purposes in life—being a mom. It’s been one of my absolute favorite “roles.” And I see that soon, this role will be ending. I will never stop being a mom but I will no longer be the caretaker. My daughter is entering adulthood and will be taking care of herself. And I’m thrilled for that. My only hope is that I’ve equipped her well enough to manage whatever life might throw her way. And of course, I’ll be here always as her mom, as a support, and as a friend.

It’s fun to embrace life and to grow with the changes. And when you know that change is constant, it makes the ride all that more fun to be on. You can find that joy in all the constant changes. Because you never know what really might be around the corner. Science studies have shown that change is good for us. It stimulates the brain and helps keep us active.

Here are three tips that have helped me along my own journey:

  • Expect change and embrace it rather than being afraid of change
  • Trust that change is happening FOR you for a good reason. You are not a victim and there are always lessons in all challenges so look for that so that you can…
  • Learn to grow from changes. When you find those lessons you will naturally grow and evolve into an even better version of yourself!

So my reflections from this period in my own life are to love the moments. Seize those small moments that you love and try to fill your day with many of them. Because life keeps moving forward no matter what and it’s only up to us to make it an amazing journey!

Love With a Scientific Twist

Love is the essence of who we all are. It’s the one thing we all have in common that we want and need to have in our lives…and often feel like we are lacking the most. Love to me is an acronym: Living On Vibrant Energy. Because love is vibrant energy flowing through you and into your life.

In the Bringing Joy series of picture books, Joy shows how we can “plug” into Source energy, which is the same as love. When we are feeling like we are lacking in love, it is only because we are “unplugged” in some way from that vibrant energy.

We can’t see electricity but we know it’s there and that it words for us. It’s the same with Source energy or love. We can’t see it but we know when we feel it or have it in our lives.

The Institute of Heartmath has been studying the heart and its mysteries for almost 20 years. Their findings are fascinating. Did you know that:

  • The heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions
  • The human heart’s electromagnetic field can be measured up to several feet away from the body
  • Positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body
  • You can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions
  • Negative emotions can create nervous system chaos but positive emotions do the opposite
  • The heart has a system of neurons that have both short and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences
  • In fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed
  • The mother’s brainwaves can synchronize with her baby’s heartbeats
  • The heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa
  • Positive emotions help the brain in creativity and innovative problem solving
  • Positive emotions can increase the brain’s ability to make good decisions
  • That the heart’s electromagnetic field is approximately 60 times stronger than the brain

The Institute of Heartmath is teaching about coherence and how to reach it. This is essentially when your heart is open and you are experiencing a state of love and gratitude. Love and gratitude are the strongest positive emotions.

Another book I highly recommend is Hidden Message in Water by Emoto Masaru. He looks at the world from the camera lens of capturing crystals as they are forming on freezing water. He has also discovered that love and gratitude create the most beautiful crystals.

It’s very exciting to see so much research happening about love, our hearts, our emotions, and how we can learn to use all this knowledge to better our lives.

Why Small Moments Matter

Reading up on the latest future trends and technologies, I can sometimes geek out. I’m fascinated to know what might be coming. We have entered a phase of accelerated change—things are going to happen so quickly and I do believe that many of the new technologies will be able to transform our world. The big key to all of this is to find your own inner peace and joy.

In all that I do, I have a core message that is simply choose love over fear. If you can live each day focusing on those small moments, looking for joy and all that is going well, you’ll find that at the end of the day, you can string these moments throughout the day (often bridging over the challenges and negativity) to realize that it was a pretty good day. And doing this every day means your weeks turn out pretty good, and in the end, chances are you’ll live a pretty darn good life!

This is a way of practicing gratitude very consciously.

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A concept I share regularly with others is that you need to watch closely what you “feed your brain.” It’s so easy these days to get bombarded with negativity. You really have to make an effort to counter balance all the negativity with a lot of positive information. One of my latest favorite tricks (especially on my Facebook feed) is looking at awe-inspiring images. I’ve liked several pages that just post amazing pictures so my newsfeed is filled with beautiful pictures. And it makes me feel joy!

Appreciation is one of the fastest ways to feel better too. Whether you are showing gratitude to others or for those small moments, it shifts your way of looking at the world. You see things from a more positive light. I’m not saying it’s always easy. It’s very similar to a muscle that needs to be trained. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So make that conscious choice each and every day.

The last thing I’d like to share is how you can keep your own peace. Just imagine the eye of the storm. It’s always calm and lovely while there’s a raging storm going on all around. Be that eye of the storm in your life. Make that choice! Learn to not go into knee-jerk reactions but rather, put a pause in, a space, where you can choose exactly how you want to respond. You can do this through taking three deep breathes before saying anything, taking a walk, being very mindful and be aware of your emotions. Don’t let things get to you, keep that peace inside of you and you will be a positive force to be reckoned with that will help to calm others as well. I promise that!

You are welcome to download one of my favorite tools, the Joyometer, at www.KarinVolo.com to help you learn to manage your emotions.

There are so many tricks we can use to consciously work on gratitude. What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear about them.

Change Doesn’t Have to Suck: 3 Strategies for Dealing with It

Changes Ahead sign against a blue sky with rainbow. Concept of situation change for the better.

Life is Change, Change is Constant….Growth is Optional

We often think that people are resistant to change. The truth is that life is ALWAYS changing, no matter what happens. Just like water flowing through a stream, life needs to flow and expand. What happens to water when it is stuck in a puddle? It becomes stagnant and eventually it stinks! The same is true for our lives. We are meant to grow and expand.

The Universe is in constant motion, continually expanding at 1.3 billion miles per hour! We are in a time of accelerated change in our world now too. In this century, we’re not going to experience 100 years of change—it’s going to be 20,000 years of change!

Humans are a very adaptable species. It’s how we have survived so far! I often enjoy having conversations with people from different generations. What I have learned is that we have different phases and in each decade, the challenges we face change with time. Right now, I’m in the sandwich generation with children and my elderly mother. And having teenagers is very different from young children. Before I know it, they’ll be out of the house and it’ll be time for a new phase again.

It is how we manage change that makes your life either a great ride or total misery. How adaptable are you? Do you resist or embrace change? Are you afraid or ready to take it on? Here are three helpful strategies I’ve learned along the way to manage change.

1. Life Is Happening FOR You, Not TO You

“Why is this happening to me?” is one of the most disempowering questions. It robs us of our power and puts us into a victim mentality where you feel out of control. When you ask, “why is life happening FOR me?”, you get different answers. It gives you an opportunity to look for lessons and growth. It helps to reframe challenges in a way that is very empowering.

2. Expect Change

When you know that change is constant, you don’t get quite as surprised with anything that might be changing. Of course, make plans and take steps to progress but also know that there generally isn’t a straight line from A to Z. It’s a very zigzag line. To paraphrase Steve Jobs from one of his famous commencement speeches, you can connect the dots looking forward, only looking backwards. So sometimes things happen that don’t make sense now, but it might in the future.

3. Go With The Flow

I can’t even tell you how often this one has helped me. If you are rigid against change, then it can hurt. But if you are fluid like water, then you can much more easily accept the changes and adjust as needed. Take a deep breath and try to see things from a new perspective.

These three strategies are all based in a deeper foundation of trust. Know the power that you have within you to create your life. Our thoughts and words are powerful so put yourself in the driver’s seat and create the life you want to have!

3 Proven Actions to Having More Joy and Happiness in Your Life

There are more than 7.4 billion people on the planet right now. The essence of what all people want comes down to four main things: love, peace, joy, and abundance.

I believe that people have an innate emotional set point—a place that a person returns to over and over on the broad scale of emotions we humans experience. So for example, I have an elderly relative has worried her entire life because she’s gone through many difficult times. Now that her life is actually better than it has been in a very long time, she still searches for things to worry about because that is where she tends to be most comfortable—and her brain is conditioned to this. Another relative from the same generation is always looking on the bright side and tends to have a very positive outlook. She’s full of energy and sometimes I can’t even keep up with her. Just comparing the levels of health with these two relatives shows me how your levels of happiness really does make a difference, especially over time.

During one of the toughest times in my life, I developed a way to become very aware or conscious of my feelings…and worked diligently to try and stay in a positive frame of mind. This tool is called the Joyometer™ and it is what I like to call a “mood management system” to help you stay aware of what you are feeling and how you can actively work to get yourself to a higher emotional state of being. (You can download the Joyometer here.)

Having had the good fortune to connect with hundreds of people through my work, and interview numerous thought leaders and change agents who are leaders in their field, I’ve found that there are three consistent strategies that people who are happier and living more joy filled lives actively work with to better their emotional state. They are the 3 G’s to Joy & Happiness:

Gratitude

Regardless of whatever is happening in your life, you can always find something to be grateful for…you are reading this right now and you are breathing! Finding things to appreciate and be thankful for in life helps you shift how you look at the world.

If you focus on what is going well, the tendency that more good will happen will generally increase. Gratitude helps your overall emotional well- being, helps you sleep better, increases your confidence and also betters your relationships. It’s a great way to lift you out of a funk.

Growth

Nature is constantly changing and our universe is continually expanding. As humans, we are happier when we are growing and learning on some level. We are meant to be pushing the boundaries and trying new things. People often say they are afraid of change but the reality is that life is constant change. Growth is optional and we can take a conscious effort to strive to be better and open our minds to new perspectives.

Just as water stagnates when it is still, so do we humans. It’s much healthier to be flowing like a river. When our basic needs are taken care of, it is natural for us to seek new relationships, new challenges, new jobs, and learning new skills. It’s a part of human nature to grow and that helps increase our levels of happiness as well.

Giving

Giving is the third strategy to increase the joy in your life. When you can help others, it will bring you a new perspective and studies show as we see others thrive, we feel better. Giving has three different levels:

  • Philanthropy — such as writing a check at the end of the year for a charity, there is very little interaction and not a deeper emotional connection although the act is most certainly appreciated.
  • Giving Back — for example, a mining company would give back to a community by planting parks and reforesting an old mine, there’s a feeling of doing something good to better a situation.
  • Contribution – an example is volunteering with elderly or homeless, something that is more interactive with time and energy and also having a deeper emotional connection and understanding of doing something for the greater good of all.

Random acts of kindness will increase your own level of happiness and joy in ways that you might not even expect. The deeper the emotional connection in the giving, the more positive—and lasting—impact it will have with you.

When you consistently practice these three actions of Gratitude, Growth, and Giving, you will notice how it brings more energy and vibrancy to your own life. Play around and experiment with this for a week and see how it makes a difference, not only in your life but also those around you.