Go from surviving to thriving by feeding your soul with joy

How are you… really?

After a tough few years here in Melbourne, now is a good time to focus on full recovery. Are you looking after your diet and getting enough sleep and exercise?

Going beyond the basics, are you allowing time for play, connecting with self and others, being creative and getting out in nature?

Are you feeding your soul with joy?

Today is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme is ‘Awareness, Belonging, Connection’ with the message ‘Look after your mental health, Australia.’

I’ve been thinking a lot about awareness, belonging and connection lately, and their importance to our mental health.

Disconnection can lead to feelings of insecurity, invisibility and loneliness, which understandably impacts negatively on our mental health. A meta-analysis on loneliness found that living with loneliness increased the odds of dying early by 45 per cent!1 This is big stuff.

On the flip side, recent research also shows that feeling like you belong in close social relationships and within your community is vital for good wellbeing.2 It’s also important for us to feel a sense of belonging to ourselves. As Brené Brown says: “We have to belong to ourselves as much as we need to belong to others.” (Atlas of the Heart, 2021)

Developing connection with self and others is an important part of cultivating joy in one’s life. And cultivating joy is how we go from surviving to thriving. It’s what allows us to meet inevitable stresses with presence and compassion. Our own cultivation of joy can become a gift to ourselves and others, and to a troubled world.

Cultivating a life of joy is not just about chasing momentary pleasures you get from things like eating a chocolate bar. It requires you to have awareness of what brings true happiness to your life, and to add joyful practises to your daily routine.

I’m privileged to witness the profound effect of joy on people’s mental health through the Awakening Joy course I run here in Melbourne. Through the course, I teach basic principles and supportive practices to help people to connect to joy within themselves and develop their natural capacity for wellbeing and happiness.

Learning how to cultivate joy can not only protect your mental health, it can take your wellbeing to a whole new level. If you’re interested in a journey that will help you to de-stress and shine a light on the happiness that resides within you, I would love to see you at the next Awakening Joy course, starting in May 2023.

1Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Bradley Layton (as outlined in Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart, 2021)

2Brooke Massey, Alice Vo Edwards, and Laura Musikanski, “Life Satisfaction, Affect, and Belonging in Older Adults”, Applied Research in Quality Life, 16 (2021): 1205-19.

Awakening Joy founder is joining us online!

I’m full of excitement and joy as I write this! James Baraz, founder of Awakening Joy and Senior Insight Meditation Teacher, is joining the upcoming 7 Day Awakening Joy Challenge!

Based in the US, James has been a meditation teacher since 1978. He created the Awakening Joy course in 2003 and co-authored the book Awakening Joy with Shoshana Alexander.

James will lead a session during the 7 Day Awakening Joy Challenge, which I’m delivering over Zoom with fellow Awakening Joy Teacher Katrina Roberg. Starting on 18 September, the Challenge will offer daily practises to help you find joy in the everyday, even while in lockdown.

There’s still time to register for this online course – find out more here!

Online 7 Day Awakening Joy Challenge starts soon!

It’s hard to carve space for joy with all the suffering in the world. You find satisfaction and a sense of purpose in helping your community, your home, the world, but it’s easy to get lost in this important work. 

It’s tempting to give up. Is it possible to have joy in these times?

Yes it is!

Joy is possible despite everything, and you don’t have to make radical changes.

That’s why I’m so excited to join fellow Awakening Joy Teacher Katrina Roberg to deliver the 7 Day Awakening Joy Challenge, an online Zoom course starting 18 September 2021.

The Challenge will offer simple practices each day to nourish your body and mind and open you up to the hidden snippets of joy scattered, like fairy lights, throughout each day.

The Challenge starts 18 September… are you in?

A gift to you in these challenging times

The pandemic is taking a toll on many people, particularly those living in Melbourne. You may be finding it a challenge to find balance and joy while in lockdown.

Practicing Yoga Nidra can make a huge difference in how you feel. This ancient technique from India is a form of meditation that uses the whole body as a focus of awareness.

I have recorded a Yoga Nidra in the hope that it helps you to access a state of deep relaxation. The 20-minute session is best practised lying down in a warm and comfortable position. Choose a time when you won’t be distracted.

Click the link below and enjoy!


Reflection on happiness

Everyone wants to be happy. The wish for happiness comes from the most basic motivation of wanting greater wellbeing for ourselves. Everything we do or say is based on a desire deep within to bring relief or improve our internal state.

Even people who tend to be grumpy act that way because they think it makes them feel better. Even misguided actions that lead to more suffering come from an attempt to increase our feelings of wellbeing.

The problem is we often don’t realize what leads to genuine happiness and what leads to suffering. 

This is why it’s so important to understand where true happiness lies, and the conditions that support it. With this understanding we can consciously activate our deep-seated wish to increase our wellbeing, knowing that we are pointing ourselves in the right direction. 

As babies we come into this world with a natural joy. A baby that has her basic needs met – she’s been fed, changed, rested and receives loving attention – often squeals with delight at life. We were all that baby at one time.

We don’t have to look for wellbeing outside of ourselves. It’s right inside us, waiting to be remembered, accessed and awakened!

Start the new decade by awakening your joy!

The first Awakening Joy course for 2020 starts on Thursday 20 February!

The course includes nine face-to-face group sessions, which will conclude on 4 June. Sessions will be held fortnightly on Thursdays from 7pm to 9pm. Groups are limited to 15 people. 

Sessions will be held at Shiatsu College, 103-105 Evans Street, Brunswick East.

If you would like to join this group please register here.

If you have questions or would discuss likely dates for the next course, please contact me on (+61) 0419 239 507 or at hello@michelledate.com.au.