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The Power of Joy
The Healing Power of Joy
by: Nancy Werteen
You probably take vitamins for your body, but did you ever think about taking a vitamin for your brain? And imagine if that vitamin was a little something called joy?
 
The power of joy is alive and well as evidenced by the record breaking number of view of a recent youtube video. The subject? A stay at home mom sitting in her car with a Chewbacca mask on laughing hysterically at herself. Her laughter was contagious and 91 million of us couldn’t get enough of it.
 
Studies tell us that happiness IS contagious. Researchers say if you smile at someone, they’ll probably smile back. And they say happiness can spread through social media, even if we don’t know the original “happy” person.
 
So we can see other people feeling happy and feel better ourselves but we can also begin the tide of happiness by doing something good or by simply choosing to change our mindset and put joy first. Probably the Chewbacca mom didn’t know the science when she posted her video but she said she did it to, “give her other mom friends a laugh”. She surely didn’t expect millions of us to watch but her good mood quickly became our good mood.
 
Cornell University says little changes in your life can have a big impact and researchers offer tips that all involve zeroing in on your thoughts: things like mindful eating, taking a morning walk, stretching before bed.
 
While good thoughts can have a positive impact on our minds, study after study proves that positive thinking really can make you healthier.  A recent article in Canadian Medical Association Journal explained how a better outlook translated into a better outcome.  "In each case the better a patient's expectations about how they would do after surgery or some health procedure, the better they did," said author Donald Cole, of the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto.
 
Joy, then, might be the supplement we need to fuel our perspectives. We need joy to feel better, look better, heal better and make the people we love happier too. Heather Rodale, VP of community outreach for Rodale Inc., founder of Healing Through The Arts and cancer survivor, says joy is the result of what you love. “There is power in anything you are passionate about.  Power comes from within yourself and your attitude for what you want and how you want to live your life,” says Heather.
 
Heather says she learned that joy was pivotal to her healing during her cancer journey, not only for her body but also for her mind and heart.
 
Liz Jordon, one of the founders of Clear Path Wellness of Emmaus, agrees that joy has a place in healing. Liz and her two sisters are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and use their experiences and skills to help others heal and find joy. Liz says, “I think I've come to experience joy more as a by-product of working through some really tough nonsense.  The courage, conviction, and power necessary to end the legacy of sexual trauma for my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren into forever is the thing that drives me.  I noticed joy as something discoverable.  As I peel(ed) the layers of real and imagined suffering, joy started popping up in unsuspecting places.”
 
Both Liz and Heather reflect on how they found joy and the power it has in their lives and how they continue to fuel it going forward. Life and its difficulties pose challenges for all of us to remain focused on what we can gain and learn from joy. Heather says she tries to remember a simple rule. “Sometimes people lose their power, or do not know it exists due to negative circumstances of life or toxic people. I try to focus on strategies to get unstuck from the negative situations, so I can focus on the positive and those that provide more joy.”
 
For Liz, she suggests we find our own joy by remembering simple pleasures that comfort us. She says, “Raised a Catholic, I spent a lot of time in church. My mom also played the organ and I'd be along for the practice time when no one else was there.  I. Felt. The Sacred. And I was not at all separate from it.  Remembering these moments creates joy - then and now.  They are indeed the moments that empower. Remembering any moment of connection has the power to heal.  Experiencing a moment of spontaneous connection has the power to heal.”
 
This connection between what we think and feel is important to the joy journey for each and every one of us. Kim counsels all of us to look to the Wisdom Symbol, which is a reminder to live our lives from the inside out. And reminds us all that we are responsible for fueling our own joy, taking away what’s positive from every interaction, and finding pleasure in something as simple as a Chewbacca mask. 
The Power of Now
The WC News and Events
Our first forum, The Healing Power of Joy was a wonderful event.  A big thank you to all of you who came out and added value to the intimate discussion. Click here to read about and see photos from the event.  

We are busy getting ready for our next big event ~ The Wisdom Coalition Camp Connect.  Join us on Saturday, August 13th from 8 AM to 1 PM for a fun-filled half day women's retreat at the beautiful Rodale Farm in Allentown.

Remember
the magic of summer when you were a kid? No responsibilities-just fun! That’s the spirit of Camp Connect!  

You’ll be able to choose from 9 stimulating workshops, spend time on your own personal renewal, and celebrate the strength of our growing Wisdom Coalition community. 
 
Click here to learn more about this event and/or purchase tickets. Space is limited, so don't wait; reserve your spot now!

We hope to see you on August 13th at Camp Connect!
 
The Power of Why
My Joy Journey
by: Kim Howie
I attended a conference four years ago where several experts spoke on topics related to health and wellness.  Most speakers talked about the benefits of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle practices such as exercise and stress reduction.  This was wonderful information that reinforced what I already knew and had been sharing with my clients on a regular basis.  But there was one speaker in particular who stood out and spoke on a topic that truly transformed my life.  She spoke about the connection between joy and health.    I had never considered that joy played a role in my health.
 
She began by asking a question “what, besides your family, your friends and your job, brings you joy?”  This question threw me into a tailspin. I had never once given this a thought!  I was just going about my life living from day to day, trying to keep all of my balls up in the air, never stopping to think about what brought me joy!
She then asked us to turn to the person next to us and share our joyful activities. I struggled to find an activity that sparked joy.  I was feeling pressured, and even considered making something up (like I love to knit even though I wouldn’t even know how to hold a set of knitting needles).  It was then that I realized that I was not alone!  So many of us were “getting through life” rather than living a joy-filled life!
 
She then went on to explain how our bodies respond to our thoughts (both positive and negative) by producing chemicals in the form of hormones and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that have profound effects on our overall health and wellbeing.   She shared study results that clearly showed the connection between joy and our ability to maintain or regain our health. This lecture was truly life changing for me both professionally and personally!
 
Professionally, as a health coach, my mission is to help people be proactive with their health.  I take my clients on a journey that I call building awareness.  I help them make the connection between what they eat and how they feel.  Then we work together to add in more of the foods that nourish their body while crowding out the foods that no longer serve them.  I spent time talking to clients about eating real whole foods and making healthy lifestyle choices, but joy was never part of my wellness plan.  Now, after attending that conference, I tell clients that mindset is the foundation for healthy living!  And I know this for sure based on my own joy journey!
 
Personally, I made the decision that very day that I was going to prioritize joy in my life.  I was going to remove all things from my life didn’t bring me joy.  It was a revolutionary idea for me that just like with foods, I could build awareness around things (people and activities) in my life that did not serve me!  And just like food, I could crowd out the things that were stealing my energy by adding in things that brought me more joy!
 
I remember coming home from the conference and telling my husband that I was no longer going to spend time with people or do anything that didn’t bring me joy.  I was bracing myself for his reaction, but he simply said “ok, sounds good to me!”  Although secretly I’m sure he was wondering if he would be doing his own laundry from now on.
 
This sparked an incredible adventure for me.  I began sifting and sorting through life with my new barometer “does this bring me joy?”  I was feeling good about the progress I was making and how I was taking control of my health by focusing on joy!
 
Then one day, a few years later, I had an incredible ah ha moment ~ I realized that I was the one who determined the amount of joy I received from life!!  And although this may sound trivial and elementary, it was truly transformational for me; I realized that “I CONTROL MY OWN THOUGTHS!”  Up to that moment, I was living life backwards and allowing my thoughts to control me!  I was allowing outside circumstances and other people’s actions to steal my joy!!  I was operating in a reactive fashion.  I’d allow traffic to stress me out and I’d allow my children to make me angry, all along placing the blame on these outside circumstances and allowing them to dictate my level of joy. 
 
I was giving my power away to other people and circumstances that were outside of my control.  The simple realization that I have little control over what other’s think, do or say, but I have 100% control over how I choose to respond or react with my thoughts, actions and feelings was truly life changing and empowering!
 
I started to pay attention to what things I allowed to steal my joy in life and I slowly began shifting my thinking around them.  I love the quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer that says “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change?”  I started to shift my perspective on life and was amazed at how much more joy I was experiencing!
 
I recognized that I could train myself to find joy in everything in life ~ even doing laundry!!  I began looking for positive aspects and practicing discernment.  Joy became my daily intention! I started a joy journal where I write down all of the things and people in my life for which I am grateful.  This was the first step in building what I now refer to as my joy muscle!  It’s not always easy to maintain, but just like any other muscle, it requires constant flexing and training to keep it growing.
 
I’ve found that one of the keys to successfully maintaining my joy muscle is surrounding myself with like-minded people.  Having a community who shares my passion for finding joy in the journey of life was the impetus behind The Wisdom Coalition!
Nuggets of Wisdom
From:  Anne Baum/VP Lehigh Valley Capital Blue Cross
Nancy Werteen:  What do you think is the key to joy?

Anne Baum/VP Lehigh Valley Capital Blue Cross:  "You have to take care of yourself first because if you’re not healthy on all different levels, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help other people. So health and owning that health is a really important thing."

 
The Who Behind The Wisdom Coalition
The Wisdom Coalition, LLC has been created by Kim Howie, Certified Health Coach, author, and designer of the Pure Energy Program, and Nancy Werteen, television news reporter and anchor with WFMZ-TV-69, currently producing a series called, “Life Lessons” which focuses on health and wellness tips, along with guidance and support from advising partner, Heather Rodale, VP of Community Outreach and a member of the Board of Directors for Rodale Inc., as well as founder of the not-for-profit organization, Healing Through The Arts.

The Wisdom Coalition has an amazing Board of Advisors with diverse skills who provide advice and support.

Our Mission: To create a collaborative community to help women flourish, thrive, and find joy in the journey of life.

Our Basis:  We believe in the power of women supporting other women and the wisdom we all have to teach one another how to find joy in the journey of life.
Copyright © 2016 The Wisdom Coalition, All rights reserved.


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