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Creating joy in life’s journey

Ellen came to see me for therapy, feeling depressed and down on herself. She was a beautiful young woman ready to go off to college and wanted to make a new start in her life on the inside as well as the outside. She was determined to find joy.

She grew up in a single parent home. Her father died when she and her twin brother were only 3 years old. Her mother worked for an old country doctor who didn’t believe in keeping short hours so Mom was forced to leave the children with a sitter for long periods of time. Her mother was always tired and constantly complained about her situation. Ellen hated her mother’s negativity. Ellen wanted to be happy and positive, but she didn’t know how.

“I want to have a joyful core,” she said.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“I want to feel happiness in every part of me.”

Ellen had her goal in mind, so we set to work. She began releasing all the feelings she had pent up inside. She talked, cried and wrote in her “angry journal” as she called it. She loved the physical release she got through her sports–tennis, swimming and track.

As she let go of her feelings, she could see that her mother was over worked and tired all the time. She began to feel empathy for her mother and then love.

“If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama

As Ellen released her anger, she replaced it with positive thoughts.

1.      She wrote several mantras she could say to herself daily:

        I am loveable.

        When I smile, I can feel it through my bones.

        I walk with happiness.

2.      She created several positive visualizations:

        She pictured herself in the loving arms of her father.

        She saw herself walking along the beach in the warm sunshine, soaking up light.

        She could see herself with a group of friends laughing and talking at a party.

3.      Whenever she found herself thinking a negative thought:

        She said “stop” in her head.

        She replaced the destructive thought with a positive one.

        She took a deep breath, released it and visualized light filling her being.

“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.” Dale Carnegie.

Ellen was successful in changing her thinking and, therefore, her feelings. Her depression lifted, and she felt better about  herself.

Her journey to find joy didn’t happen all at once. She began walking the road to happiness one step at a time, one day at a time. Sometimes discouragement set in, but she was undaunted in her quest to remain upbeat. On those days when things didn’t seem just right, she took some time to meditate and renew her goals and get back on her path toward well-being.

I admire Ellen for her determination to change her life. She enjoyed the challenge of hard work, and because of her attitude, she found success.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Gandhi

Also check out these 10 Simple mantras for happiness>>

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Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide To Internal Strength are publ… Read More

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