A while ago, I started having mild panic attacks brought on by anxiety. After seeing a therapist, I was advised to stop planning too far ahead and to stop catastrophising. God has also been schooling me on trust.

One good outcome of the episode is that I made up my mind to focus on the things that make me happy, daily. You would be amazed how much time we spend each day, completing tasks and fulfilling roles. We rarely take out time to just be happy.

My self-prescribed happiness recipe is: 1 song. 1 episode. 1 chapter. 1 conversation. 1 mindful moment.

I intentionally listen to one song I really like, each day. I watch an episode of a delightful series (which happens to be Star Trek, at the moment). I read a chapter from a book that empowers me. I have a conversation with one of my most favourite people in the world. And, I meditate to experience one mindful moment, when I am fully present. It’s harder to be unhappy when you are deliberately happy.

This period has also made me chew on the subject of joy and how many people are shamed for seeking happiness in the things they love. They are told, “Joy is within you”, “Joy is in the Holy Ghost” or “Joy is greater than happiness.”

They forget that the Holy Spirit is a living sovereign entity, so if he produces joy in you, you are in effect deriving joy from a third party intervention. If you find joy in stillness and higher knowledge, it is because you have benefited from the teachings of others. If you derive happiness in nature, you did not create it. If you love being alone, it’s because you have a comfortable environment that aids your enjoyment of your own company. If you experience a burst of joy from selfless sacrifice, it is from an act done for others. Everything you find joy in, is actually a gift. You did not spontaneously create your joy, so stop shaming people if they choose to seek joy in conversations, while you do so in prayer.

Perhaps what we should encourage, is the deliberate practice of joy. The decision to choose joy over our daily circumstances. The knowledge that there are some sources of joy that are less fickle than others.

Stop shaming people for seeking happiness in the things they love. Click To Tweet